Category Archives: laughter

How do YOU prepare for an important event?

Many years ago when I had that money-making genius Dottie Walters as my leadership mentor, she talked about one of her preparation tips for her presentations. She said that in her mind’s eye she always filled the room with pink light. After one of her presentations, a delegate came up to her and asked ‘Did you see all that pink in the room?’ In that moment, she came to appreciate how vital her mind’s eye preparations were.

Unsurprisingly, part of my own preparation is smiling and laughter. In my mind’s eye I always fill the scene with smiling faces and the sound of genuine, spontaneous, good-natured laughter. I picture everyone enjoying themselves and appreciating the experience. I also fill the room with light and dedicate the session to the highest good and so place the outcome in the Universe’s invisible magic hands. This is probably the single most important piece of preparation I do.

After I’ve done that, every time, without peradventure, sooner or later I have two further experiences.

The first is I want to run away.
I get a strong fear feeling in my gut with an almost overwhelming need to run away as far and as fast as possible. When I was 16 I once made myself physically ill, I developed a palpable stomach condition that meant I couldn’t take part in an end-of-course team show and was bed-bound for 2 days. So I’ve definitely done the fear thing. Nowadays I know it as part of my preparatory phase. I still feel that fear and it always surprises me but I recognise it as my old friend and just breathe through it.

The final experience is supreme calm.
It’s a weird and almost unnatural feeling. It’s as though I’m enclosed in cotton wool. I feel impervious to everything. I feel utterly and unshakeably still inside. It’s my final phase, like a supreme one-pointed meditation, where the only thing on my radar is the imminent event.
I think this must be what I heard President Obama refer to as ‘quiet time’, that final stillness before you’re ‘on’. You’ve done everything you can, you’ve done whatever preparation you’ve done, and the rest is just going to happen.

I find this cycle operates whether it’s a presentation for a large group, a 1-to-1 session, or even for an important matter of the heart. I experience this same complete cycle. In a funny way, it has become reassuring, a sign that I’m on track, a sign I’m prepared for the ‘event’.

How do you prepare?

www.joehoare.co.uk

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The laugh at the end of the tunnel.

The revolution is underway. It’s on television. It’s on the radio. It’s in social media. It’s happening. Yes, every day, people are being ‘turned’ by the healing power of laughter.

It’s a revolution because through nls: natural laughter skills, laughter yoga, the healing power of laughter and others, laughter is being explored like yoga and meditation. It is being explored as a way of promoting your own health, wellbeing and happiness.

Laughter used to be viewed to something that only happened when something was funny – so, nothing funny, no laughter. How sad was that? There can be long pauses between funninesses, long no-laughing gaps. How depressing.

This started to change big time in the 1970’s after Norman Cousins’ experiences (‘Anatomy of an Illness’) when he laughter himself well. The change speeded up from the mid 1990’s when Dr Kataria started Laughter Yoga. The impetus is gathering all the time – laughter is good for your health.

Laughter is especially good for your spiritual health. It liberates your consciousness, opens your heart, helps you connect and communicate better – in short, it connects you with your innate joyfulness. Your laughter becomes not the destination but your way of travelling. Taoists call this ‘laughter readiness’, ready at a moment’s notice to roar with laughter at the absurdity and ridiculousness of life, and the perfect counterpoint to crying about it?

There are wheels within wheels:

– You can train yourself to laugh more.

– The more you laugh, the more things you find to laugh about.

– The more you laugh, the funnier life gets.

– The more you laugh, the happier you become. ‘We don’t laugh because we’re happy, we’re happy because we laugh’ observed the psychologist William James. It’s a fine way of travelling.

Happy travels to you all.

www.joehoare.co.uk

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Homage to Laughter Yoga

My debt to laughter yoga is huge. My delight at meeting Madan and Madhuri was enormous. The freedom they gave me to laugh out loud joyously is priceless.

I first came across laughter clubs in 1996, in the Funny Old World section of Private Eye magazine, where I read about laughing for the sake of laughing. I was already running personal development workshops (free your natural voice / toning & overtone chanting) where people laughed lots anyway. One person came up to me after a session and said they’d never laughed so much in their life before, and she was well into her 50’s by then. So I was accustomed to the liberating power of laughter. However, the thought of running a workshop called ‘laughter workshop’ was just too daunting, so I was intrigued by this article. I still have a copy today.
I was also aware of Patch Adams, had read about Robert Holden and the healing power of laughter in Matthew Manning’s excellent ‘Guide to self healing, so I dipped my toe in and ran my first workshop in 1997. I never really felt comfortable in these sessions because I didn’t feel I had the proper response to the vibe: ‘go on, make me laugh’ – until I met Dr K in 2002.
I have had several life-defining moments in my short life, and this was another of them. I drove up to Birmingham where he was running a workshop, we met the evening before, and I just loved every second. And this was before the workshop itself where he created a space where I finally gave myself full permission to laugh fully, joyously, for a long time. More importantly, the workshop also gave me an essential insight, that last piece of my laughter jigsaw, that one piece without which the picture was incomplete – connection.
My role was not to make people laugh, but to help people connect. When we connect in good-natured & open-hearted way, natural joyfulness wells up and expresses itself through laughter. Laughter itself can cause this of course, but when laughter combines with connection, magic happens.

I was so moved by this experience, I invited Madan and Madhuri back to the UK the following year where we had a couple of fabulous days in Bristol, more training – and some real life. When he arrived at the train station (from Birmingham), he’d lost his passport. I observed ‘that’s no laughing matter’, to which he replied ‘well, actually, I think I need to laugh more’, and did. There was someone walking his talk. Inspirational.

Madan, you lit a beacon in my life for which I will always thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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