Friday, October 28, 2011


I maintain my gaze for a prolonged time in complete disbelief that someone who lives within 12 feet of my apartment door would be so unwilling to even say hello. After one year I did succeed in getting my next door neighbor to exude the briefest of hellos. But no smile. Never a smile.

In church, a very liberal church I sometimes frequent, it can be equally as hard to make eye contact. For to speak to someone first you’ve got to make eye contact.

Walking down the street, I long ago accepted the fact that everyone looks down, or away, or at their smart phone.

There’s a name for it now: The Seattle Freeze. There are articles written about it. It’s helped. I’m not alone in finding this behavior very odd. The Seattle Anti-Freeze Meet-Up has over 1000 members.

Community is intrinsic to my nature. It’s the first thing I set about to create wherever I go. For me community is part of being human. Apparently not so for everyone.

It makes sense that I am in the business of laughter yoga. In laughter we connect.

It makes no difference if we’ve only seen each other for the first time mere moments ago or if we’ve known each other for years. We connect on a deep level. On an ecstatic level. Joy is the name of our game.

I’d like to drag all my apartment neighbors there and see how they fare. In fact, they would probably do okay. I’ve been doing this for 10 years now and the truth is that once I begin a laughter session, demonstrating each laughter exercise with my own abundant laugh, most everyone is off and running. And we’ve got a laughter session going.

I learned very early on that almost anyone will laugh. Not everyone, but almost everyone. It’s the joy that seduces them, the mirror neurons in their brains that can’t resist, and the group energy that carries them along. And perhaps experiencing the very human act of connecting with other humans.

I propose Laughter Yoga as the healing antidote to the dreaded Seattle Freeze.

Photo: Laughter Yoga International

Friday, October 21, 2011


“Laughter is like a whole bunch of bubbles that tickle you from inside.”

Three-year old child

Photo: Stock.xchnge

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Laughter sets you Free

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to be free.”

Sometimes I feel like the Statue of Liberty. As a Laughter Yoga Leader, I say a prayer before every laughter session and sometimes it sounds just like that. “Let them come. Whoever needs to be here, whoever needs more laughter in their life right now.”

And I have had all kinds of people come.

A laughter club member once told me he laughs to relieve sadness. It’s true. And I’ve seen it with those who’ve been through the worst in life. They can laugh the best. They need the healing. Instinctively they know that laughter can bring them back.

I recall one young woman who came with her mother. If I had to give her a label, it might be autistic. But I hate labels because we are all so much more than that.

This woman paced the empty corners of the room before we began. She never made eye contact with me or anyone else. She never spoke and seemed very uncomfortable in general. Yet she appeared to be there of her own choice.

And laugh she did. Not overly boisterous by any means, but she laughed. It seemed like an unused muscle. I noticed some people looking at her making mental note of her uniqueness.

But when we did The Wave Laugh (we pass a laugh around a circle like “the wave”), she emerged out of her shell. She got more and more playful, spontaneous and adventurous. Far more than the rest of us. I loved it!

I love when the laughter club can include everyone. The diversity of humanity all bonding together.

Photo: Wikimedia

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Though I am not a techie, I love all things MAC and I have a great respect for the genius that was Steve Jobs. Like many, I am saddened by his passing.

In tribute here are some bits of his humor:

He founded his company on April 1st.

He called himself the iCEO.

He crooned: “ITunes on Windows is like giving a glass of icewater to someone in hell.”

As a blanket response to any media inquiry about his health, he simply offered his blood pressure reading 110/70.

Also concerning his health, he quoted Twain “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

A flurry of comedy has surfaced since Jobs passing. The cover of the New Yorker has him getting checked in at the pearly gates with an iPad…….... Keep us laughing.

Thank you Steve Jobs for all you gave us.

Photo: Wikimedia

Saturday, October 8, 2011


“The head thinks, the hands labor, but it’s the heart that laughs.”

Liz Curtis Higgs

Photo: Laughter Yoga International

Monday, October 3, 2011

Laughter reduces Pain

Laughter reduces pain. I lecture about it all the time. Then one day it happened to me.

I was doubled over in pain. Accidentally I ate something I was allergic to. In response, my intestines twisted and cramped to a high level of pain. All I could do was go to bed and wait it out for the next 12 – 24 hours.

As I lay there comatose, my roommate appeared in the doorway, spouting off something in a dry comedic wit that sent me into a spin of laughter. I laid on the bed laughing and laughing only to realize that, in the process, my pain completely disappeared. “Well, there it is, what I always tell people.”

Unfortunately the pain immediately returned as soon as I stopped laughing. Yet I know that the longer you laugh, the more relief you get.

Norman Cousins, author of Anatomy of an Illness, found that ten minutes of solid laughter yielded him two hours free of pain. He had been suffering under the debilitating disease, anklosing spondilitis, which left his entire body racked in pain.

When we laugh the brain triggers the release of endorphins. Those happy hormones also act like morphine on the body. They’re powerful pain killers.

I’ve received numerous testimonials of this nature from participants in my ongoing laughter programs, yet this was the first time I experienced it myself. Someone suffering from Scleroderma once told me she liked to come to the laughter club when she was in pain because she could get relief from it with all the laughing.

Laughter heals in so many ways.

Photo: Wikimedia/Norman Cousins