Tag Archives: love

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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What can I expect on a laughter yoga retreat?


‘Laughter yoga with Joe’ is about the journey back to joyfulness. We are all wherever we are on our own life curve, dealing with whatever we’re dealing with, experiencing whatever we’re experiencing.
Wherever we are is the perfect platform for our next step – and all we can ever do is take the next step, one at a time?

What if we can do this with lightness, joyfully? With zest for life?


Strategically, spiritually, on a soul level we have a yearning to return home. Inside us, that warm, loving, kind part of us yearns to connect, to reach out and communicate warmly with our fellow humans and beyond. So often our history, our ‘story’, gets in our way and hampers us. Sometimes we’re afraid, afraid of our ‘shadow’ or just afraid.
What if we can just march straight through our ‘story’, enjoying the journey and so focused on the joyfulness that it provides us with the energy to become more joyful ourselves?

How can we do this? The secret lies in the present, experiencing the NOW.
Start here & now by dropping your shoulders, taking a deep breath, putting a small warm genuine smile on your face, and breathing out slowly while keeping that genuine smile alive.

‘Laughter yoga with Joe’ is a very NOW experience in which we use all the resources we have, often discovering we have many more than we previously realised.

On a Retreat, we laugh, sing, dance and play. We explore lightness and joyfulness. We breathe & relax, and are quiet & calm.
We have space and permission to be free and spontaneous. In a safe and permissive space, we allow and welcome all emotion.

In this warm, generous and spacious way we practice being present, in the NOW. This is where the magic happens.



Hawkwood College laughter yoga retreat


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The challenge is to live

This lovely quote comes from a recent interview Howard Jacobson with Clive James.

Inside us all is the fire of life. It is our uniqueness, our own gift to the world. It is the person inside us who wants to break free, to rise to life’s challenge, live life fully on our own terms and live our life’s purpose.

Are you clear about your own life purpose? I am 100% clear about mine. 2013 July 15th 011

I’m here to cheer people up, to spread good cheer, to help us all access that place in ourselves where we say ‘I feel better’.
‘I feel better’ is the most common response when I ask people how they feel when they laugh, so I encourage everyone to laugh, live and find their inner ‘taa-daaah!’

Just imagine the whole world, all 7 billion of us, experiencing ‘I feel better’?

I’ve made so many mistakes and my teachers include surviving suicide, 18 months of insomnia hell, financial catastrophe, and dealing with Fear, stress, anxiety, depressed spirit and more.
The result is I know about pain and suffering and how to come through it. I’ve written about it (‘Awakening the Laughing Buddha within’) to give people hope, courage, and practical tips.

I know that the safest course is to take the risk and live because as we’re all going to experience pain and suffering anyway, let’s make them worthwhile? Let’s punctuate the in-between spaces with celebration so we enjoy them as fully as possible?
Let’s fill them with warmth and kindness?
Let’s reach out and help others when they’re down?
Let’s emit our own ‘taa-daaah!’ as much and as often as possible and make the ride worthwhile?

‘The challenge is to live.’

There are many ways to find your own fire, your life purpose. These include practicing getting out of your own way.

  • Develop the practice of just being – ‘sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit’ (attr. Mark Twain).
  • Practice mindfulness to develop your awareness and inner peacefulness.
  • Develop your inner smile. Learn to access your inner joyfulness with nls: natural laughter skills & laughter yoga practices. Use their smiling and laughing techniques to access your zest for life.
  • Remember to use your body, and not just your head, to experience life.
  • Take the risk to feel.
  • Take the risk to be open and non-judgemental, and to reach out to share heart-felt experiences with fellow human beings.

Your benefits will include greater wellbeing, and a healthier, happier, more productive, more love-filled life.

May my own experiences help you.


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‘Be impeccable with your words’ – do yours matter?

Because I recently heard don Miguel Ruiz being interviewed by Phil Cartwright, I became interested in his book ‘The Four Agreements’. I then came across don Miguel Ruiz again, this time being interviewed on Oprah, and agreement no. 1 is ‘Be impeccable with your word’.

Yes. Oh yes. This is a path to happiness and delight, whereas lying rots the soul.

