07 April, 2010

What Soap is to the Body, Laughter is to the Soul - - Yiddish Proverb (RAOKA)

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities

. ~Jean Houston

I have been following the Random Acts of Kick Ars (RAOKA) posts for a few months. When I read that Laurie picked “Laughter” for the theme for the month of March, I knew that time had come for me to throw my hat into the ring and participate in this project.

Laughter is a part of my life. Throughout the last few months, it hasn’t been unusual for me to note when I am not laughing enough or to hear me say “I need to laugh.”. For me, for my daughter, it is a natural part of our every day lives… the giggles, the chuckles, the smile that spreads into a laugh that bubbles straight from the depths of our beings. We laugh… we sing, we dance… and we laugh.

Laughter was a great topic for my month of March. The month started out a bit more gray and empty in my heart than anything I was accustomed to feeling. Having a theme like laughter for RAOKA gave me something to consider as I worked, walked, and traveled my way through the month. I found myself doing a fair share of laughing, especially by months end. My daughter and I found ourselves laughing and giggling our way through various states including Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky.

In mid-month I went to lunch with two friends and laughed for over an hour. We were celebrating a birthday – and what better way to celebrate a birthday than laughing? I have no idea who was eating at the tables near us during that lunch, I just know that we laughed to the point my smile muscles were tender having received a wonderful workout!

That said, I also noticed the lack of laughter around me.

I realize that I live in the DC metro area. It was March - and despite the reality that we experienced (officially in DC) no temperatures below 32F during the month of March (making it a warm month) it was still march - the last month of winter. it is that month that is filled with anticipation of spring while living through the last few days of winter. It can be a long and challenging month.

My daughter first observed a lack of laughter one evening when she noted that at her dad’s house, people don’t laugh. They “haw” or “he” but there isn’t the heart felt laughter that rings with joy or love. I didn’t think much about it given the situation and the house in question, but then I started becoming more aware of laughter, or the lack there of, myself.

What I never realized - how few and how little people laugh in my every day life. I am not sure that I would have noticed it were I not actively engaged in considering laughter for the month. But I was engaged, and I did notice.

I realize that life is serious. We work long and challenging jobs. We have responsibilities that often keep us focused on all that needs to be done now or in the future over allowing us the freedom to live each moment or note the world around us. For some it is easier to focus on the “doing” part of life over the “being.” The idea of that had me considering if we can let go and laugh if we are focused on “doing?”

Perhaps laughing isn’t professional? If we are laughing and enjoying life or the work place, people might not think we are “working” or doing what needs to be done? If this is the case, I would beg to differ. I might even suggest that laughter in the work place promotes more productivity and a healthier work environment. Just as laughter is a key ingredient in my family, it is an essential part of my work day. I will pick up the phone to call someone – just to share a laugh!

I grew up in a house of laughter.

I raise my child in a house that is about playing and being silly and laughing.

I like to surround myself with people who smile and can carry on – who can laugh with me and with themselves.

Laughter cleanses my soul, releases my stress, and lightens me the way nothing else can. It is a gift that I freely give to myself – and one that I give to those around me.

As I flipped on the computer this morning to finish this post, I considered March, my friends, my family, and nature itself (and I do believe that nature laughs and that God has an amazing sense of humor as well). Laughter and joy are everywhere in my life. March, and this theme, have allowed me to shine the light on laughter and feel grateful for it. I have chatted with friends about laughter – the 27 year olds who find themselves running through Detroit playing sidewalk games and limbo… and laughing. The 40 year mother of one and one on the way who searches out laughter in her life. My other mother in Kentucky who delights in her husbands comments. A local friend who, without realizing it, wrote on laughter today as well and its importance in her life. Friends and family all over the world who love laughing as much as I do. Laughter… it is a necessary part of my life. I ask for my daughter’s forgiveness now as I have no doubt that at some point my private and public silly and playful antics will embarrass her – but I will do them all the same. I will give her a mom who laughs and plays in the hopes that it is a gift she will take to heart and model on her own for others!

You can't deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.

~Stephen King, Hearts in Atlantis

RAOKA is founded on the idea that we can do little things to make a difference. The little things in life, the little things that we all can do and do daily – like laughter, express passion, gratitude… These acts are noted by various people in accordance with a theme chosen each month. The March theme was Laughter – April’s theme is Family. For more information on participating and RAOKA, please contact Laurie!

More posts on Laughter:

De-Stress with Laughter

RAOKA: Laughter

RAOKA: Laughter (Jungle of Life)

RAOKA for March: Laughter

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I, too, am a HUGE fan of laughter. My gosh, it just changes me. I loved the Stephen King quote, too --- just recently I had a bout of laughter that was so intense, I wasn't sure it would end. My whole body felt like it was worked out afterward. It was the type of laughter that makes it hard to come up for air! And when I thought back on that episode (shared with a friend) a couple weeks later, it's as if my cells remembered and I felt laughter rise up again! Not as intense, but it was there... Like a pat on the back.

Laugh on! I love your spirit!