Thursday, September 27, 2012

Three Types of People

I had a shock recently when I visited my doctor’s office.  It had been some time since I’d been there.  So when said doctor walked in to the office, and I quickly realized something was amiss, only to be confirmed when she/he announced to me that she was a “dude now”, I pretty much went into shock.  The fact that she used humor to ease the shock was a gift.

Yes my naturopath, who as far as I knew was still a woman, has chosen to become a man.  It was a tremendous surprise.

I was already in a slightly anxious state as she/he was about to inject a needle to pull out my blood.  So my usual m-o, which is to make a joke in order to laugh and relax, was a bit slow on the uptake.  All I could muster was “Wow!”

But in the course of our short visit, we did manage to interject some humor and get a few laughs.  For this is how we’ve always conducted our visits.  I was glad the gender switch didn’t change that.  I postponed freaking out until I left the office.  And I can proudly state that after my initial freak- out, I was able to laugh about it.  I am still pretty much alternating between these two modes - shock and laughter.

In her book Growing Up Laughing, Marlo Thomas states, there are three kinds of people:

·      Those who can never laugh at a challenge
·      Those who can laugh after the challenge has passed
·      Those who can laugh right in the midst of it 

     I thought I did pretty well.

     Photo:  Stock.xchnge

Monday, September 17, 2012

Smile while you...

Smile while you…

I know I was going around smiling today because everyone was smiling back at me.  In the grocery store.  Walking down the street.  In my apartment building.  I checked once as I passed by a shop window and sure enough I was smiling.  I know I was feeling lighter today.  Perhaps that’s why.  Perhaps I’ve simply trained myself to smile often enough that it's become my default expression.

Smile while you do what you do.  I heard a spiritual teacher say it once.  I’ve said it myself many times.  It enhances the act, whatever it is.

Smile while you do the dishes.
Smile while you exercise.
Smile while you walk.
Smile while you drive.
Smile while you…

Try it.  It relaxes you.  It makes you more joyful.  It causes others to smile back.  Then it’s joy multiplied.

Photo:  Stock.xchnge

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

La Traviata

When the waiter casually asked us how we were today, he wasn’t at all prepared when I announced “Actually we’re all emotionally drained from the opera we just left.”

The table exploded into one big laugh, no one more than me.  Save the waiter, who took about 30 seconds to recover.  Clearly he’d not gotten this response before.  But he got back at me, repeatedly teasing me for the rest of our lunch.  Not a problem.  I love to laugh.

It occurred to me later that probably no one needed that laugh as much as me.  I am definitely what you call “the sensitive one”.  I feel things deeply and was truly spent after that amazing opera.  Verdi’s Traviata is such a wrenching mess of a love story.  Like opera always is.  And like life can be, though gratefully not so dramatically.

Comedians are generally very sensitive people.  They are the ones who feel things the deepest, need the cathartic release the most, and so make the laughter happen.

I definitely needed to laugh after that amazingly powerful Traviata.*

*Simulcast from the Metropolitan Opera.

Photo:  Stock.xchnge

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Rx - Laughter Yoga

  Recently a new laughter club member appeared who was just diagnosed with cancer.  The wonderful thing was that her doctor at Virginia Mason Medical Center prescribed Laughter Yoga.  It’s a great new world!

Photo:  Laughter Yoga International

Monday, September 3, 2012

Thomas' Feedback

I got the most wonderful feedback from a student in a class that I was co-teaching at a local university - Laughter in Life - with Laughter Yoga.  This is from a young male college student, not the easiest population to win over:

“Teresa made the class click.  Any less of an instructor would have handled the circumstances (a room full of kids who don’t know each other) awkwardly.  It takes a special person to be able to command the type of respect needed for something as silly as laughing at the sound of vowels.  I always felt that whether or not I came to class ready to laugh, Teresa would be ready to get things started.

Often during the sessions I would think, “Does this lady ever not laugh hysterically at anything?”  I could never tell if she had mastered the art of faking a laugh to get everyone else laughing, or if she genuinely thought everything was hilarious.

Slowly I started to realize the genius of Teresa.  At first she comes off almost as a different breed of person (I mean this in only the nicest way possible.)  She made the most uncomfortable situations seem effortless and easy, and often was the source of laughter in the room as much as the activities.  Sometimes I wonder how it would have been if someone else had been leading the sessions, and it almost doesn’t seem possible.  She literally might be the most perfect person for her job possible.”

A heartfelt thank you to you Thomas!

Photo:  Stock.xchnge