S I L L Y !!

Now there’s a FUN word!  Say it a cou­ple of times.  See!!  Can you even say that word AND be grumpy at the same time?  I don’t think so!

To add to the silli­ness around here, today I have a spe­cial guest who will share four strate­gies she uses to bring out the silly!  Please wel­come Joy Tanksley, from Being Joy.  I’ve only recently got­ten to know Joy…and that name, Joy, is so fit­ting for her!!  Just look below at that FUN picture…now doesn’t that have JOY (and SILLY) writ­ten all over it!! 

Really, check out her site — it is chock-full of pure fun (like her danc­ing!!!). 

Today, Joy is not only wear­ing her bra in a dif­fer­ent spot…she is also giv­ing us all some great ways to get our own SILLY on!

Four Sure­fire Strate­gies for Get­ting Seri­ously Silly


Draw a crazy pic­ture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whis­tle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance
’Cross the kitchen floor,
Put some­thing silly in the world
That ain’t been there before.
 ~ Shel Sil­ver­stein

Silli­ness is a virtue that is often over­looked and highly under­rated. But I had the good for­tune of learn­ing its value from my incred­i­bly silly mother. It would totally embar­rass her if I told you that she would often per­form the “gas bal­let”, doing grande plies and dra­matic leaps while mak­ing the unmis­tak­able sounds of flat­u­lence with her mouth. So I won’t tell you she did that. Suf­fice it say that silly is part of my pedi­gree, and, in my expert opin­ion, we could all ben­e­fit from being a lit­tle more absurd, fool­ish, and ridicu­lous on a reg­u­lar basis.

Here are four of my per­sonal favorite ways to get seri­ously silly:

1. The Jelly Butt Game

This must be done in a pub­lic place and with a per­son who is eas­ily embar­rassed. With­out any warn­ing, begin gen­tly sway­ing back and forth and bend­ing your knees. Exclaim, “Uh oh! Oh no! It hap­pened! I have Jelly Butt!” At this point, move your body as if your rear end has turned into com­plete jelly. It’s best if you fall into your com­pan­ion for sup­port. But watch out! Jelly Butt is con­ta­gious. Your friend might some­day return the favor by hav­ing a sur­prise attack of Jelly Butt at your expense.

2. Bark Like a Dog
If you haven’t tried this, it’s a must. I can’t tell you how good this feels. Let go of all inhi­bi­tions. Get LOUD. Try dif­fer­ent types of barks – from yippy to bel­low­ing. Throw your head back and bark your head off! This one is deli­cious when done alone but is also great with a group.

3. Foot as Tele­phone
The next time someone’s foot is within reach, make a ring­ing noise like a tele­phone. Then answer their foot. They will be totally caught off guard, and will likely begin laugh­ing hys­ter­i­cally. Try to keep a straight face and carry on a one-sided con­ver­sa­tion, such as, “Hello? Yes, this is she. No, I am not inter­ested in tak­ing a sur­vey, thank you very much. Well, there’s no need to get snippy!”

4. Wear Under­clothes on your Head

This is a clas­sic for a rea­son. It’s price­lessly funny, and espe­cially so when com­bined with a goofy dance. I’m a big fan of bras worn on the head, with the strap going down around the chin. Under­wear works, too. And it doesn’t have to be yours.

I chal­lenge you to try at least one of these tech­niques and see how it makes you feel. As the famous philoso­pher Lud­wig Wittgen­stein said, “If peo­ple did not some­times do silly things, noth­ing intel­li­gent would ever get done.”

Joy brings the silly, and all sorts of other great stuff at her insight­ful and fun blog, Being Joy.  Check it out today!

Silly Alert!  This week­end I’ll be in New York City, with The Lev­ity Project, cel­e­brat­ing World Laugh­ter Day!  And it’s not too late to join in.  The more the mer­rier (and sil­lier!)!!  To reg­is­ter for this free event, click HERE, or visit the link in the side­bar. 

