Most Sunday mornings find me at one of my interfaith communities, called Circle of Miracles. If you have read The Bliss Blog for awhile, you know I speak about it often since it so nourishes my heart and soul. What I love most about it, is that it is a welcoming haven for people who walk diverse spiritual paths. Today was a ‘can’t miss’ because my dear friend Peter Moses was the ‘speaker/spark’ as we refer to the person offering their insights. It occurred to me as I sat mesmerized by what he was sharing that we met 11 years ago around now. Witnessing him today was kind of like watching your child on stage shining brightly. We had co-facilitated workshops together for a time and although he was energetic and engaging, incorporating music and play, he has deepened his presence and his presentation; mellowed and matured. There was a new groundedness to him that I recognized. Part of it, I imagine was becoming a father for the 5th time 2 1/2 years ago to a darling boy named Shane who has become his later in life teacher; having raised his older 4 children to adulthood.
Peter spoke on the idea that we are life itself. He is big on recognizing the idea that we are not our thoughts, our stories, our pain, but they sure can have a field day with us as we move through our days. Galloping thoughts can scoop us up and run away with us before we can even say “Whoa Nellie!” One of the doorways that lead us through the other side of mind chatter, is play and song. Peter is a master of both. He is a kids’ ‘edu-tainer’ and today his audience were all kids in adult bodies. He had us standing up and doing the Banana Song which involved hand movements, becoming various fruits including bananas and oranges. Peals/peels of laughter ensued.
Immediately after the service, I headed to the office of another friend; chiropractor, Dr. Susan Burger. In celebration of World Laughter Day, she led a workshop that incorporated humor, laughter yoga, a movie entitled What’s In A Smile? by Andy DeJohn . One of the coolest experiences came from a workshop she had just attended taught by comedian turned inspirational speaker Kyle Cease. The techique called Kylegoing and came from an ongoing dialogue Kyle had with his friend Diego and so the title combines both their names. I like the sound of it kyle -leggo-ing, because it reminds me of leggos as we put together pieces of our dreams. It is a verbal vision board that has the participants speaking about what it is they desire to manna-fest from the perspective of it already having happened. We stood up in front of the room and waxed enthusiastic about our dreams and visions. I had such a blast speaking about mine which includes writing and speaking internationally and being abundantly compensated, with money to share and donate, spend and save willingly and gracefully, being on the road with my many books, sharing a life of bliss with my Life Partner. I have to tell you that it felt like it indeed had already occurred. I am committing to this excercise daily either with myself or others. I already do it in some form anyway, so let’s up the amps!
As the day is coming to a close, having just come back from the gym, gazing at the Super Moon, plus one night, I am feeling filled to over-flowing with the blessings of love, life and laughter~
Wishing you the same….
http://youtu.be/2EGTETc5oFU Laughter Yoga video
Imagine a healing force that is fat free, calorie free, cholesterol free, portable, ageless, timeless, one size fits all. It doesn’t require a prescription, but IS habit forming, even addictive. Would you want it for the rest of your life? I certainly would and it is an experience I engage in multiple times a day. It’s laughter. It is something that children don’t think twice about and is as natural as breathing.
The first Sunday in May is celebrated as World Laughter Day and folks are invited to join with other ha-ha-ing humans in gatherings near and far. According to the official website:
“World Laughter Day was created in 1998 by Dr. Madan Kataria, founder of the worldwide Laughter Yoga movement. The celebration of World Laughter Day is a positive manifestation for world peace and is intended to build up a global consciousness of brotherhood and friendship through laughter. Its popularity has grown exponentially with that of the Laughter Yoga movement now counting over 6000 Laughter Clubs in more than 65 countries.”
I grew up in a goofy family who would make up silly names for things, offering terms of endearment for each other, and other family memebers and friends. Laughter in the Weinstein household flowed as freely as the water through a running river valley. It is part of what sustained us through challenges and is a loving legacy my parents left me. My friends are funny people too; sometimes even punny people whose comments cause groans and eye rolls. I work in an environment in which humor is essential to keep me ‘sane and vertical’. When I teach workshops and classes, I give out purple feathers to remind people to lighten up and “tickle your fancy, or whatever else you have in mind.” I have an alter ego named Feather who is a faerie-clown who was given birth during a particularly challenging time in my life about 15 years ago. Laughter was a healing balm for my emotional wounds.
My initial experience with Laughter Yoga came when I was introduced to Jeffrey Briar who had been practicing and teaching yoga for years and had made his living from acting. Now he makes his life out of laughter. He came to the Delaware Valley to teach a workshop that would train other folks in this mahvelous modality. I was only able to attend the Friday night intro, but my friend Peggy Tileston completed the training and now offers classes in the Philadelphia area for silly souls who want to think and play outside the box. I have attended a few Laughter Yoga sessions and have felt the residual effects for days afterward.
According to The American Journal of Medical Sciences, Alternative Therapies, Psychology Today,The Scientist of the University of Maryland Medical Center (as cited in The Orange County Register)
Enhances the immune system
Reduces blood pressure
Increases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers
Improves lung capacity and oxygen levels
Provides a massage for internal organs
Is contagious, like yawning
May help prevent heart disease
I can vouch for many of these benefits and I’m sure you can as well. What tickles you? Comedy shows and movies? Comic strips? Humorous books? Jovial jokes? You can tell when you are around people for whom laughter is their life blood. They just glow from the inside out.
