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Meeting Charmin

I first met Charmin at a workshop entitled “The Power of Laughter and Play” held at the Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim, CCharmin TodayA. It was hosted by Steve Allen Jr., who taught us juggling.  Others included Steve Allen Sr., O.Carl Simonton, Ashley Montagu, Annette Goodheart and many more.

Just prior to the conference I had separated from my first wife, living on my own and I was looking for something to brighten up my life. When the brochure for the conference came in the mail, the session that caught my attention the most was Ashley Montagu’s title focusing on freestyle dance. I didn’t know who he was but besides laughter I thought that I could use some freedom. I sent in my money, which nearly wiped out my checking account at the time, but I felt that I needed to be there. I got a cheap motel close by and took my bicycle so that I wouldn’t have to pay for gas or parking, while attending the conference. Ashley Montagu’s breakout was not what I expected at all but that is the topic of the next blog.

Annette Goodheart

Annette Goodheart

As I mentioned, one of the presenters was Annette Goodheart, Ph.D. and I had no idea what she would do or how it would change my life. Steve Allen Jr. introduced Annette and this woman came out on stage wearing a hat which had the head of a fish sticking out the front and the tail of the fish sticking out the back, both of which were wagging. Under each arm she had a stuffed Teddy bear and before she said a word she threw them out into the audience. The instruction followed: hold it, cuddle with it, squeeze it or just pass it on. Annette then began to talk about Charlie the Bear and how she used him in her work at hospitals and that Canada had declared him to be a medical instrument because they were so popular. Besides the two bears that she threw out into the audience, assistants started to bring others around and hand them out so that everyone could experience the holding of the bear.

I was not eT Shirtxpecting any of the things that I felt when Charlie came to me. I squeezed it.  I looked at the T shirt, which says, “Tee-Hee, Heh-Heh, Ha-Ha, Ho-Ho,”  Then I hugged it. At that moment I wanted one. I can’t say it was love at first sight but it sure was with first embrace. Later we had a break and we could visit the different presenter’s booths to sample their wares and purchase if we wanted. I made a straight line for Annette’s booth to find out – HOW MUCH. Charlie was $95.00 and I had sticker shock. “Do I get it, do I not get it, do I get it, do I not get it,” I kept saying to myself. It was like a mantra that kept going through my head. I left the table without Charlie the Bear and went back to my chair. All through the next speaker I kept trying to figure out how I could afford it. I had spent most of my money getting there and now I was going to spend the rest of it on a STUFFED ANIMAL.

As I sat there I remembered how it felt and then I remember a story that Annette had told. At times she would take the bear with her into restaurants and other places. She shared how one time she had gone into a restaurant and placed Charlie next to her in the booth and the waitress saw it and just started laughing. The question, was I willing to carry this bear around with me so that people could laugh and smile, came to mind. I didn’t know if I could but I knew that I needed to find out so on the next break I went and bought a bear.

Later that evening I was in my motel room on the bed and sitting in front of me was the stuffed animal that I had just spent $95.00 for.  I won’t say that I had buyer’s remorse but I certainly wondered if I had gone off the deep end. I looked around the room and saw that I had a knitted backpack and in the bear went. I could figure out in the morning if I would carry it or not.

The next morning, there it was sitting on the bed. It wasn’t a dream. Yes, I had emptied my checking account to buy a Teddy bear. “What am I going to do now,” I asked myself. “I can name it.” I sat looking for awhile and then the name “Charmin” came to mind but what does that mean? (It wasn’t until later that I put the name together with “squeezably soft”)  Then it came to me, Charlie and Minuet. Charlie was actually for Charlie Brown which I had to admit I identified with and Minuet was for the dance of life that I was looking for. Charmin it was and we have been dancing together ever since.

I put Charmin on my back and out the door of my motel room we went.

Invisibility – Visibility

Try this Book.
Laughter Therapy: How to Laugh About Everything in Your Life That Isn’t Really Funny

Building a Dream Life

New Year Firewalking

First Time Firewalking

Filled with Joy, Enthusiasm and PASSION

For years now I have been hearing about blogging and I felt that it was beyond me. I would tell myself, “Who would read what I wrote, and why would they care anyway.”  A year ago I felt that I was ready to get past all of these excuses and I paid my money and I hosted a blog entitled “Mindful Ramblings” and it was so successful I never even got the first post made, (sarcastic HA-HA) but I still paid my money each month to have an empty blog because I knew that I needed to do it for my own happiness.

Well as the progression of things goes, I met Lorelle VanFossen at this year’s PODCamp in Phoenix, AZ. She gave a great tutorial on blogging and how to use WordPress.  Lorelle made it so easy that within an hour I had created a new blog, Marvin’s Test Blog.  I didn’t realize that it would be a test of silence, testing me on how long I could be silent and not blog.  What impressed me even more than how easy Lorelle made blogging was a conversation that I had with her in the hall after the training session.  Lorelle gave a sense of the passion that she has for blogging and sharing that with the virtual community that exist, just to be of help by putting herself out there.  I’m not sure that that is how she feels about it but that is what I felt from her sharing and the support that she gave me in going forth with my endeavors. Thank you, Lorelle.

My first trip with Charmin.

