Have you laughed today? By that I don’t mean a chuckle…not a quick snort…not a quiet giggle…I’m talking about throwing your face skyward with a loud roar and shaking with a good belly laugh.
You’ve surely seen someone become overwhelmed with laughter — tears streaming down the face while rocking back and forth or making crazy sounds. You may think, “I don’t want to look ridiculous” or “I haven’t seen anything that funny today.” Yet, the ridiculous surrounds us every day; and so does humor, if we look carefully enough. Opening your life to more laughter can lift your spirits, vitalize your body, and brighten the lives of those around you.
No, laughter isn’t always easy to produce, and joy isn’t always easy to find. Life can be unfair, filled with pain, loss, doubt, and confusion. But here’s the good news: the great majority of the time, happiness is a choice. A choice? Yes! No matter what situation you are enduring, with determined effort and a little help, your proverbial glass can begin to transform from half-empty to half-full.
As a child, I remember that my uncle was better than anyone I’d seen at getting my mother “tickled.” After a few inane comments, or maybe a dramatized song lyric or two, Mom’s hand would move to her throat as her eyes clamped shut and her face began to glow vividly red. She would lean back as far as possible on the couch and emit a high-pitched squeak before she could gasp in enough air to talk again. It was great fun for the rest of the family to just sit back and watch those two go. What got her laughing the most were his pantomimes of their childhood experiences. I have to admit, his stories were quite funny. With all the schemes they and their siblings hatched as children, it’s a wonder any of them lived to adulthood.
Reliving happy moments from the past can bring a smile or a laugh when everything around you seems to be dark and dismal. But often, if we peer hard enough into that darkness, we can find glimmers of joy and happiness shining in this present moment as well. My intent with this blog is to seek out those sources of joy, those often-overlooked blessings, and share them with you so maybe you’ll be able to detect them in your life, too.
I laugh out loud, sometimes long and heartily, much more often than I did years ago. Sure, I’ve received the occasional eye-roll or the gaping stare that says “Whoa! You’re really losing it!” As laughter has a way of spreading, though, those around me often end up laughing along with me, despite themselves. So, when you have the opportunity to thoroughly enjoy a moment, don’t muffle it with a smile or a polite chuckle. Instead just let it all out…throw back your head, laugh out loud, and savor the flavor of happiness.