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.
I received the best compliment recently. It may not have been intended as a compliment; yet it alighted the biggest smile. As I thought about the words, "you only see what you want to see." I felt accomplished. I felt the value in years of meditation. I felt the reward of slowing my speech to monitor my words; every second of rehearsing and searching for the positive spin to describe situations. I felt pride. This statement, even if intended as a jab, came to me like a first-place trophy. It is recognition of my diligence. I do not look to tell-a-vision, to give me the story. I pay little attention to the programming that is channeled as doom, gloom and fear. On occasion, I come face to face with the infectious negativity, but I turn away from it. I have made being happy, healthy, and wealthy my mantra. It is my ultimate goal; a peaceful state of being that I desire most. Therefore, I am vigilant to see only that which I want to see, that which fits my narrative.
It’s impossible to stay relevant and not speak about the event that is currently impacting people’s worlds across the planet. Though I might wish to shut my eyes tight and pretend away the awareness of an illness running through society; a pandemic that has grabbed the attention of even the least aware, I cannot hold my focus long enough to wish Covid19 away. Still, I dream of the day people return to greeting each other with a friendly handshake. The world has taken a serious tone. Those who do not fear death, fear someone else’s death, and the rest fear the state of the economy to come. It’s been a great catalyst to start conversations about the hard topics. People are arguing and sharing fear, but they are also sharing hope and making a choice to value health. There’s also a great deal of awakened ones looking for light. Brilliantly, there has been an uptick in access to laughter, with many masters and students meeting up in the virtual world to stream their light-heartedness for all. It is my main desire of this event that we humans learn to lighten up. It is my hope that we face our fears and laugh them squarely into place.
I'm a recovering serious person. One of the first things I asked my husband a dozen years ago when we met is, “Are you ever serious?” I thought his lack of attention to things I considered important was a sign of immaturity, although he is decades my senior. Fast forward, and the tables have turned. Today, I find a mantra serves me well when I feel drug into deep wells of dark emotion. “Nothing serious is going on here.” Now, in the current times of unrest, I rely on that mantra more. It reminds me that the info coming to me is beyond my control. It reminds me that the monsters are not under my bed, but in my head. Except the monsters only come when I shift my focus to the negative - to fear, uncertainly and scarcity. Therefore, the most important tool I have continues to be my positive outlook. If you had met me a dozen years ago, it’s likely I would have been described as intense. Today, I’m described as light-hearted and optimistic. I write this to offer some comfort in these times. Our moods depend on where we place our attention. In other words, if it hurts to look at or think about, simply don’t think about it. Consciousness is our greatest gift.
FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. Are you in Fear or Faith? How does one know? Stop for a second and rehearse the words. How do they feel in the body? Are you in pain or peace? Faith = Light, happy, solid Fear = heavy, angry, uncertain. It’s okay if you realize mostly you just feel heavy, scared, uncertain. This is no time to JUDGE. Almost every single person is acting out of fear. Some people’s fears are health related, some are wealth related, some are even freedom related, and some people have such density that they are just now facing this fear. They need our love and compassion. I’m fact, that’s what the Earth needs most right now. It’s time to go within and make a choice to heal, to face up to who we are inside. It’s time to get back in touch with emotion and be so fed up with feeling bad that the only choice available is to chase happiness. We need not be afraid that to face our fears will keep us fearful, because it is the act of bringing light to dark that replaces the darkness. There needs to be no condemnation of others or ourselves. We’ve been in fear, and now we can choose faith! We can choose peace; we can choose our reality.
The world has entered uncertain times. Uncertainty is likely the biggest fear on the planet. As humans, we long to feel safe. It is in the name of safety that rules and laws are passed. Being bullied affects a victim’s perception of their own safety. It is a human’s uncanny ability for wild imagination in times of plenty or famine that has brought us all forward to this time and to the wonderful creations in it. Laughter Yoga is one of those things! During this period of unforeseen calamity, it becomes paramount that this time be spent witnessing our fears and clamoring to our faith. This is a moment of decision to decidedly create a better world. Now more than ever we must lighten up. Now more than ever we must choose to laugh at our fears, at our discomfort, at our situation. This is the monster under the bed, the eerie sense of doom; this entire situation with its uncertainty is exactly that great big bully called FEAR. It is time to now face this and vanquish it. There is such catharsis that comes from emitting our emotion with intentional sounds of ha ha ho he. I do hope that those who read this choose to giggle and guffaw their way to a happier outlook.
My 19-month-old grandson pulled out all the glass vases from the cabinet. I turned the corner to find him quizzically watching me. He looked at me and said, “turkey” as he pulled out a candle holder stashed away for the autumn months. I took it as a challenge; “You gonna choose fear or faith?” One reaction resulted in no one crying, and continuing to be child-like, curious and full of wonder. The other would be to react as if the glass broke before it actually did; probably resulting in some crying, and at the very least my heart rate would have risen. If I had chosen fear, there might have even been yelling. I love how they are always looking to see how big a deal we make things. I learn so much from these littles. It wasn’t a big deal. He got to learn how to put vases away. Nothing broke. I got to savor that I can always choose my reaction. I recommend playing - really engaging - with children in a, “just roll with their imagination kind of way.” We cannot be in a state of stress and choose play. We must choose play and laughter first, with the intention to flow with ease when attending to our emotional states, staying focused on happiness.
