Out on a Limb
A Monthly Newsletter from Martha Clark Scala
Invest in bringing joy back to your life.
June 2009
Welcome to Out on a Limb, a monthly newsletter from Martha Clark Scala. This free e-zine is meant to invite and inspire you to maximize the joy in your life. To Subscribe, click here.

Be a Fan

I grew up in a household where conversation took a back-burner to watching sports. A meal at the dinner table had to wait ‘til the proverbial 4th quarter was over. Once, we delayed our departure for a family outing (to attend another sporting event) to see how the Borg vs. McEnroe Final at Wimbledon turned out! We were sports fans. It was one of the few things we all had in common besides the roof over our heads.

Before I lose any of you readers who are allergic to the enjoyment of sports, let’s not forget that you can be a fan of just about anything or anyone. Online groups, chat rooms, blogs or list-serves abound for fans of artists of all stripes. Did you know there’s a fan club for the Pope, the International Space Station, Moo-Cow, Fail Whale, all kinds of breeds of animals, and the movie, Rocky Horror Picture Show? Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to be a part of the Internet’s social networks such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Many who have joined these networks and experienced the joy of re-connecting with old high school, college or neighbor pals, have become fans of the networks themselves!

A “fan” is described as an Americanism at dictionary.com, and is a shortened version of the word, “fanatic.” Most of the synonyms for this version of the noun, fan, are positive. When you support someone or something, you just might make their day! But it also might make your day. What is it about fanning (and I don’t mean waving an implement in your hand to create a cool breeze on your hot face) that could bring you joy?


Why Fanning is Good For You

The common denominator that brings fans together is affinity, and affinity promotes a sense of connection or belonging. Where connection or belonging are felt, joy is often near. This explains why five people in my family of origin could be so utterly different from one another, and yet be compelled to pick up the phone and celebrate something like the filly winning the Preakness stakes a few weeks back.

Fans of singer-songwriter Carly Simon spread the word with each other about upcoming appearances or CD releases. This explains why folks in Mexico, France, San Francisco, and New Jersey now know each other quite well! The Carly connection is treasured. Friendships via the Internet make geographical distance a non-issue.


“All Things in Moderation”

This is a direct quote from my grandfather. He was a fan of potato chips … but he never ate too many. Too much of a good thing can become a problem; the negative synonym for fan is addict. There are stories of how rabid fans can be. Those who get obsessed with a person might end up with a restraining order due to stalking, harassment, prank phone calls, etc. If you’re too much of a social network fan, you may forget to interact with people in the flesh! And if you’ll forgive another sports example, the relationship between Jimmy Fallon’s character and Drew Barrymore’s character in the movie Fever Pitch nearly fizzled due to what? Tunnel-vision fanaticism for the Boston Red Sox!

So, enjoy the potato chips, but don’t go overboard!


Joy-Gram for June 2009

Watch this brief clip.  It speaks specifically to San Francisco Giants fans, but the infectious enthusiasm will bring you joy even if you don’t like baseball!  Click here or cut and paste this url into your browser:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRC-Pm_Mx_k&feature=related  

And now that you’ve seen the clip, I’ll ask you … what makes you go all “ding-da-la-ding-ding, DING -DING?”


Pictured Above

As a lifelong member of the Grampy Fan Club, I must introduce you to Flavel Shurtleff. We shared a fondness for cats (note the kitten nestled on his neck), Scrabble, crossword puzzling, the Boston Red Sox … and potato chips.


The website, www.Caring.com is dedicated to “Helping You Help Your Parents,” and it has a wealth of resources. At this website, I respond to questions posted by readers on the topics of grief and loss, substance abuse, and caregiver self-care. If you’d like to locate my responses easily, type “Martha Clark Scala” in the Find box at the Home page of this website.


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By no means do I have joy “figured out.” Please do not assume that I do! I write Out On a Limb as much as a meditation for myself in the ongoing pursuit of joy, as for you. I think this pursuit is a lifelong journey and that the full experience of joy is, at best, episodic. May we all have more episodes!


Martha Clark Scala, MFT 721 Colorado Ave., Suite 201, Palo Alto, CA 94303

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