I was having a conversation with an angel the other day and he told me that I needed to laugh more… “Laugh more,” I thought? To say I was appalled is an understatement. “Me?Laugh more?” My God, I am practically the funniest person I know! I laugh at myself ALL the time. I laugh at my friends, I laugh with my friends, my friends even laugh at me (more often than I would like to admit). I am literally laughing all the time!
Oh, I know about laughter. I’ve even blogged about laughter (Please see #9 of 30th Year.)
“Laughter truly is the best medicine and sometimes, it’s the only thing you can do. Life isn’t always easy and sometimes shit happens. Like I said, sometimes all you can do is laugh.“ -Keri
I have read all the positive effects that laughter has on your brain and overall health. According to a study done at Johns Hopkins University, laughter will increase levels of serotonin, release endorphins, lower blood pressure, increase memory and learning, and reduce certain stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. (http://www.care2.com/greenliving/8-health-benefits-of-laughter.html#ixzz3lYftb2qr) Not to mention the serious abdominal workout that often accompanies loud, boisterous laughter. After all, I didn’t get this six-pack from frowning! Last, but not least, the most delightful effect caused by a good dose of the giggles are wrinkles. That’s right, beautiful, deep, and full of meaning laugh lines. I think they’re charming.
Joke #1: You are on a horse, galloping at a constant speed. On your right side is a sharp drop off, and on your left side is an elephant traveling at the same speed as you. Directly in front of you is another galloping horse but your horse is unable to overtake it. Behind you is a lion running at the same speed as you and the horse in front of you. What must you do to safely get out of this highly dangerous situation? Get your drunk ass off the merry-go-round!
Listen, I know about laughter (see evidence above)
…Well, I suppose I could be a little lighter sometimes. I often (and too easily) allow stress to enter my life. I am also pretty tough on myself. They say “You are your own worst critic,” and this concept especially resonates with me. I like to stay busy and avoid sedentary activities, and I tend to use movement as a distraction rather than a forward motion. I use such movement as a way to avoid the heavy stuff… the voices that keep me up at night curious about my future and regretful over my past. Are the choices I’ve made, thus far, allowing me to walk my true path? And during the day, it is those same voices urging me with desperation to fulfill the dreams and desires I have for this life. Yes, I stir anxiously when forced to sit in stillness and peace, and avoidance flows naturally when I keep myself busy with cleaning, running, and baking. I expect a lot out of this life and often, I find myself trying to control rather than allowing things to just be.
“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
Now, do not be mistaken in thinking that I am unaware you create your own reality, and therefore, possess great power. I believe that if you desire something in this life and want to cultivate such an aspiration, then ensure your thoughts, words, and actions are manifesting the reality in which you want to live. Just last week, in fact, I created a reality that consumed me with tension, worry, and quite a bit of stress; all resulting in a stiff, sore neck. The Chiropractor said I had two ribs out of place. “Okay,” I thought, “that explains a lot.” Follow up that stiff neck with a broken toe forcing me to stop running, slow down, and listen to the stillness.
Okay, Universe, you have my attention.
So, as I sat at the doctor’s office finally giving attention the heavy stuff, I recall a vow I made to myself on New Year’s Day of 2015. I swore that I would begin the process of “lightening my life” (and yes, it is a process for me). Initially, I began this task through a focus on the physical body (this tends to be a pattern for me). I removed clutter from my house, went through my clothes and shoes, started carrying less items to work, and committed to cleaning out my car every two weeks. I also addressed several relationships in my life. I thought about which relationships I valued and were serving me, and those of which were not and needed to be let go.
Let go, be still. Be light.
After I cleaned out, sorted through, and removed much of my physical clutter, I had a conversation with a friend that brought to light a realization. I was not aware the weight I frequently carry around in my heart and life. The density of the stress and pressure I put on myself wrapped around my body like a scarf during a winter storm. I carry this weight, not only for myself, but also for others, because of how deeply I care for the happiness and well being of those closest to me. As it turns out, the avoidance techniques that first allowed me to physically and concretely rummage through my life brought enough clarity and space so that I am presently able to chip away at the deeper parts. Don’t worry though, I can laugh and chip at the same time.
Joke #2: Late one night a burglar broke into a house and while he was sneaking around he heard a voice say, “Jesús is watching you.” He looked around and saw nothing. He kept on creeping and again heard, “Jesús is watching you.” In a dark corner, he saw a cage with a parrot inside. The burglar asked the parrot, “Was it you who said Jesús is watching me” The parrot replied, “Yes.” Relieved, the burglar asked, “What is your name?” The parrot said, “Clarence.” The burglar said, “That’s a stupid name for a parrot. What idiot named you Clarence?” The parrot answered, “The same idiot that named the Rottweiler Jesús.”
Perhaps all the angel was trying to tell me is to laugh at myself more often. Life is not meant to be as scary and complicated as we (I) tend to make it, and as I sit here writing this blog, or rather voice recording it to my phone while driving, I wonder if the (my) angel is giggling at me. I can almost hear his boisterous laugh and see his deep and full of meaning laugh lines. Then again, he could also just be smiling because he knows he can never possibly be as funny as me.
Let go, be still. Be light.
For more laughter in your life, I have found a website that includes “funniest movies of all time.” You’re welcome in advance.