Who would have thought that I, a former Iowa State University Journalism major, would be typing away on my own computer and then publishing it?  One of my first tasks in my parent’s newspaper business was to put hand set type back into the type case, just to date myself a little.  You might think it to be natural but you haven’t gotten to know me yet. Recluse, hermit, loner might be some good adjectives to describe my current disposition.  It has been a long journey from lying in bed at age 6 or 7 and dreaming about being a writer to now finally putting my first thoughts out there to be seen.

If you follow my blog I’m sure that you will get to read a lot about what has lead me to this point and the inspiration that it has given me, which is why I have included these two pictures to remind me of two major turning points in my life.

First, I would like to introduce you to a traveling companion that I have traveled with for about 25 years now.

It is my Great pleasure to introduce to you, Charmin, who is not just a teddy bear but a certified medical instrument. We first met at a “Power of Laughter and Play” workshop in Anaheim, CA in 1985.  All that you can see in the picture is a nose and a head covered with my sunglasses and my hat. You’ll be able to read more about our meeting in the blog category “Charmin’s Travels.” At this point I would like to tell you why I started to carry Charmin and what it has to do with this blog.  As I mentioned earlier hermit is a good way to describe me but that is not consistent with being a minister and teacher, which began about 35 years ago.  I carry Charmin to remind me not to be invisible.  It’s hard to be invisible riding a bike in Los Angeles carrying a bear in a backpack on your back. I also carry Charmin because I think it brings a smile to people when they see Charmin and it lets me know that by just being present with people I have an effect on them, good or not so good.  This is what I need to keep telling myself as I write this blog, “I am present and not invisible.  What I write and express does affect the lives of people whether we interact personally or not.”

(I’m chuckling to myself as I write this because in the last few sentences I used the words effect and affect.  This was a topic for many questions in journalism classes as to which was correct to use and when.  Now I don’t even have to know, a word processor can tell me which is correct and when.  Why didn’t I have this when I was in school?)

The other picture that I have included is a picture that was taken of me at my first fire walking ceremony Jan. 2, 2010 in Tempe, AZ.  This is another thing that I had heard that people did but I never thought that it would be me.  I posted it to remind me to let go of my fears and beliefs about things and GO for it.  If not for this idea I would probably be sitting here thinking that blogging is a great idea and that some day it would be great to begin, instead of writing this right now.

Who would have thought?  How many times do we tell ourselves that is beyond me or I don’t know how to do that.  At that point in time that might be true but it is only true for how long we want to believe it and not move forward to change those ideas.  Walking on hot burning coal, 1,200 degrees, was not something that I believed was possible for me but now I can say that I have done it.

I am creating this blog for that very reason to walk on the burning fears that keep me from going forward to live a life filled with Joy, Enthusiasm and PASSION.  I invite you to walk with me through those beliefs that hold us back and create new ones of Great Possibilities.

We Walk TOgether,

Rev Marvin Brown

Chan Thien Tan / True Good Energy

Why Blog?

Why am I creating this Blog? My title – Building a Dream Life – filled with Joy, Enthusiasm and PASSION says it all not that I have this but because I want to create that in my life.

Currently I have what one might call a flat life, no up’s and down’s,  so one might say an even keel. In some ways this is much better than the deep chronic depression that I have experienced most of my life. I want more.  I saw a show on TV and they were talking to people who had made progress in a change that they were wanting in their lives and they were feeling pretty good about it.  Then the question was asked, “Why are you willing to stop here? Why don’t you want to go all the way?”

I had to ask myself the same thing, “Why am I willing to stop with a FLAT life, better than deep depression, when I can go for it all?” My answer was shocking.  I wanted the flat life because I was at my comfort level for pushing myself and it was uncertain what I would have to face by pushing forward.

I have heard many times, “If you want something then give it away.”  I haven’t done so well trying to create a dream life so far by keeping my old life so here it goes.  I freely and willing let go of the things that hold me to my FLAT life and I move into a DREAM life with Joy, Enthusiasm and PASSION.

There is the more traditional meaning of this phrase as well.  If you want joy then give it away.  If you want more prosperity in your life then give generously.  I intend to follow this as well by joyously, enthusiastically, and passionately creating this blog site.  As readers of this blog I’m asking you to hold me accountable and your comments will be greatly appreciated.

In attempting to create a dream life I have gained some knowledge over the years.  Some would call it expertise but I would call it just wishful thinking.  Now is the time to put the thinking into practice and say enough is enough and I want it now.  Maybe you have similar thoughts or just simply want to create a dream life.  Follow my journey, comment, or share this blog with others.  In this way we will journey together and support each other.  Some may say that it might look messy along the way but we will know that it is a DREAM coming to Flower.  As they say, “You can’t have roses without compost.”

Please join me in a toast as we connect our Joys and Passion.

“May we make fragrant compost in the posts to come.”

As a member of the Order of Interbeing founded by Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh I have had the opportunity to look at the nature of inter-connectedness.  As much as I would like to keep my hermit nature I can give that away too.  The model of this blog is based on a 2,500 year old tried and true plan which has stood the test of time.  You will find Eight Categories, mindfulness, action, speech, livelihood, concentration, intention, thinking and view, among others that will allow us to explore our lives and to create the DREAM life we want.  Not my dream for you but your Dream life for you.

We Walk TOgether
Rev Marvin Brown
Chan Thien Tan / True Good Energy