“Heal­ing may not be so much about get­ting bet­ter, as about let­ting go of every­thing that isn’t you — all of the expec­ta­tions, all of the beliefs — and becom­ing who you are.” ~ Rachel Naomi Remen

Today I have a very spe­cial guest here (she’s from Wis­con­sin — we could be neigh­bors…), dis­cussing a topic that is all too often shoved under the cov­ers.  Please help me wel­come Mag­gie, who has cre­ated a won­der­ful resource for any­one out there suf­fer­ing from the hor­rors of domes­tic vio­lence, sex­ual abuse, and rape. 

Mag­gie has a per­sonal blog, Okay, Fine, Dammit, that she has had for some time.  About a year ago, after writ­ing a local piece on domes­tic vio­lence, Mag­gie felt the deeper need for cre­at­ing a place where peo­ple could share their own per­sonal sto­ries — and to bring some peace and heal­ing in the process.  From that, she cre­ated the Vio­lence Unsi­lenced website.

Vio­lence Unsi­lenced (VU) is that place where peo­ple can share, in their own words — from their per­sonal expe­ri­ences from domes­tic vio­lence, sex­ual abuse, and rape.  Please note: read­ing the VU site can be emo­tion­ally chal­leng­ing and all the sto­ries are very real. It’s in these sto­ries, though, that the vio­lence, pain, and suf­fer­ing can find some pos­si­bil­ity of heal­ing.  It’s also a place where each of us, through the voices of those who have been there, can more deeply see how heinous these acts are.  And in that, per­haps we can all take a few more steps towards a heal­ing and mean­ing­ful com­pas­sion for all our broth­ers and sis­ters in this world.  

Please read along, as Mag­gie shares a more in depth look at who she is and what she has created.

1.  What led to the cre­ation of the Vio­lence Unsi­lenced web­site?
Back in 2008, I wrote an arti­cle pro­fil­ing seven domes­tic vio­lence sur­vivors for a city mag­a­zine — and the expe­ri­ence changed me. Then one night, right around that same time my arti­cle ran, there was a domes­tic vio­lence death in my com­mu­nity. In a fit of sad­ness, I vented on my per­sonal blog (Okay, Fine, Dammit) — and the response was very intense. There were clearly a lot of peo­ple impacted by abuse. On top of that, I knew how cathar­tic the mag­a­zine expe­ri­ence had been for the sur­vivors I pro­filed, and decided I wanted to keep that momen­tum going. I was well aware by then in the power of the blog­ging com­mu­nity, and I had a lot of con­fi­dence in my fel­low blog­gers. I knew we could do this together. In writ­ing the arti­cle I learned that one in four women will be a vic­tim of abuse in her life­time. I thought about how small each of our blog­ging com­mu­ni­ties can be, and how well we think we know each other. The assump­tions we make, the things we don’t see. I thought, why don’t we show the blo­gos­phere just how pro­lific and encom­pass­ing abuse is?

From the very start, VU was a col­lab­o­ra­tive process. My blog read­ers con­tributed their input, their sto­ries, helped choose the name, and helped spread the word — so much so that on the very first day VU went live, there were sev­eral thou­sand vis­i­tors. That was over a year ago, and I believe it’s still a very col­lec­tive effort.  I’ve said this before, but I hope when peo­ple think of VU, they don’t think of me — they think of the sur­vivors and the sup­port­ers. It’s a good day when I over­hear some­one talk about the “peo­ple over at VU,” rather than the “person.”

Lance’s Com­men­tary:  Mag­gie, I find much hope in what you have cre­ated.  And for me, per­son­ally, I really believe it touches upon love and compassion…in the hear­ing of these stories. 