Take a look at the websites listed below and find some time on Sunday to join with other merry-making, chuckling, guffawing, mirth-filled, tee-hee-ing, peals of laughter people. Imagine a world in which laughter brought us all together.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOMqqI-kzHY I Love To Laugh from Mary Poppins
A few weeks ago, I saw this photo of these two darlings and couldn’t help but smile at the juxtaposition of expression. The little girl actually reminds me of my friend Georgetta who views the world with heart and eyes wide open as she takes it all in and then scatters the love back out. Now, keep in mind that she is a grandmother, therapist, addictions counselor, who in close succession completed her under grad, grad and doctoral studies while holding down a full time job in a psychiatric hospital and caring for her elderly and quite delightful mother who recently passed. She would regale us with “Lola stories” that kept us smiling broadly too. Georgetta lives her bliss. The little boy is no less blissfilled, just experiencing it perhaps in a quieter more introspective manner.
We are taught that bliss looks a certain way, with a yahhoooooo-jumping-up-and-down-like-a-kid-on-a-pogo-stick energy, when it can also be still and silent. Some of my most bliss-filled experiences have come when sitting in meditation, walking in Nature, engaged in yoga practice or eye gazing with a Beloved. I invite you to take a moment and recall a blissful experience; perhaps in the presence of someone else, or solo. Make it full sensory, as you touch, taste, smell, hear and see everything around you. Drink it in….sluuuurrrpp…. Where are you feeling the sensations connected with your full immersion? Allow the physical and emotional to merge so that you don’t know where each begins and ends. Now carry that with you throughout your day. Any time you are tempted to find yourself (or lose yourself) becoming distracted, overwrought or frustrated, tap into the well you have just filled to overflowing with refreshment.
Make a Bliss List. What items, experiences and people are on it?
Dancing, drumming, singing, reading, writing, yoga, working out,listening to music, meditation, chanting (kirtan), time with loved ones, exploring nature, chocolate, travel, massage, attending and teaching transformational workshops, connecting with kindred spirits, learning new things about life, the universe and everything.
Joseph Campbell encouraged all to “Follow your bliss.” I invite you to BYOB-Be Your Own Bliss…your style, your way, ever evolving in exquisite spirals of light and color, out into the cosmos~
http://youtu.be/LF-HquxImgg Follow Your Bliss by Bryan Rason
This photo tickled me when it showed up in my message feed this week on Facebook, for many reasons. One is that it quoted my friend and inpsiration, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He knows first hand the power of love and the investment of heart and soul into embodying its essence. The other is the beatific look on the face of the person who is wafting about from heaven to earth. Many years ago, if that were me, the look would have been one of panic, feeling as if I were in free fall rather then free flight. These days, I am trusting more often that even when I take physical and emotional leaps of faith, the safety net of Spirit is there to catch me.
Each day, we all take risks…heck some days, just getting out of bed feels like a daunting task as the inner child whines…”Do I hafta get up? Can’t I just stay under the cozy covers for a bit longer?” I have found that there is always some delight awaiting me when I do put my feet on the sky blue carpeted floor for the first time each morning. It could be the sound of the birds serenading me awake, the dappled sunlight through the curtains, leaving patterns on the closet door. It could be remembering how blessed I am to have such wonderful, loving friends and family and exciting adventures to persue. I set challenges before myself, to be more mindful, rather than mind-full (like an overflowing sink full of dishes…maybe that’s why I always make sure my kitchen sink is empty of them before going to bed…ask my son:) . I open my heart to allowing love to move through, without impediment. I meet new people every day, because I know how much we enrich each other’s lives. I expand my horizions, thinking outside the box. I offer love as if chocolate on a plate. Some people, believe it or not, don’t like or desire chocolate.
Yesterday was Global Love Day and I decided to give out heart stickers. The first batch went to the tellers at the bank when I went in to do business. They smiled with delight and asked if they could keep me there yesterday. On my way out the door, I offered one to a man who was walking in, and although he smiled, he politely declined. Offering love can be risky too, since the thought of ‘what if they say no?’, can accompany it. I have learned that receiving a ‘no’ isn’t a rejection of me and doesn’t need to disempower me in any way. I can keep on offering and see what happens. At my job as a social worker in a psychiatric hospital, I continued to scatter the hearts, giving them to my co-workers. To a one, they all said yes. One of the docs took two; one for each of her children. People put them on their clothing and badges. On my way out the door, I tucked a few stickers under the windshield wipers and in the door of the car of my friend Peggy since I didn’t have any in my pocket to give her when we saw each other at lunch time. One of the psychiatrists saw me by her car, and asked what I was doing. I assured him that I was ‘vandalizing with love’ and gave him a few as well. He walked away smiling.
So were they great achievements? Not in the grand scheme of things. Were they risky? Not much. And yet, we may never know the impact of our actions on the lives of folks whose paths we cross. My growing edge and yours might look different. Some of my emotional bungie jumping risks involve putting my creative work out there for all to see and critique, to ask for what I deserve in terms of compensation for my work, to stand on stage and share what I have learned over the past 53 years. One of the most challenging risks is acknowledging my struggles, since I want it all to look effortless…at least my ego does. I know how blessed I am, so often I have dialogues with myself that sound like “What the heck do you have to compain about when you have so much?” and then I hear the voice of friends echoing in my ears…”Stop being so hard on yourself!” That’s when self compassion takes the wheel and the words “Sweetheart, you have just as much right to kvetch as anyone. Just don’t stay there.” That’s when I can move from ‘oy to joy’ by remembering how I have safely landed after every experience I have had.
What risks are you willing to take today to allow yourself to enjoy the excitement of free flight? Happy Landings! <3
http://youtu.be/UF5V2PEujqs If I Were Brave by Jana Stanfield