Happiness requires action. Perhaps someone exists in perfect contentment, impervious to the world’s woes, but that isn’t me. I am a responsive being. I react to situations. I have also come to believe my happiness is independent of the will and welfare of others. Accepting my own free will, I understand that I am able to choose how to feel about events. Patterns and programming have taught me a repertoire of responses. Whether these are positive or negative feelings is largely a memory I’ve attached to specific variables. For instance, if I find out I have been lied to, it may be in my best interest to feel compassion, but it may be in my programming to be offended. From that offense, I may choose an action that will feel either good or bad. This set of events (action, response, reaction) continues until a choice to proceed differently is made. If I am bent on deliberate creation of my own happiness, I begin to process offense in new ways. I may value peace, thus choosing immediate forgiveness. I may let go of my expectations and see them as they are, coming from a place of unhappiness. Consistently, deliberately choosing to feel good becomes the new norm. There is never a good reason to stay in a state of bad feeling.
Her husband gave her initiative a nod. She lives with the biggest bully to presently walk the Western Hemisphere, but you will never see her complaining. She is stoic; trained to only display emotion when it serves a purpose. I am nothing like her. My vessel is open. My container is light. I’ve come to know the lesson she portrays though. There is a price to being open and authentic, but the cost becomes the power. I find her a curiosity. Her hands are completely tied by the master of her domicile, yet she serves a most glorious purpose - that of sit still and look pretty. In that way, her life is an important throwback to the times when we felt powerless. She is beautiful. She commands servants. She lives a life of luxury. Is she happy? Even the smile that came with her husband’s nod to her wishful platform was calculated and rehearsed. She is a brilliant example of how to ignore the bully so that they may turn their tongue toward others. Yet, is she from whom you wish to take lessons in happiness? That depends. What does happiness look like to you? Start there. Find what feels good to you. For me it is organic, spontaneous, intense, hearty laughter. Through laughter practice, joy shows in me.
I believe in God. I believe God gave us one Law in particular in the Divine Order of Unity, meant to assist us like no other. The Law of Attraction. It is a Law as important as gravity, as real as traffic tickets, given as a gift of loving kindness, a visual representation of our thoughts. Many of us purport to be too busy for meditation. Many of us take our lives too seriously to laugh. Many of us are also restless, indecisive, battered by every storm, and yet we keep hoping. You see Hope is Alive. It is at our breakfast table. It is in that moment of giving thanks in gratitude to a loving, orderly radical dimension of what we call Source, our God. Prayer at a predetermined time has been the shift that saved a marriage, that saved a man, a woman; that extended kindness to a stranger. Prayer at mealtime is a reach for alignment, for strength, in thanks for grace. The Law of Attraction brings to us what we vibrate with. Seeking Source in prayer raises our vibration. Laughter is the measure of the happiness barometer. It is the representation of a Joyful Noise.
I don’t like the taste of coffee, yet I drink it every morning. Not a full cup, just a few gulps of the steamy liquid. From childhood, my family rallied around that first cup. It’s my husband and son’s favorite thirst quencher, but hardly mine. Why sip the strong brew? My best answer is: It is readily available and has become habit. I could say it warms me, enhances my mood, or gives me a boost of energy, but those are someone else’s beliefs. I’ve only heard them forty years. How many other activities do I engage in out of reflex? Probably many. In my quest to become happy, I found meditation. Many say the goal of meditation is no thought. I am happy to notice that it’s ALL thought and allow the unhelpful ideas to float away like a balloon. To create habits, there must be intent and initiative. In the beginning, laughing for the sake of laughing was foreign, uncomfortable, and difficult. However, there was an immediately noticeable effect. Eventually it has become my habit to laugh first, then address the situation. A good laugh does for me what coffee does for others; energizes, re-calibrates, provides space for meditation, and fuels my intention for a day filled with ease, and getting stuff done!
One of my favorite hobbies is belly dancing. Seven years ago, at my first class, I was timid and unsure of myself. Until then, my dance skills were akin to a baby giraffe learning how to walk; more awkward than graceful. I was blessed with a teacher who saw me and took care to encourage me. Her brand of encouragement landed me in front of an audience within a couple months of that first foray into dance. I recall the anxiety of that first performance, but I also recall that she and the other troupe members did all they could to support my attempt to learn a single dance choreography. Most importantly, the other dancers opened their homes to me for extra practice. The moves were written down, recorded on video, named and practiced over and over. That first performance will never be remembered as a fine example of my skills. But it did something for me that nothing had done before — it caused me to practice like my life depended on it. No one will read this book and have a full readiness to use laughter as a tool to beat the bully. We come into laughter exercise seeking relief. It stands to reason we will need much practice to feel competent to laugh at whatever comes.
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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