I think about that fig­ure, 1 in 4 women will be the vic­tim of abuse.  And as I think of the women I know in my life, I really hope that it’s way off (although real­ity tells me it’s prob­a­bly not).  Proof of that made it’s appear­ance just yes­ter­day — as I read the words of a blog­ger friend, Jill (who gave per­mis­sion to link to this — thank you, Jill) who just hap­pened to share her own story of sex­ual assault on her site.  Jill — know that I see you as a brave and coura­geous soul.

2.  Mag­gie, I look at what you have cre­ated, and find such great hope in the mes­sage that you are cre­at­ing.  As this has evolved over the last year, what has this whole project meant to you?
Even though I knew there were a lot of peo­ple with these types of sto­ries, I was still shocked by the sheer vol­ume of responses. I’ve had a 4–6 month wait list from day one, and here it is a year later with no signs of slow­ing down. So many sto­ries wait­ing to be told… it’s both ter­ri­bly sad, and incred­i­bly hope­ful. I am bowled over every day, both by the strength of the sur­vivors and the com­pas­sion of the read­ers. I feel blessed that I get to watch this human­ity in action right here on my screen.

Lance’s Com­men­tary:  Your com­mu­nity is such a sup­port­ive one, and what a gift that is to everyone. 

3.   Tell us about these shared sto­ries that you post  — and have they touched you per­son­ally?
To be hon­est, it’s very dif­fi­cult to be reg­u­larly exposed to so much trauma and suf­fer­ing. I admit I have had to learn to limit my time with the project, and to take care of myself emo­tion­ally. But yes, every sin­gle one of them touches me per­son­ally, because these are not just auto-posted—there is a process I go through with each sur­vivor to make sure he/she is absolutely cer­tain he/she wants to be pub­lished, and is accord­ingly sup­ported and aware of the risks. After­ward, I feel very bonded to each sur­vivor. It’s a very per­sonal and hum­bling expe­ri­ence, and it hap­pens twice a week. Ulti­mately, despite the sad con­tent of the posts, it’s always a pos­i­tive thing for me. Speak­ing the truth out loud seems to make these sur­vivors even stronger, and I get to bear wit­ness to that miracle—which makes me a bet­ter per­son, I believe. I can’t even remem­ber my life before VU.

Lance’s Com­men­tary:  As sad as it can be to read these sto­ries, I also find much hope in the shar­ing of them.  I very much get a sense that there is a heal­ing in the shar­ing.  I also believe that I, myself, feel an even deeper level of com­pas­sion for the world around me after read­ing a story on VU.  So, as dif­fi­cult as these sto­ries are — the pub­lic shar­ing of them really is so good for everyone.

4. Tell us one unex­pected thing that has hap­pened since cre­at­ing Vio­lence Unsi­lenced.
I didn’t know that it would be so widely and uncon­di­tion­ally sup­ported. I thought it might be a project inside my read­ing cir­cle, but I didn’t expect the wide-reaching, con­sis­tent pro­mo­tion that so many peo­ple (like you, for instance) feel com­pelled to do. I am so grate­ful to you, and to all of them. We are seri­ously doing this together.

Lance’s Com­men­tary:  Mag­gie, know that I believe that you have cre­ated a won­der­ful gift in VU, and it’s an honor to have you here.

5. Out­side of VU, what’s a typ­i­cal day for Mag­gie look like?
My daugh­ters are 10 and five, so they go off to school now. I have a writ­ing stu­dio I rent to do my work, which is free­lance writing—I write mag­a­zine arti­cles for a liv­ing. My fam­ily and my per­sonal time are the most impor­tant things to me, so I build my sched­ule around that. I do quite a lot of run­ning around, but ulti­mately my favorite thing is to hold very still as often as I pos­si­bly can.