I still squirm inside when I recall a huge bare-faced lie I told my father many years ago after I’d been expelled from Eton. I was supposed to have no contact with any of my mates there but of course I did, and was found out. Thinking on my feet, I concocted a cock-and-bull story about how I was trying to warn them not to make the same mistakes I’d made (when in fact I was wanting them to carry on making them, and to be sure to keep including me).
Because my father loved me, he chose to believe me, and every time I heard him backing up my story, I died inside a little more. Even now I squirm, feel the tinge of shame. It was not my finest hour, he says, breathing deeply through the shame.

I now use my words with care.
The reason I am so careful now about what I say and commit to is because to me, when I say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, I feel I am committing my whole life. 100%. Nothing less. My own words put me on the line. My own line. I am my own defence and prosecution, my own judge and jury. There is nowhere for me to hide.
My words are not transitory sounds on the waffling waves of life – on my own personal timeline they represent me, ME, my energetic reality, my Truth. Indelibly. Even if everyone else has forgotten them, I still remember.
And I know ultimately there is a reckoning, my own reckoning, I need to face.

When I lie (which, yes, peeps, I have been known to do 🙂 🙂 🙂 ), when I tell a bare-faced lie, I feel ill. I feel my being going into recoil with distaste. It is an extremely unpleasant feeling, it is self-abusive and it is a toxic bomb going off in my deepest me. It is horrid, and it diminishes me, and takes a lot of breathing through. I’ve already got a shedload of lies I need to be at peace with, at Truth with.
I don’t want to make this any harder than it is already going to be.
So now I tell as few lies as possible, as seldom as possible, to myself and anyone else. This also means behaving in as Truthful a way as possible because you don’t to have to tell a lie if you don’t have anything to lie about.

So when I tell you ‘I love you’, or ‘Yes’, or ‘No’, I mean it. I am putting my whole being on the line, and I welcome you here.


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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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Planning – for love? Or to make the gods laugh?

Plan is a four-letter word. All four letter words have an energy about them. I find it good to remember that. My father planned to marry once, forever. How the gods must have chuckled when they heard that for he ended up married three times, divorced twice.

So, who has ever lived the life they planned? Who has lived a day they planned? What is your plan for?

Mine is to experience and expand love.

I find it helpful to remember sometimes that a plan is based on an intention. It is a step between intention and action. Its purpose is to get us towards a specific destination and a specific set of outcomes. It is there to move us in the right direction and give us a quality of experience – but it is not the destination itself.

I remember once I was out walking with a friend in the wilds of Rannoch Moor. Places in the UK don’t come much wilder than there. It is open, raw, untamed and therefore utterly beautiful. Consequently it speaks to those qualities in us, those qualities that make us feel alive and on the edge. It is one of those places that give you a sense of your significance in the universe, how small we are and how vast it is. It’s a land version of the open sea. It speaks to our soul.

We planned to reach a particular peak and after walking an hour or so, I felt it was time to go back. I had experienced all the qualities I was looking for, the exhilaration, the aliveness, the physical exertion, the soul connection. All the important things had been achieved so on the basis of this new level of experience and information, I felt it was time to revise the plan go home. We had a quick chat, and that’s what we did. Body exerted, heart opened, soul enlivened, the plan had achieved its purpose. Mission accomplished.

I still remember it all vividly. What I took from that experience (and endless others) is the importance of not letting a plan be a compulsion.

A plan is a course of action based on current information, so when the information changes, the plan needs to change too. If it doesn’t it is no longer an effective means of delivering the quality of experience you want. Instead of satisfaction and elation you start to experience frustration, hurt and disappointment. You start to become a prisoner in your own self-created prison.

It can be hell.

What’s the alternative?

I find it wonderful to revise my plans frequently when new information comes in, when new things happen, when the unexpected pops my soul open and says ‘hello’. I make a point frequently of checking my plans still feel right. I sit still, listen for my intuition, tune into the feeling of the plan and make adjustments based on that.

The more I sink into and attune myself to my soul’s purpose, the more I find my plans are guided by love. The more I find them guided by love, the easier I find it to revise them, because to revise them is to allow more love in. With more love, the plans get better. I’ve become a diligent plan-reviser.

I love more love. Don’t you?

So, got any good plans?

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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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