01 April, 2015

The Most Sacred of Holy Days...

Crazy Eye Coyote! (c) 2015
Happy wonderful tricksy April Fool's Day!

After Halloween, this is my favorite holiday. The desire to help people to laugh at themselves (and at me!) can be overwhelming sometimes, and this day makes mirth and silliness the norm.

For me, this holy day has never been about playing hurtful, painful, or embarrassing jokes on others. That type of trickery is too close to bullying, and leaves a bad taste all around.

I prefer to play tricks on myself, and see the response in others. As an example, I have enjoyed pretending that I am my own "evil twin" since dying my blonde hair brunette. It shakes up every day perceptions, and many people giggle when they realize they can't recognize me for a while!

Another good example is how I play tricks at work for mental health clients.

This day is about joyful revelry and flipping the status quo. Spiritually, it helps us to live in the present, break up worries and anxieties, and look at the same things in our environment in a different way.

Many cultures teach the importance of the "Beginners Mind" and the imagery and symbolism of the Fool from Tarot is a perfect example of this. In Lakota culture, the fool is known as Heyoka, and he or she acts contrary to the social norm, in order to illustrate lessons, ask difficult questions, and test boundaries (to see if they are still needed or too stiff). This is also why the Jester was such an important person at Court-- he or she needed to test every avenue of a King's or Queen's decree, to help find loopholes and to test for internal validity.

On this sacred day of silliness, I plan on engaging in all sorts of wacky fun! I shall leave you with these words from a previous post:

"Why do you always want to look like a fool in front of the clients?"

And I responded with, "It's not always about looking like a fool. It's about taking that chance to do something silly and fun, and not caring what you look like. I'm trying to role-model an appropriate response to the emotions of anxiety, embarrassment, and social isolation. Because our clients will have to learn how to laugh at themselves in a way that makes them feel safe and secure."

If you think about it, it's not just those receiving mental health services that need to learn this social skill. Everyone does. How much stress is generated from worrying about how someone perceives you? Or ruminating over an embarrassing situation? How much uncomfortable energy is generated trying to control things that no one can control?

Laughter completely changes the energy of a situation, and can even flip the perspective of the person dealing with these emotions.

Laughing at one's self for situations out of one's control is a great skill, and not everyone learns how to do it right away. That's why it's important for Coyote's energy to work in this manner, to allow a safe place, a middle ground, so that laughter can be shared without the fear of hurting someone's feelings.

 Happy April Fool's Day!

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