Monday, November 23, 2009

Laugh at Yourself

We were sitting in her den chatting away like typical teenage girls. My friend in her rocking chair and I opposite her. When suddenly she rocked so exuberantly that she landed backwards in the fireplace behind her. I burst into laughter that was hard to stop. My friend was not amused and to this day I regret, with sadness, that she could not laugh at herself.

The above scene has come back to me many times over the years as one of the funniest sights I have seen and still brings me laughter.

Michael Miller, Cardiologist from the University of Maryland Medical Center, conducted a study on laughter, where he tested how 300 participants would react to slight amounts of stress, such as having a drink spilled on them at a party. Participants self-reported by answering a questionnaire. Half the participants had heart disease.

Dr. Miller found that those who were more able to laugh at themselves were more heart- healthy. Those with heart disease were 40 % less likely to see the humor in life’s everyday absurdities. It’s good for your heart to be able to laugh at yourself.

I hope if I ever land square in the fireplace, I’m howling with laughter. I can’t imagine what else I could do!

(Please know that there was no fire going at the time.)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Laughter Tidbits

In the process of dismantling a house, decisions are being constantly made: what goes into storage, what doesn’t. I come across my singing dancing pirate – a gift from another laughter leader. Momentarily I think “storage unit”, until I press his button, mobilizing him into his hip- swinging dance, to the tune of “Do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight, get down” sending me into peals of laughter. What was I thinking? Like the rest of the world, I placed laughter and silliness at the bottom of my list. I repented. The pirate comes with me.

While waiting on hold on the phone for Apple Support, I decide to open up my new “laughing video” I made of myself, and spend the next few minutes doing my laughter routine. The time sped by. I was still laughing when the nice young man came on the line. He seemed to catch the thrill, for it set the tone for a lively and fun MAC support session for both of us. Yet another practical use for my laughing video.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Integrity, Loss and Laughter

Over the past few months, I’ve had a falling out with three good friends over an integrity issue. It’s been difficult. Very difficult.

And I’ve felt it in my laughter programs – my spark lessened. I’ve known it’s a temporary loss - the peak in my laughter brightness gone a bit dimmer.

I remember my own words, the words I repeat before every laughter program: “If you can laugh when life becomes challenging, it’s something very special. It’s a profound life skill.”

I remember my other words: “As you learn to self-generate your own laughter, you learn to choose your own emotions; instead of your emotions choosing you.”

With these words, I choose to laugh again as brightly as before. I choose forgiveness. I choose love. And I allow my laughter to flow from there.

Photo: Stock.xchnge

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Laughs

My neighbor across the street has placed a voluminous replication of some creature on her front door. It looks like a cross between Yoga and Voldemort. Half benign, half devious. Whatever it is, it makes me laugh and laugh every time I emerge from my house.

Triggering Halloween thoughts, I dig out my one prop for this holiday – a chartreuse green feather boa, laughingly purchased at Costume & Display some years ago. I continue laughing even more.

A Japanese friend tells me a Halloween story, from when she first moved to our country. Walking into a bank for the first time, she was thrown into anxious confusion at the sight of tellers dressed in outrageous designs. We had big laughs over her reminiscing of her first knowledge of our end of October ritual.

A writer friend tells me about the two kids who came to his house dressed as lawyers, in business suits with brief cases and even business cards – hands down, the scariest ones to arrive at his front door.

I hope this Halloween has brought you much laughter.