Friday, February 18, 2011

Age Well with Laughter

An old college friend used to make me laugh non –stop. Joke after joke, witty comments, clever bantering, jovial teasing. It seemed he lived to make us all laugh. Like many guys, it flowed out of him effortlessly, as a natural way of being, like an infinite fountain of humor.

Yet when I looked for this long lost friend online, I found an aged white- haired man, though he’s only in his mid-fifties. As I already knew, he holds a distinguished position at a prestigious university back East. Who knows how much he now laughs. I suspect he’s become quite serious. It shows.

I have another friend who is the most delightful woman I know. She’s kind, gentle, loving, intelligent, cultured, positive-minded and just shy of 90 years. She’s one of those beings with a constant sparkle in her eyes and a youthful spirit to match, no matter what her chronological age has become. A friend recently remarked that her skin is so smooth, with hardly a wrinkle in it.

As I reflect on these two friendships, I am reminded that, to stay young in body, you need to stay young in spirit.

Photo: My friend Mina

Monday, February 14, 2011

Laugh for Valentine's Day

Associated Press reports: Michelle Obama cites laughter as the number one most important factor to a successful marriage. She says, “I think in our house we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and laughter is the best form of unity in a marriage.”

Laughter is the glue that binds. And it’s like amnesia – helping us forget our partners imperfections, or that latest argument, or even that overwhelming obstacle that can loom in a relationship. It’s a reminder of all that is good between two people. If nothing else, laugh often with the one you love.

At least one study of successful married couples (by definition: couples that have been married for 15 years or more) found that the three most important factors to a great marriage include laughing often together. The other two are mutual respect and friendship.

Photo: Stock.xchnge

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Wild and Wonderful Women of Phinney Laughter Club

The monthly meeting of Phinney Laughter Club was especially wild last night!

We were thirteen women and one lucky guy.

A delightful seventeen-year old sought me out and brought her mom. I first assumed it was the opposite but her mother corrected me. Hooray for teenagers who come to laugh.

Rose battled rush hour traffic all the way from LaConner exclaiming “Girl, I’ve been looking for you for two years!” Sandy brought her wonderful self down from Edmonds. Eileen from Shoreline. Susan from Mukilteo, and as usual brought others to share in the experience. Thank you Susan - you help us grow. I love you women – you’re my regulars and the backbone of our club. I laugh as soon as you walk in the door.

Jean was taking notes for a Toastmaster’s speech about Laughter Yoga. My mouth was sore from all the laughing and at one point I was so far gone I had to instruct them to proceed without me. I think it was Eileen –she’s soooooooo funny.

No inhibitions anywhere. Pure fun. Non stop laughter. Laughter yoga at its absolute best. The name-and-pose laugh brought out the beauty queen in all of us. It’s the morning after and I’m laughing still.

Abe Lincoln said, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be”. We definitely made up our minds to laugh and be happy last night.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Portholes of Fun

It's too much fun! Today Google has their logo comprised of a series of portholes with the ocean and its full array of sealife visible. As the waves rise and fall we catch a view of a long-nosed dolphin, sea turtle, seahorse, flying fish jumping out of the water and on and on.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – when Google starts my day laughing, it’s a good thing.

Daniel Pink, in his book The Whole New Mind, postulates that success now depends on that added extra bit of creativity, design, laughter, whatever. That the MFA has become more important than the MBA. That as abundant and sophisticated consumers, we crave that extra something that feeds our spirit.

I recall a bottle of wine a friend brought for dinner years ago. It was called Ecstatic Women Dancing with a wild photo of barefoot women in jumping joy pose and corresponding story on the label. It was years ago but I still smile about it.

Fun in the workplace is a great thing for all of us!

Photo: Google

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Belly Laugh Day

Imagine a laugh so bountiful it comes straight from the belly!

Belly Laugh Day is a creation of fellow Certified Laughter Yoga Leader Elaine Helle and is celebrated annually on January 24th. It’s a variation on Dr. Kataria’s World Laughter Day that occurs every first Sunday in May. It’s another great opportunity to add more laughter to your day and to your life; and to bring added awareness to the healing power of laughter.

For an extra jolt Elaine suggests all participants laugh simultaneously at 1:24 pm your local time.

My own Belly Laugh Day went fairly uneventfully except for my usual morning laughter ritual, to which I gave an extra boost. But if you check the website for BLD, there are some fun and inspiring stories from participants around the world.

The most compelling one comes from the tree-planting group in Tanzania leading a large group of volunteers in a ritual belly laugh.

Belly Laugh Day is even legitimized by its listing in Chase’s Calendar of Events published by McGraw Hill.

The BLD website declares: We celebrate the laughs and smiles that transform our moments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 7 continents.

Elaine tells us that she practices Laughter Yoga everyday in her home.

She quotes Jean Houston: “At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities”.

Ultimately Belly Laugh Day is a time to celebrate the great gift of laughter.

Photo: San Diego Laughers