Saturday, March 30, 2013

Gladness Factor

Maleficent from Disney Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Trickster Moon - Where do life's lessons sneak up on us/surprise us, and how can we greet these lessons with receptivity instead of resistance?  CAYA Moon Question

"Into the house where joy lives, happiness will gladly come."  ~ Japanese Proverb

"The most waisted day is one without laughter." - ee cummings.

“If we can just let go and trust that things will work out they way they're supposed to, without trying to control the outcome, then we can begin to enjoy the moment more fully. The joy of the freedom it brings becomes more pleasurable than the experience itself.” ~ Goldie Hawn

The Gladness Factor (GF) was “discovered” as an essential for being a Fairy Godmother in the late 1990s by Dr. Leticia Foon.  Most traditionalists have scoffed at her discovery, because GF was always perceived important through oral tradition.  Foon just wrote it down and gave it a name which instantly professionalized it in peer reviewed journals.  Current students majoring in Western Fairy Godmothering now are required a minimum of three levels to help increase and maintain their GF skill set.     


Maypole Dance
Foon states GF predates 900 AD coming from both the English and Norse Fairy Godmother traditions (Note: Foon hasn't studied other traditions).  Paintings from this period hint that singing and dancing are important components for increasing the intensity of GF.   It wasn’t until the Elizabethan period did twirling and skipping became an aspect of GF.  This can be best illustrated in Shakespeare’s play Midsummer’ Night Dream.  Foon developed several GF exercises lifted from Eleanor Porter’s 1913 book Pollyanna.


Researchers have shown that deficiencies in GF can lead to misery, cynicism and exhaustion.  It can be best illustrated in the case study of Maleficent, now associated with the Sleeping Beauty tragedy.  If we look at the beginning of Maleficent career, her personnel file shows that she had high levels of enthusiasm, team player, and had the knack to solve problems where other’s didn’t seem to find them.  She was written up twice for singing staccato happy songs, because they caused a disruption in the office.  Also noted was she’d work overtime without meal breaks or going to the bathroom in order to get the job done.  We find that around twenty years into the Fairy Godmother business, there was a change in Maleficent’s personality.  She became more isolated.  Her annual review states: “She lost her nimbleness and flexibility when waving her wand.”  She seemed exhausted and cranky at staff meetings.  She had taken to leaving notes on the bathroom like: wash your hands and close the door.  We have learned her change was due to the work climate: reduction in resources, endless requests that agency couldn’t compensate for and a management attitude: if you want to keep your job you need to be tough and committed enough to suck it up.  The cumulative toll at the worksite and the oversight by the King and Queen were the straw that broke the camels’ back so to speak.  It drove Maleficent to curse rather than provide a blessing. 


Understanding trauma and how it affects us is important.  Trauma has a way of sucking the GF out of our lives.  One way is to take back lunch. 

My co-worker retired almost a year ago.  One thing I’ve noticed is I’m eating more and more at my desk.  I’m catching up with e-mails while eating my salad, soup, and yogurt.  J always made me step away from my desk and eat somewhere else. 

I’ve decided to be part of the take back lunchmovement as a way of break in what I do.  To put my work back into perspective.


How is this spiritual?  If you can’t laugh or sing songs, even out of tune with staccatos – how are you going to make magic?  How are you going to see possibilities?


Resource to learn more about trauma - required read for all Fairy Godmothers:

Laura van Dernoot Lipsky Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others

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