Friday, October 7, 2011

Have you forgotten how to play?

I have and I am trying to relearn this valuable skill.

One of the best presents I received for my half century birthday was a coaching session with the wonderful Gina LaRoche. We met last week to discuss the deep journaling that she was having me do in preparation for the session and uncovered some interesting things. One of those “things” was the lack of play in my life. This was not a surprise to me - I simply hadn’t had time to reflect on it. Subconsciously, I had already started addressing this by scheduling a weekly half hour Laughter Club at the University. We meet in the Blackbox Theater and laugh and breathe and clap. Sometimes we dance. Sometimes we meditate. Sometimes we speak gibberish. We laugh through obstacles. We laugh through failures. We laugh through successes. We laugh for no reason at all. No matter how depleted I walk into that room, I leave transformed, rejuvenated and de-stressed.

I have led Laughter yoga classes for special events, but I haven’t, until now, been able to create a weekly practice. It is possible and positive to laugh alone, but it isn’t as powerful as a group experience. There is something about the eye contact, seeing others laughing and hearing their peals, giggles, and guffaws that transports the experience. How often do we give ourselves over to uninhibited joyful communing? The weekly refresh and refocus has started to have a profound effect on my overall well being. Is it a biochemical restructuring at the cellular level? Neuronal plasticity? Rebirth of my inner child? None of the answers truly matter to me, because what I am noticing in my life are significant increases in my laugh capacity, lung capacity, and joy capacity. Imagine, all that in 30 minutes a week.