On sticks, jokes, teaching and life

So… The joke goes like this…   What do you call a boomerang that does not come back?  A stick!

I love jokes.  The simpler the better.  Humor, over the years, has become a vital tool for me, a viewpoint from which to start, a destination to arrive at.

Recently, I gained new perspective on my humerous approach to, teaching, presenting.  The opportunity to present at the German climber’s forum was a wonderful opportunity, granting me new insight into how I approach the task of teaching and how this presentation style is viewed.

You see, for me to laugh is to learn.  If I can chuckle, see a different side of a topic through humor, then I grasp the concept easier, remember subtle complexities for later mental digestion and assimilation.

There is some scientific backing to this.  Laughing releases hormones in the brain that can encourage retention, boost memory, aid in cognition.  Humor is also one way to set a context of learning in which the content of subject matter can be inserted.  The content of learning must be good, but will always fall short if the context is lacking.

Often my incessant jokes are misinterpreted as mere entertainment, but, in fact, I use them as a tool to convey the subject matter, to reinforce learning, to create a memorable experience and hence, share knowledge and experience.

More than that though, humor expresses my view of life, living and moving through this world.  Time is so unmercifully short, our most valuable resource.  Not laughing a bit at life, ourselves, our actions and enjoying the moments we live and string together to call a lifetime seems wasteful to me.  I feel obligated to help others enjoy the time they have decided to share with me when they come to participate in a class I conduct, a talk I give.  The students give of their time and attention, the least I can do is share my time, attention, experience and knowledge all wrapped in a package of humor.

So what is a boomerang?  A stick fashioned to fly in an ellipse.  If thrown properly the “boomerang” should arc away, then turn and arc back to our hand.  Failing this, it just falls to the earth, mission unaccomplished a mere “stick”

So what is learning and teaching?  An ellipse of it’s own.  A throwing out of ideas and thoughts, knowledge and experience.  When thrown properly, it arcs back, returning to the thrower lessons and knowledge of it’s own, gathered on the way.  Laughing, jokes and humor help me guide the experiences and lessons I choose to impart.  In turn humor aids the arc back, returns to me lessons and insight for my own mind and life.  Teaching draws me too it because it is such a two way street, just like a good joke.

A stick?  Well that is time killed not spent.



European Tour

Last week I had an amazing opportunity to travel overseas and co-presentwith Rick Denbeau at the climber’s forum at the German Tree Care Conference in Augsburg, Germany.  A wonderful opportunity to see so many friends and climbers again, but closer to their home’s than mine.  I cannot say enough about the hospitality and generosity of everybody I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time or getting reacquainted with.

Here is a short Highlight video.




There are times, as a writer, trainer, human I feel  alack of inspiration of creativity.  I wonder what the next step artistically is for me, my life.  You see, I have come to rely on the expression writing, creating, teaching grants me.  Without it I seemed to hollow out a bit, lose focus, drift.

These times always seem to come as one project ends, but another yet to begin.  I wonder if I have another good book, story, sentence, hell, word left.  Have I used up all the mojo the universe bequeath me?  How can I add something of meaning to this world of ours.

Life and experience has taught me to weather these times with a smile, to know inside that the right thing, one word, one idea, one glimmer of the next project will appear.  Usually when I least expect it.  Experience also teaches me to go looking, oft times in subtle ways with out preconceived notions.

Here is my next source of inspiration, the fodder from which the next work, story, book will rise, grow and bloom.  I hope it helps you too!