Monthly Archives: April 2013

How to stay upbeat in a crazy world?

How to stay upbeat in a crazy world? How to stay positive? How to be authentic? These are the questions that come up time and again, as they did at the Penny Brohn book club last night.
The answer – it takes what the Dalai Lama calls ‘effort’, concentration and repeated practice and a revolutionary practice for we westerners is to smile more – start your day with a smile. The practice is to smile genuinely for 10-15 seconds. The key is the genuineness. If you are naturally experiential, just do it. If you’re more visual, use the power of your mind to recall/anticipate scenes that make smile. Whatever it takes, just do it.
And be on the lookout for any impact this has on your day.
‘I can see for smiles and smiles’.

laughing buddha

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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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