April 27, 2010, Vol. 8 Issue 4
Our new beagle, Bella, makes me laugh. Talk about being in the moment. She sits in the back yard, all by herself and wags her tail. This is relatively new behavior. At first she would hunker down behind the sliding glass doors — her bunker — where she would patiently and persistently watch for squirrel activity. “I spy” would eventually erupt into wild enthusiasm and howling that could only be relieved by opening the door.
Now she just sits out there on the deck, or on the grass, patiently wagging her tail, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Not a squirrel in sight. It cracks me up. I want to be more like Bella, wagging my tail, in anticipation of the good stuff. Bella reminds me to be in the moment. And that’s something I admire in both meeting planners and speakers. One never knows what might happen, and there are gifts to be found in spontaneity.
In this issue, the pictures tell the story best.
Jana Stanfield and
Flowers In Their Hair
The secret to success in comedy is the illusion of spontaneity. Robin Williams, Whoopie Goldberg, Jay Leno, and all the other great comedians appear to be thinking of each humorous mark spontaneously, off the cuff. In reality, they have spent hours and hours practicing the illusion of spontaneity. Here’s a way to set up your own success by creating the opportunity for spontaneity, and let your attendees enjoy believing they thought of the entire thing themselves!
The Unexpected Benefit of the 60’s Theme
The stage was set — a 60’s theme for the autumn celebration for gynecological cancer survivors, friends and families of the George Bray Cancer Center in New Britain, Connecticut. Firm, happy-looking chrysanthemum bouquets sprang from every table. That simple touch, combined with the 60’s theme, created a warm, festive atmosphere for the attendees. Jana Stanfield was on the program with a keynote concert, and to open the show every year, Dr. James Hoffman, a popular OB/GYN oncologist, spearheads the creation of a hilarious skit with patients in the cast.
The skit that evening, including Dr.Hoffman, was written in honor of a patient who had missed attending Woodstock in 1969. The plot featured chemotherapy — pretending it was like a good acid trip. Getting into the groove, Jana, who had also dressed for the occasion in 60’s attire, accessorized her outfit by pulling a flower out of a centerpiece and tucking it behind her ear. It seemed like a good idea, so as she took the stage following the skit, she invited the audience to join her: “Hey, these flowers are perfect, try one behind your ear,” she called out to the audience.
“People started pulling flowers out of the centerpieces,” she said. “Some put them behind their own ears, and then they started putting them behind each other’s ears. It was so sweet. It created this flood of goodness and laughter as people looked at each other realizing that they, too, looked just as lovely and goofy as their friends and family.”
Marcia Anderson, the event planner, said that it was especially fun to see all the men getting involved. “The men were the best part. It was so much fun to watch them get into it.” she said (even as her centerpieces were being de-flowered).
“They loved it — loved looking at each other and laughing. It created such a great mood for everyone, and made everyone part of the act,” Jana said. To mirror the theme with her program, she added some 70’s music to her play list, singing, “You’ve Got A Friend,” in honor of the doctors, nurses, family and friends who had supported each patient.
“The speaker reviews that night were the highest ever for that event, but I know it wasn’t me,” she was proud to report. “Yet the credit goes to the wonderful people like Dr. Hoffman, Marcia Anderson, the 60’s theme, and those happy hippie flowers!”
Well, I’d say it was the magical combination of all of the people involved, and especially the presence of being in the moment. Wagging your tail begets tail waggin’, if you will … And, Jana made such an impact, that she’s been invited back as the keynote speaker for Cancer Survivor’s Day, June 6. To learn more about bringing Jana’s spontaneity, humor, teamwork and caring to your event, visit our website.
A Sacred Journey
We’re so pleased to have Bella in our family. We got her from the pound last November. She’s 2 years old and full of youthful energy, enthusiasm and playfulness. It has been just a year since our sweet P.C. (beagle mix almost 18 years old) died, so last week, we took his ashes to one of our favorite places on the Oregon Coast — Crescent Beach at Ecola Park. It’s a steep mile and quarter hike up and down to the beach through Old Growth forest and some rough terrain, so it was also a good test for my knees and my husband’s new hip. I’m happy to report we both did just fine. It was a precious sacred journey to celebrate and honor P.C.’s life, walking down a path we had taken so many times together. We would go there for the day with my little knapsack packed with a big towel, lunch, water, dog treats, a book, and a journal.
I did a lot of conjuring sitting on that beach with P.C. — including the husband who now hikes with us. It was also Bella’s first trip to the ocean, her first time on that hike, and it felt just perfect to see her paw prints make an imprint in P.C.’s ashes on the sand. It was a perfect day all around, even though we didn’t see any squirrels at the beach…
Until next time, take care of yourself for your well being and those you love.
PLEASE NOTE: The information shared in this e-news is designed to help you make informed decisions about speakers and the programs they offer. It is not intended as a substitute for any treatment prescribed by a doctor. If you suspect you have a medical problem, seek competent medical help.