Tag Archives: vulnerability

What can I expect on a laughter yoga retreat? part 1: LOVE


  1. Love.

A wise human once said: ‘Expect nothing’

‘Expect nothing’ means we approach situations open-mindedly and with curiosity. When we are both open-minded and open-hearted, this allows us to be present to what is – and allows magic to happen.

On every Retreat we go through a deepening process, of allowing layers to drop away, of stress and anxiety to ease, of allowing healing to happen, and of allowing love to expand – love for self and love for others.

In this spirit we grow, heal and connect.

Other people’s words are often best: ‘I had no expectations, I was curious but I came away lighter, freer and enriched by sharing the space with a quite remarkable group of very honest and open individuals.
I have struggled for a long time to express my emotions coherently and try to avoid the spotlight whenever possible but this weekend fostered a safe and nurturing environment.
It made me (and us all, I’m sure) feel stronger, more able to cope and much better equipped to be out in the big wide world and to share the light and laughter.’

‘To share the light and laughter’ – this is love, and being loving. We can all start practicing this now.

This is one quality we might experience on the Retreat .
Is this a quality you’d like to experience too?
(Harberton Village Hall, South Devon, 22-24th September: Booking & further details are here )
General info and videos available on www.joehoare.co.uk


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When your ‘It’ hits the fan (Hide? Smile? Run away?)

At times, we all have ‘It’ in our lives, that uncomfortable, troublesome, inconvenient piece of life that disrupts our calm or harmony.

It usually involves emotion and therefore means feeling something we’d rather not – hence the uncomfortable, troublesome, inconvenient quality.
It can appear as stress, anxiety, anger, and make us ill.
It often makes us afraid.
We’re often afraid because we know we’ve got to do something we’d rather not – face our fear, speak our truth, accept something about ourselves we wish wasn’t true.

Face it. Feel it. Don’t flinch. Embrace it.

‘The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek’ – Joseph Campbell.

Every time I see someone do this, enter their cave and face their shadow, I see beautiful transformation occur.  I see the shedding of a bit more ‘story’, a growth in authenticity, an inspiring vulnerability. I see people get stronger by owning their ‘weakness’.
To do this, we need courage. It has to be more important to do this, to enter our cave, than to cower, flinch or run away – however enticing these false friends appear.

How do we find our courage?
We all have our own ways. My preparation includes the ancient insightful worldwide tradition of smiling. I put a genuine smile on my face, feel the inner warmth this generates, connect with my zest for life, and open myself to feeling whatever ‘It’ is. I feel it as deeply as possible.

‘It’ can be a wild ride, and having set off and started, ‘It’ might take you across some jagged unexpected inner terrain. Hang on. Hang in there. When you have a pause, take the time to breathe, smile and regroup. Smile and reach in for your stillness. Keep going till the ride is over.

Always remember: the purpose of ‘It’ is to bring about self-healing, an increase in kindness, compassion, authenticity and connection.
Also remember: it’s a never-ending journey.

Smiling helps. That’s why it’s such an ancient recommendation.

‘Awakening the Laughing Buddha within’

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Connection – the joy and vulnerability of love.

Mariella Frostrup wrote recently that in her time as agony aunt, the same theme is as prevalent now as it was when she started – loneliness and connection. Although we appear to be separate, this separation is an illusion. It is a sufficiently powerful and seductive illusion that our ego, our personality-construct, can be lured into believing it is real and therefore create a reality in which it becomes true. We become arsey, brittle, sharp, full of ourselves when inside we’re crying out for help, for connection.

We create a self-fulfilling prison in which our love, our joy, our freedom, our spirit, all languish and suffer, desperate to be given the oxygen of love and connection but trapped within layers of self-created separation. It’s a freezing of the heart – inside, it’s warm, pulsing, loving, waiting and wanting to connect, but around it are layers of armoured prickly ice.

What does it take to thaw this ice?

The answer, of course, is love.