Lance’s Com­men­tary:  I’m guess­ing that guy in the pic­ture with you is the guy you call hus­band!  And it sounds like you have a won­der­ful fam­ily life — savor all the moments!  And in that still­ness, much clarity.…

6. Any­thing new you have com­ing up?
I’m speak­ing at BlogHer ’10 in New York City this year, on a panel about uti­liz­ing com­mu­nity for change. I’ll also be speak­ing at the Type A Mom con­fer­ence (Asheville, NC) in Sep­tem­ber.  I really feel deeply that there’s a lot of power out there in the blo­gos­phere to be har­nessed for good, and I’m also very rev­er­ent of writ­ing. I think some­thing is lost in the chaos of the social ladder-climbing, pop­u­lar­ity, and pro­mo­tion in abun­dance in blog­ging today. It’s so dif­fer­ent from the way it was when I first got started, and though there have been very pos­i­tive changes, it can also be very dis­cour­ag­ing. There’s a whole lot of little-known blogs out there where incred­i­bly good writ­ing is going down, and I guess I’d love for peo­ple to widen their viewfind­ers a bit.

Lance’s Com­men­tary:  Your mes­sage is such an impor­tant one — so that’s great about you get­ting out there and spread­ing the word.  You will touch many more lives, in amaz­ing ways, and

7.  Deep down, what makes you uniquely “you”? 
This is prob­a­bly a very tough ques­tion for any­one to answer about him/herself. I don’t know what makes me me, but I know what I value most in the peo­ple I care about—integrity and com­pas­sion. I may fall down a lot, but I try to emu­late those traits as much as I can. I also love how dif­fer­ent we all are, and per­son­ally I’m glad we’re not all try­ing to be like each other.

Lance’s Com­men­tary:  I fall down a lot too.  And per­haps that is all part of the jour­ney we are each on.  There will be moments when we are mak­ing great strides, and then oth­ers where we slip and fall.  And in those moments when we fall, the beau­ti­ful part is that we CAN get back up.  And that’s not any more evi­dent than in the VU web­site, and the peo­ple who share so openly their sto­ries.  And in that unsi­lenc­ing of the violence.…they can get back up.  And per­haps we can get back up, too.…touched by com­pas­sion and love.

Clos­ing Com­ments:  Mag­gie, it is an honor to have you here and shar­ing a bit more in-depth look at what Vio­lence Unsi­lenced is all about and what is has come to mean to you.  I know you don’t feel like this is just you out there cre­at­ing this.  I still want you to know, though, that you shine your amaz­ing and beau­ti­ful light into our world…and that does make it a bet­ter place.  You have given sur­vivors of some really bad things a place to safely share and move fur­ther down that path of heal­ing.  What a won­der­ful gift you are! 

Thank you, once again, for being here.

You can keep up with Mag­gie by vis­it­ing the Vio­lence Unsi­lenced site or her per­sonal blog, Okay, Fine, Dammit.  Keep up with her on Twit­ter, @maggiedammit .

Note that I have also added a badge to my side­bar in sup­port of what Mag­gie is doing.  If you are inter­ested in join­ing in sup­port of this, you can Take the Pledge right here.

Tree of Light
Creative Commons License photo credit: JPhilip­son

“The way to hap­pi­ness: keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live sim­ply, expect lit­tle, give much. Fill your life with love. Scat­ter sun­shine. For­get self, think of oth­ers. Do as you would be done by. Try this for a week and you will be sur­prised.” ~ H. C. Mat­tern

Twenty Six Point Two

by Lance Ekum on April 23, 2010 · 56 comments

Creative Commons License photo credit: kaneda99

“It is not the moun­tain we con­quer but our­selves.” ~ Sir Edmund Hillary, New Zealand moun­taineer and explorer

We head out into this life we’re liv­ing, a jour­ney in some direc­tion.  For each of us.  And along that jour­ney, we encounter cross­roads, new paths, paths less trav­eled, paths tra­versed quite well.  These paths — and there are mil­lions of them out there in this world we call “life” — are all direc­tions we can choose to go in.


“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer your­self, any direc­tion you choose.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Today, I am putting the feet that I have into a good pair of run­ning shoes.  I am choos­ing to com­pete in my first marathon.  The Mil­wau­kee Lake­front Marathon.  Octo­ber 3rd, 2010.

