Saturday, September 25, 2010


Israel and Palestine are at the table again. Obama’s assisting. We can only hope.

But what does laughter have to do with it? Laughter has a lot to do with it. For me anyway.

At both Laughter Yoga International and World Laughter Tour (the two organizations that I am a member of), our mission includes world peace. A lofty goal you say? Not if you consider the nature of laughter.

A reporter once asked me why I do what I do. “To bring more laughter into the world” was the obvious answer. “To facilitate more joy.”

But I found myself saying: “Peace.” “Peace in the Middle East.” It’s the hot spot on our planet. Peace in the Middle East = peace on Earth.

I further told her that I hold a vision of Jews, Arabs, and Christians all laughing together. Laughing at a Laughter Club. Laughing for no reason.

Soon thereafter I saw a photo of just that. Someone who had a laughter club, or led a laughter yoga session, somewhere in that part of the world, pictured Arab participants laughing with Jewish participants. Immediately my vision was confirmed.

As a lawyer in California once told me: he uses laughter during the contentious work of mediation. If he succeeds in making everyone laugh, this is always the point at which solutions start to be found.

Laughter is bonding. We remember we are all part of the same human family.

As Alan Alda once said: “When we’re laughing, we’re generally not killing each other.”

I send this vision to the peace process.

Photo: Stock.xchnge

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

She who Laughs, Lasts

It’s posted on her door and it’s a motto she has lived well. My friend Marilyn is 80-something, laughs much and often, has embraced the world of laughter yoga with gusto and is in tremendous physical and emotional shape. I am inspired.

Marilyn became a clown in 1990 with the clear intelligence that humor helps us cope. She uses it to deal with any of life’s challenges and most recently the death of her son.

I watch Marilyn chase after her grandson and I know that’s the way to stay young forever. Stay active. Run with the kids. Laugh as much as possible.

Marilyn became a Certified Laughter Leader in 2005, started a laughter club in her retirement community soon thereafter. Her laughter club is now in it’s sixth year and is going strong.

She has attended two Laughter Yoga Conferences, the Teacher Training with Laughter Yoga Founder Dr. Kataria, the Humor Project Conference with Joel Goodman, among other laughter programs; as well as leading her own workshops on humor.

Marilyn is most definitely laughing and lasting.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Smile and Cool your Brain

Smiling is like a cool mountain stream running through your brain.

I went to a friend’s photographic blog the other day and was overjoyed to find a picture of a mother duck and her six ducklings contentedly sitting on a log, down at the houseboat community where my friends live.

It’s a scene that immediately made me smile.

Smiling cools the blood to the brain and instantly relaxes you.

Conversely, think of the expression “hot-headed”. We use it when someone is screaming at the top of their lungs, extremely angry, with veins popping out of their throat. Not a pretty sight and not a good situation for the body.

When this happens the blood to the brain becomes very warm. The opposite happens when we smile. A very pretty sight and a nice situation for our body and our spirit.

My friend’s blog is called More Pictures, Less Words and is dedicated to the idea that when we are immersed all day in the world of words, it’s very relaxing to go to the world of pictures.

Surround yourself with images that make you smile.

Check out Franklin’s blog at

Photo: Lake Crescent

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Giggles with Google

A spinning thing came into being right before my eyes and I quickly learned I could manipulate it with my curser, making it spin in different directions, fast or slow. “Wheeeeeee this is fun!”

Sometimes I’ve resented that techies have taken over the world, but when those techies bring me more laughter, I say “good deal”.

When I open my computer in the morning, it goes straight to the Google home page. Sometimes I start my day laughing right then and there. As I write this post, they currently have blots of color spewing out at you, that eventually coalesce into the word google; only to explode into more balls of color when you pass the curser over them, causing me to explode with laughter.

Maybe they’re meant to be balloons, maybe bubbles. Who cares really. If I keep moving my curser they just keep going all over the page. If I enter from the side, they kick off from there. “I’ve got to stop this playing around and get to work.”

I’m so glad I switched my email from Yahoo to Google, leaving behind all that gossip, disaster and negativity that hit me first thing each morning.

Now I’ve had such treats as The Wizard of Oz, Frida Kahlo, or some green earthy stuff for Earth Day, spelling out the word google. They even changed their name on April Fool’s Day. Who else would have the guts to potentially confuse people for the sake of fun?

We all know their logo looks like preschool art and how could a company name be sillier than the word google.

Google is fun and that’s a good thing for the world. Keep me laughing Google!

I read something once about Google having ping pong tables at their offices. Perhaps they understand the benefit of play at work; how play nurtures creativity; how play at work makes happy employees; how happy employees are productive employees; how laughter at work is beneficial to the bottom line. Perhaps. With a net profit in the billions, most likely.

Photo: Stock.xchnge

Monday, September 6, 2010

Laughter Yoga in The New Yorker

We made it in the New Yorker this week!!! Check out the Aug 30 issue, article entitled "The Laughing Guru", all about Dr. Madan Kataria, Laughter Yoga and Laughter Clubs.

It's a great article, a nice overview and contains some gems too. For instance, I learned of Dr. K's dream of an oceanliner named Shanti (the Sanskrit word for peace) "perpetually circumnavigating the globe, spreading laughter from continent to continent". Wow!