Tonight, before bath time, I was browsing through my old yearbooks, showing my son pictures of Mommy from...well...a little while ago. He picked me right out, it warmed my heart. I also glanced at the notes written by friends and classmates. They were lovely and sweet, but one just stuck out so much today, for some reason. Perhaps, because I needed to read it. I don't believe in coincidence, really.
"...don't get TOO mature. Your sense of humor is one the greatest things about you! You're awesome!"
What a nice reminder to slow down, take a breath, and laugh. I thought to myself..."I used to be a funny motherfu*ker!" And then life got serious and took me away.
Growing up a middle child, the peacemaker, I could always inject humor into anything. I had a knack for being silly when others were tense and it would lighten up the room, and make whatever problems were there seem a bit easier to tackle, or so I thought. I had no problems making a fool of myself in public. Laughing too loud. Dancing to my own music, in my head (still do this.) Engaging strangers in conversation because they seemed friendly. While adolescence was rocky, to be sure, I found release in writing...and also in laughter.
One of my favorite sensations in the world is laughing so hard, from the belly, until I can't stop and just start making strange snorting noises. Then I laugh even harder...
As we grow older, sometimes we let those laughs go. We take everything so seriously. We juggle so many things. Work, family, friends, goals, obligations...we can be overcome in getting things done, or improving ourselves and situations in our lives, or we become attached to a cause. Always going, always doing. Nonstop.
Down time is so important.
Sometimes, it's quiet peace, to sort out our thoughts. Sometimes, it's listening to music and connecting with it. Sometimes, it's reading. Sometimes, it's running. Sometimes, it's a drive. And sometimes...we just need to step back, stop trying to pretend that we're perfect, and laugh our asses off at t he absurdity. Laughter is healing, it soothes the soul, and it creates endorphins. And it helps you to get out of your head and enjoy special moments. Laughter, genuine laughter, keeps you present.
Sometimes we grumble along, in a fog, until we plunge a foot into a puddle and we're jolted into the moment. I love those puddles. "I should watch where I'm going..." And then I laugh at myself. We can take ourselves too seriously, sometimes. We can take life too seriously. Accomplish things. Be kind. Give. Love. Be honest. Know yourself. Act with integrity. Don't become stagnant. Yes, those things are all great. But it's okay to laugh, shake your head, and not know what the hell is going on. No one does, I promise you. We're billions of specks clinging to a spinning rock that floats through space. And somehow, we don't float away. I think that's awesome that I don't have to hold on to trees as the Earth turns. I think gravity is wonderful. I cloud-gaze. I star-gaze. I deep-think and then I think too much, at times. And then I step in a proverbial puddle.
I've been up and down and through all kinds of weather in the past year. Cages, conflict, ledges, falling, rising, flying, freezing, thawing, crumbling, rising again... Is true that this journey inside helped me to write the book I wanted to read, and that will be out soon, come hell or high water. Just in case it's a book that someone else wants to read, at a similar place in life. And through this journey, in getting to the core of things, in getting back to me...I've studied, I've read, I've meditated, I've observed, I've pondered, I've grown, I've become more aware, I've formed soulful connections that I wouldn't trade for any of it...but the most joyous moments in my life come at the most simple times. There's nothing 'out there,' there's nothing to fix. It starts within.
And I light up when singing silly made-up songs with my toddler about a green duck, or Mommy's foot, or about the red, green, and brown pillows. I love dancing to music until we're both giddy and fall to the pile of blankets and pillows on the floor -- breathing heavy, delirious with joy, smiling and laughing at each other, and he shouts...AGAIN!. I love those embarrassing stories with friends, the ones that you can only tell each other, and you laugh until your cheeks turn crimson. I feel the most inspired, the most lit up...when I make people laugh, young and old. I love to laugh, but to see others lose their cool and get silly...just fills my heart up. Especially, if they're really bent on being moody, and a good laugh frees their soul.
And that's something NOT to let go of.
We go through so many things, we are pulled and stretched and tried, over and over, but we need to laugh. We need to smile. Show some gratitude for the ride. The greatest gift that we can give to others, is our joy. A smile. An infectious laugh. It just might change their whole day. An honest, spontaneous laugh between people forms a bond. And that injection of fun, joy and lightness...will linger and spread. Ripples...
Being around small children definitely helps, but we can find humor in most situations, if we choose to. And we can let it heal us. A good, funny story is like a smack in the face...with love. It can snap us out of our overthinking. It can remind us of the little things. It can refresh us, give us perspective. It can cause a pure smile. It can create a moment of oneness, of celebration, of connection. A smile alone, will stimulate endorphins, which will tell your brain that you're happy. No, it's not magic...but it's science. And it's valuable.
Let's take a breath. Relax. Play. Let's get over ourselves. We're all this together. There's no competition, we came in the same way and we're leaving the same way, in the broad scheme of things. Let's enjoy the ride. We're spiritual beings...but we get to be human. Let's experience it, I say. If we're lucky, we'll leave some kindness, some empathy, some love, something unique, a sustainable planet, and hopefully, we'll leave some joy and simple wisdom for the generations that follow us. What if joy, love, and peace were what mattered most...and not the pursuit of perfection? What if we just allowed ourselves to be happy and didn't exhaust ourselves trying to achieve...always waiting for happiness to arrive? If our joy, our fulfillment, is always waiting, always in the distance, always contingent upon some set of circumstances...it won't really happen. It starts within.
I feel like I should end a post about laughter with a joke or funny anecdote...but I'm too freakin tired. Bedtime. But laugh, though. Seriously. Is "seriously funny" an oxymoron? Anyway. It's healing. You'll see. :)
love, love, love