Bullying has become a big problem. This book will help your child stand up to bullies, build courage and strength, gain confidence, control emotions in a healthy manner, and be happier through the power of laughter exercise. Joe and his friends are bullied at school, which makes him very sad and angry. Then, Joe sees a show about laughter yoga, and he learns how to remain positive and stand up for himself when others are being unkind.
A man fell into a large hole with no way out. Many people saw the man. Several called out solutions, and when they didn’t work, they left. Eventually, a stranger returning home came upon the hole. Immediately he leapt in, joining the man. The first man said, “Why would you do this? Now you are stuck like me.” “No,” replied the stranger. “I’ve been here before and I know the way out.” Every single piece of bullying advice found on the internet starts with, “tell an adult.” As a society, we have created this idea that telling other people our problems somehow helps. In truth, the opposite is true. Each time we recount a story of woe, we experience the pain and frustration of the original event over and over. Like any other wound, digging into it hinders its healing. Bullies, always insecure in their own flaws, look for a response from their victim. In their minds, lashing out against others validates their own painful lives. Laughter Wins is a story of breaking free. It leads the way out. It teaches us to laugh at ourselves. In this way, we take back our power. That limp or source of heartache becomes our source of strength once we fully become willing to laugh at whatever comes, including ourselves.
This won't be a sad piece, even though its topic is grief. Six months ago, my mom passed. Time ran out; she ran out of gas. Getting up today was no easy task. Except it only need last, a long moment. Reach for the better feeling thought. I miss her. But, she isn’t lost. I played her sweet tune. I swayed and I crooned. On repeat, and then, I went outside to hoot and holler about all the good things I still have that matter. Being thankful and saying aloud how this moment is new, filled with good things for me and you, then naming them off one by one: the bed, the sheets, the pillow, electric, water, and sun. I started to feel better. My focus got wider. Next on my path, I sat down to laugh, ten minutes of intentional ho-ho, he-he, ha-ha. I cried as I laughed, but then I felt lighter. It’s good to let emotion out. I can cry and laugh harder. Laughing washes the bad feelings away; I can enjoy this new day. It is fun to snuffle and shout. This is the better feeling route. Even though I miss mom so --- grief, sadness, heartache have a new ring. I can be present with pain and choose to laugh anyway, despite anything.
I used to hate musicals. I did not understand characters breaking into song and dance during the dialogue of story-telling. It's not real life. People don't do that. But what if they did? How much fun would that be? My eyes were opened upon viewing The Greatest Showman, a musical movie about P.T. Barnum's Circus. It is the story of a dreamer with the audacity to sell curious joy to a society intent on properly, drearily looking upon oddity with fear. My experience of sharing intentional laughter with others has many times been met with the same stares and jeers Barnum's performers experienced. As a society, we have not grown much beyond those days. Many times in our history laughter has been considered a sign of mental frailty. In one edition of a psychiatric manual, spontaneous laughter at an inappropriate time is a diagnosable illness. The dictionary even defines "laugh" negatively as ridicule, scorn, or attempting to be dismissive. It states laughter could be the sign of amusement or derisive contempt. How did the expression of a joyful noise become something despicable? Do we forget that in our interactions with babies we most often try to elicit laughter? Just like the circus revolutionized entertainment and Mr. Barnum had the audacity to sell joy, I suggest laughter makes a happy life.
My middle-school art teacher critiqued a poster I planned to enter in a contest. She suggested a change here and there. I took that to mean there were flaws everywhere. I refused to edit my art, was given detention, and still placed third in the city-wide fire prevention poster contest. However, I also dropped out of art classes and quit drawing. Third place did not prove my artistic worth in that teacher's eyes, nor in mine. As I look at this illustration now, I could pick it apart just like that art teacher so many years ago. However, experience reminds me that fault-finding gears me to take notice of the negatives. Once I start seeing problems, time and repetition strengthens that perspective. Life becomes a bleak, monotonous white wall of problems, issues, and mistakes. Through the practice of laughter exercise, I came to understand the power in not striving for perfection. To acknowledge that something could be different and yet, is perfectly imperfect the way it is allows me the choice to be happy with the work I produce. Satisfaction is about releasing the need for flawlessness. It never exists. Happiness comes when I can gaze upon myself and choose to chuckle at all my considerable deficiencies. This page illustrates my growth and transformation as an artist, imperfectly perfect.
