We Gotta Laugh
I called my best childhood friend, actually my only childhood friend, whose love has followed me through the years and into this very moment. She wasn’t able to talk because she was at the audiologist, preparing to be fitted for hearing aids.
We had a good laugh, acknowledged that God had, in fact, created hearing aids for this very purpose, for this very moment, and agreed to talk later, when she could hear better. I hung up the phone, chucking to myself and not chuckling at all.
Hearing aids? Wasn’t I just ten years old a few days ago?
And how does one age with dignity and grace in our culture?
I don’t know about you, but I as I get older and older, I am FEELING IT in my body. I look at my aging dog’s face, so grey, eyes filled with cataracts. Me, too. He, my Zac Joe Doodle, is such a mirror to my own aging terrors.
The Terrors these days do seem too many. Let’s demystify them by calling out a few of those suckers:
- Democracy—how is that working out there?
- The State of the Free World—what’s up?
- Planet Earth—are you happy with our choices?
- Human Rights and the Arc of Freedom—oye………
There are so many potential horrors, I do believe, added into the blur of my aging, the disjointedness of retiring/rewiring/working less (does this mean working the same amount for less money?). During this week I have clearly reached the zone of TOO MUCH.
TOO MUCH AND TOO MANY FREAKIN’ HORRORS.
Folks, we have to, we must, we absolutely got to lighten up. We must laugh. In pursuit of lightening up my day, with blessed synchronicity, this link landed in my email with the cryptic message, “Watch this. Now”. I am still laughing. And laughing again. This guy, JP Sears, is a “yoga comedian”. You must, you are compelled, I am forcing you to watch this one-minute-forty-five-second clip. Watch this. Now:
Right? The pink sweatshirt. The little dance. I do hope you are still laughing. Taking ourselves seriously, especially on the path of yoga and mindfulness is a counter-intuitive slippery slope. How easy it is to think that spirituality elevates us to a special, holier-than-all zone.
What about laughter? Here is some data from Harvard Health Publications, the consumer health publishing division of Harvard Medical School, collaborating here with HelpGuide, about the physiological benefits of laughter:
- Laughter relaxes the whole body; it relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes.
- Laughter boosts the immune system; it decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, improving your resistance to disease.
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, which promote an overall sense of well-being and can temporarily relieve pain.
- Laughter protects the heart; it improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, protecting you from cardiovascular problems.
- Laughter burns calories; laughter for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn about 40 calories resulting in three or four pounds over a year.
- Laughter may even help you to live longer. A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humor outlived those who don’t laugh as much.
We know this. The only question seems to be: HOW CAN WE CREATE THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH WE LAUGH MORE?
I dare you—I double-dutch-super-triple-dare you to take on my famous Prance-o-Meter-Laughing Challenge. (Please don’t ask me about that name. I just made it up and have absolutely no idea what it means.)
What can you do today to laugh? How can you bring laughter to others? What’s the most outrageous laughing experience you can have, that you have had? Pass it on. I challenge you, reader-person-out-there-YOU, do this challenge for one week, starting right here, right now.
And dear friends, keep me posted. I am firstname.lastname@example.org
With a lighter heart,