26.2 miles.  That is the moun­tain.  And yet, it will become not this moun­tain that I con­quer, but myself. 

This con­quer­ing of myself will be no easy task.  There will be moments of doubt.  In fact, I know this — as there have already been moments of doubt.  There will be aches and pains that I haven’t felt before (and there already have been).  There may be moments where I ques­tion what I was think­ing in sign­ing up.  There will surely be moments where I won’t want to put in another long run. 

That’s why I’ve brought on the best coach — Coach Lori.  She’s been there.  She knows what it’s like — the train­ing, the time, the aches, the challenges…and the con­quer­ing of ourselves. 

And that’s it.  As amaz­ing as I antic­i­pate it will be to cross that fin­ish line, the big­ger thing for me here, is the going deeper within myself.  This WILL be a chal­lenge for me.  A chal­lenge both phys­i­cally and men­tally.  It’s in this chal­lenge, that — in the words of Sir Edmund Hillary — I will con­quer myself.  And per­haps I have already.  At some level, I have.  With the chal­lenges, the moun­tains, that I have faced already in life.  This becomes a new layer, as I go deeper within.  A new con­quer­ing of myself. 

Per­haps that is really it.  On this life jour­ney we are each on, there will con­tinue to be new chal­lenges for us to face.  Some of these chal­lenges will be ones we bring on, and other will hap­pen by chance.  I believe very much that the chal­lenges we choose to con­quer for our­selves will bet­ter pre­pare us for all that lies ahead. 

Today I choose the Mil­wau­kee Lake­front Marathon as that next chal­lenge, and the next con­quer­ing of myself.

The jour­ney continues…

As it does for all of us.

Laughter In The Jungle

by Lance Ekum

At the height of laugh­ter, the uni­verse is flung into a kalei­do­scope of new pos­si­bil­i­ties.” ~ Jean Hous­ton Whoa!  I look at this pic­ture of myself and laugh!  Go ahead, join in WITH me!!!  (hon­estly, I DON’T wear that tiara any­more!!!) (and…I did NOT wear that lip­stick!!!) Laugh­ter is a pretty won­der­ful thing!   Hey, I […]

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Centennial Edition: Sunday Thought For The Day

by Lance Ekum

Note:  If you are hav­ing trou­ble view­ing this video, please click here. Some days my vision blurred. Fall down. Am lost. Out in this great big world. And still. A guid­ing hand to offer help.. A voice from dis­tance far. A human spirit so close to me. Foot­prints we do impart. A jour­ney down this path. A […]

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What Is Awesome?

by Lance Ekum

Note:  If you are hav­ing trou­ble view­ing this, please click here. “The but­ter­fly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore A W E S O M E !! Rain hair. Get­ting grass stains. The smell of crayons. Pick­ing up a q and u at the same time when play­ing Scrabble. […]

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A Brother’s Story

by Lance Ekum

Today’s spe­cial guest is a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor around here, and some­one who has a lot of fun in life and in his writ­ing.  When he’s not sav­ing lives or out for a long run, you can find him as a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor over at the Calo­rieLab web­site.  Please help me wel­come Dr. J, as he […]

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Sunday Thought For The Day

by Lance Ekum

photo credit: The­Mar­que+ The Starfish Story One day a man was walk­ing along the beach when he noticed a boy pick­ing some­thing up and gen­tly throw­ing it into the ocean. Approach­ing the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?” The youth replied, “Throw­ing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going […]

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Pockets of Paradise

by Lance Ekum

Par­adise right here in our pockets.…that sounds pretty sweet! Today I have Tess Mar­shall here, from The Bold Life, to share her won­der­ful writ­ing.  Tess is filled with a deep love for life, and even beyond that — she has this real zest for the life she lives!  BOLD is a fit­ting word to describe […]

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