The power of life and death is in words. Words are formidable, penetrating, creative. When they spark truth or question, they stick. Defending his ears with his fists, Joe illustrates the flawed retort “I’m rubber; you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.” Research tells us verbal abuse is as damaging as physical assault. Words create storylines that are lived out in a person's actions. If we crease a hundred dollar bill each time a critical word is spoken, the bill becomes wrinkled and worn. Certainly, the value does not decrease, but it's appearance is blemished and it cannot be undone. This is the power of words on our bodies. They become our predominate thoughts. Learning to laugh for no reason allows us to develop the habit of laughing at ourselves. This becomes important when criticized. Knowing that we are imperfect persons, we are shielded with the armor of laughter. Our own response of levity upends the critic. Laughter brings the gift of looking upon ourselves and the world with more compassion and love. We control the narrative. We stand not defensive, but vulnerable, open to expansion and life-affirming perspective. It is by this action upon our environment that we effect change. We exemplify mental health building up our own resiliency. Others notice and shift accordingly.
I imagined being a grandmother much longer than I pre-considered being a mom. I had my son at the age of eighteen. For me, it was one and done. He was my life; born before my being a wife. I was alone, with him I was shown the pure love of being a mother---literal life-bread to another. As he grew up, by fourteen I’d had enough. I longed for my child once small. I began to acquire the toys that transpire the life that we live today. In this new breed, this seed of my seed, all of those worries go away. For what I know now, I can't explain how, I must just say thankfully, children grow up someday. Here in the middle, I'd rather piddle, laughing my cares away. These are my grandchildren all quite nice, sugar no spice. So for the years waiting, I claim we will be playing my grandchildren and I. For what is a lifetime but a shrine to a spine that had the great fate to permeate a life line. For this my ancestors still adore us two sisters, we who perpetuate this blood we bore. From the heavens, comes in a sudden, these blessed babes I now adore. For this I am grateful, ridiculously thankful, that this book is a testament forevermore.
Perhaps the most beautiful part of this book isn’t in the words or illustrations. Perhaps it is in the birthing of the woman behind the book. It is in her becoming, the shedding of antiquated definitions of what it means to be an artist. Truly, this book was meant to be. The words fell graciously onto the page. There was no denying their destiny. This poetry longed for pictorial representation. Any writer who has been in this place of reckoning knows that to entrust another with the vision of their work is terrifying. In my case, it was more frightening to consider that this work may never be if not for my courage. We are each endowed with the need to create. It is in our judging of our talents that we artificially limit the scope of what we can become. Faced with a choice of waiting and working with another for the creation of this book, I faced my fears of illustration. Not every line is perfect in weight or composition. Not every drawing is decidedly free from defect. But these pictures, they were the catalyst for personal transformation. It is in their demanding to be that I became an artist in every sense of the word. I am happy to present with all its imperfections this poetic beauty.
If I had to name the greatest publisher in the game, I'd go back just a bit to a woman who didn't quit. In the year of my birth, '76 for what that is worth, there was a young woman, a prolific teacher of recent day. She wrote a small tract, her self-love beliefs now intact, and went about loving the gay. You know her as the formidable Louise Hay. Unable to be quiet like a mouse, in 1984, she established Hay House. From one written work, to a billion dollar publishing company with massive perks, she began with a dream, enacted a scheme, and for this I love her today. So with this endeavor, I intend to do better than just the time before. Launching my second title, I speak life to this venture and enter the self-publishing world. True, it is exercise that moves us about. It is with laughter, I shall succeed no doubt. Combine them together as birds of a feather, exhale a big shout of "tee hee ha ha" and before our very eyes, this author turned illustrator turned publisher is a master of DIY.
This is a set of words strung together and repeated in most, if not every, published book that exists in modern times. This paragraph remains relatively unchanged from author to author and resides typically on the first page of text following the title page. It occupies this important space because together these statements are alchemy; magically transformative. It is this formula that brings home a major point of Laughter Wins. A disclaimer is a statement that effectively denies responsibility for the author's imagination, offering an assurance that you need not be offended nor feel special by that author's perception of events that did not really happen. In other words, we are all here just making stuff up. That helps us remember to never take anything personally. The purpose of laughter practice is to beat away the bully that is often our own thoughts. This is best done when we remember that our thoughts create our reality. Charles R. Swindoll said it best, "I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it." Choosing to laugh when it isn't funny rewires our perception so that we can look for the positives. That becomes important as we realize we are the author of this grand work of coincidence we call life.
Oh..ha ha and hello spoken tentatively. It is our first meeting. You startled me. You see I'm the new kid. For readership, I bid. I'm not sure how it all works in this strange land. This place where my hope is to cultivate fans. I'm happy to meet you, still a bit hesitant too. This is all very new. What will you ask of me to do? Extend a bit of interest and be patient, I plead. You are peeking in upon me, while I'm discovering the "who" that I will one day be. Alas, for now, it is just me pitter-pattering the keys of an old MacBook. Until one day a story came flowing, Laugh With Me, my first book. This was the beginning, a lottery winning that brings me right here to you. I'm here as an author, a creator, I be. Perhaps you are ready to be inspired by someone who laughs freely? If that sounds of interest, there's more you will see. Just click "follow" right now and let's discover together the "who" I shall be.
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