Love is a combination of joy and vulnerability. Love is the most vulnerable emotion because you can’t experience joy, full deep joy, without being fully deeply open. And when you’re fully open, you also expose your vulnerabilities. And that requires courage.

I used to think that my vulnerabilities were shameful, a sign of weakness, and therefore deeply unattractive – repulsive even. I used to think that if I showed that I could cry like a little boy, be small and pathetic, be hurting, somehow that meant I was unworthy of proper loving. I’d put on a brave face – ‘No, I’m fine, I’m ok’ – while inside I was crying. It took me many years and many tears to realise that not only was I not doing myself any favours, I wasn’t bringing and offering my whole heart to love.

To my surprise, I found that when I had the courage to express my own vulnerabilities, something warm got touched in the other person – and if it didn’t, the worst that happened was I experienced pain and shame. And pain and shame are just feelings, and like all feelings, they pass. They are simply clouds in the sky of love, and love’s sunshine burns them off.

There is a beauty and a self-generated strength in vulnerability. This cannot be known until experienced, but vulnerability has magic in it. If the person you share your vulnerability with is ready, it is perhaps the most effective heart-thawer possible. The sheer rawness of your vulnerability can give their heart and soul a lifeline, a way through their layers of armoured prickly ice.

There is, of course, no guarantee. There is never a guarantee. But until you’re prepared to risk all, reveal all, share all, how might the person you love get enough strength and trust to break free from their prison? To experience the deepest truth about love – that the more you give, the more you receive?

For this is the secret, the kernel of love – it doesn’t ‘take’, you don’t ‘lose’, there is no ‘price’. The secret is that the more you give the more you receive.

How to reach this place of courage and vulnerability? That is the heart of the next blog.

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It’s all about the love – but why?

I got drawn into a love thread last night, love, sex, lust, desire, bliss, and it’s still rattling around my consciousness. I’ve been in love almost all my adult life so I’ve known pain, grief, heartbreak, despair, lust, desire, pleasure, intimacy, surrender, ecstasy, connection. I’ve known the freshness of that first moment of new bloom, the rosebud of potentiality, the will it/won’t it, the excitement, the speeding up of the heart, the breathlessness. I’ve known the abrupt intrusion of reality, the bubble bursting, that instant transition from a some-thing to a no-thing, even when the some-thing was hot connecting delight. Suddenly a new moment of awareness breaks, the picture changes, and that perfect thing is over – because as it was, it was perfect. In its moments of existence, it was a perfect expression, a perfect communication, a launch into the unknown which just happened to have a surprisingly sudden end. Yet as it was, it was perfect, a soul was touched, and maybe deep life came alive once again. It remembered.
I’ve known the transition from intense beginnings to the plateau of the still apparently flawless loving-known. I’ve seen those first cracks appear, have beaten myself up for no longer being flawless, have sailed on and off the rocks, have been smashed hard and repeatedly and ultimately obliterated. Shredded. Pulverised. Blown into a mass of tiny sobbing hurting pieces.
And I’ve always licked my wounds, picked myself up, and tentatively at first but with increasing focus got back up, and re-entered the fray without fear.
Because love is the journey home. Love, so many things to so many people, but it brings an aliveness like no other.
When we love, we connect. When we love, we surrender our self and for those moments, which might last fleetingly or lingeringly, something else flows through us. We connect with something larger than our self. Infinitely larger than our self.
The delusion of sex is that it’s just a pleasure that passes. But it can remind us of something larger, it can prepare us for an adventure into the heart, where there’s pain galore but also ecstasy and delight. And in the same way that every ‘Om’ is connected with every other ‘Om’, including the big one, when we connect with our heart, we also Connect. With or without awareness, we connect with that creative dynamic loving mysterious impulse that underlies all life. Our own small heart renews its connection with every other heart of which we are all part too.
We remember. It’s the journey home.
That’s why it’s all about the love. For me. Love.

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