by Arhata Osho
Apparently in the ‘story’ of Jesus there is no account of his laughter. Strange? Apparently Buddha told jokes or saw the humor in many things, and ‘just’ life – out of happiness. Because he laughed a lot, we are ‘informed’ that he’s a good reminder to ‘lighten up’ and enjoy. Positive laughter is a healer, and in it’s few forms like smiling, chuckling, and just using any humor to lighten situations as a tool of behaviors to have developed for many situations. Sometimes ‘light humor’ is a peacemaker for challenging happenings like taking the ‘air’ out of someones anger, frustration, or just negativity.
Be aware of your own laughter or humor. ‘Feel good humor’ to others is not hard or harsh, but ‘soft’ to evoke a better atmosphere. A few years ago, I had two people in my center who laughed all the time, and very loud, sometimes in talking to each other. It came across to those in a more peaceful state as ‘offensive’, particularly when they didn’t seem to be any reason to laugh. Then there is the person who laughs at half the things they say themselves – unresolved pain? Harsh laughter or humor when done often is symptomatic of early negativity, ironically, and happily most with unresolved issues don’t indulge in the ‘foghorn’ laughter. Seems it happens more with certain substance abusers.
Humor is a great gift that needs to be cultivated from the heart and that ‘light, grateful part of the brain. Kidding, teasing, mischievous banter, light sarcasm, etc., from the heart is a greater fuel for positive, supplemental interaction. Often, healthy laughter will release tensions or stress. In my ‘let go’ meditation groups in Venice Beach with 20-50 in the group, we’d have 45 minutes of laughter with the idea to ‘fake it ’til’ you make it’! Clearly, there were startled neighbors who walked by. Afterwards, folks would lie down and just watch the thoughts in meditation. Of course, some couldn’t stop laughing. A great cleansing of the mind bringing everyone into the moment. Try it for a few minutes every day for a while, stopping with eyes closed to meditate for a few minutes. Laughing will become more accessible in everyday life then.
A twinkle in the eye be it the smile of a newborn or a 90 year old enjoying the blessings of life, it’s a reminder to feel the spirit of the goodness of love, life, and thankfulness. We are all told to exercise, eat well, have good thoughts, sleep well, but it’s important to have humor in its many forms that ‘greases’ life’s smooth journey. There is a season or time to be serious, friendly, to cry, to empathize, to have foresight, on and on, but never forget to keep laughing readably available. Lightness of being is the path to enlightened love.
Four years ago, I began a professional journey that profoundly changed me. Having burned out after spending seven years as a commercial real estate lawyer, I decided to change careers and study stress, burnout and how people can build their own resilience reserves. I never in a million years thought that part of that journey would include working with drill sergeants, soldiers and their spouses in the U.S. Army.
I wanted to be part of the team working to train soldiers in resilience because of my grandpa. He was in the D-Day Normandy invasion and was forever changed by his experience fighting in WWII. Getting “help” wasn’t what he chose to do after the war, and instead his demons got the better of him on many occasions. I wanted something different for other families.
Part of my training included learning how to speak Army, figuring out the rank structure, and understanding a vast alphabet of acronyms. It was all worth it because I learned so much from the soldiers with whom I worked. Here are just a few of the biggest lessons I learned:
Authenticity is cool. I started this work with my guard up. I vowed not to let people see who I really was or know the full extent of my story (the trips to the ER because of stress, the weekly panic attacks during my burnout and more), because if people knew who I really was, the perfect veneer I had spent years trying to build and maintain might shatter. Instead of connecting with the soldiers heart to heart, I connected with them through facts, figures, and knowledge — I wasn’t about to take the risk to expose the flaws.
But then the soldiers started to tell their stories, and I got to witness their “aha” moments. They talked about the mistakes they had made both personally and professionally, friends and loves lost, and regrets they had. That made me think, “If the toughest men and women on the planet could open up a little, maybe I could too.” And then it all changed for me. Thanks to the soldiers and their spouses, I had the courage to finally step into the fullest version of my story. As a result, my mission became clearer, my writing became richer and my connections with others deeper. I learned that vulnerability is not weakness; rather, it is courage in its purest form.
Take good risks. I realized that seven years of practicing law caused me to play it safe in life. I got comfortable in my little corner of the world and stopped taking good risks. Being part of this training team required me to get outside of my comfort zone on a number of occasions. I traveled to the Middle East and rode a camel in the middle of the desert (I never imagined that this sentence would ever have come out of my mouth), acted out skits to illustrate teaching concepts, and danced in front of rooms full of soldiers (considering I dance like Elaine from Seinfeld, I nearly gave myself a panic attack the first time I had to do this — no joke). When you push your boundaries and succeed, your brain says, “I can do more.” Thanks to the push I got in this program, taking good risks has become a fundamental part of my life.
Have a battle buddy. Connection is a fundamental tenet of resilience. In the military, a battle buddy, or battle, is the person a soldier assists both in and out of combat. In the military, a soldier always has someone to count on for assistance, and I think it’s a concept civilians should adopt. My battle, Lorrie, has helped me in countless ways both personally and professionally, and it’s so comforting to know that this “bestie” exists in my life.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. When you put your life on the line for a cause, as soldiers do on a daily basis, things like waiting in a long line at the grocery store become less of a big deal. When you get deployed multiple times in a few short years and miss family events and births of kids, a little traffic jam isn’t so stressful. Getting the wrong order at Starbucks isn’t the end of the world. I gained a new appreciation of what it means to sacrifice.
Humor is a survival strategy. When I first started this work, I was taken aback at how many soldiers cited “humor” or “laughing” as a resilience strategy. Given the intensity and seriousness of the situations they often encounter, using humor as a coping mechanism seemed misplaced to me, but I was wrong. Humor is often the very thing that gets them through the intensity and the seriousness. I try to find the funny in stress now.
Lead like a solider. One of my colleagues said that we should create a hotline for civilians to call a solider in times of adversity because they are that good at solving problems (she called it “Dial an NCO”). Whether it’s creating a mobile hospital in the desert from scratch, securing a forward operating base, or organizing the mass exodus of 200+ people from the basement of the Sheraton in Philly during a fire drill (which actually happened), soldiers understand the core of what it means to be a good leader.
Connect with something bigger than yourself. For some soldiers this means God, for others, it’s a sense of spirituality. For others still, their “something bigger” is their service in the military. The Army soldiers we train live and lead by a specific set of values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage.
I helped teach resilience skills to thousands of soldiers and their spouses, and every time I said goodbye to a class, I got choked up because I saw my grandpa in every one of their faces. He would have been so proud of this work, and I thank these men and women for changing my life in the best possible way.
Paula Davis-Laack, JD MAPP, is the Founder and CEO of the Davis Laack Stress & Resilience Institute, a practice devoted to helping busy professionals prevent burnout.
7 Sites You Should Be Wasting Time On Right Now (PICTURES)
The Huffington Post Christine Friar First Posted: 8/3/11 09:06 AM ET Updated: 8/3/11 09:06 AM ET
t’s Wednesday which means we’re here with seven more websites to distract and entertain you. We know you’re probably worried about the alleged cyber-spies and the Mubarak trial, but no one’s going to blame you if you take a minute or twenty for yourself this afternoon.
As always, be sure to vote for your favorites and let us know if you come across any awesome new time-wasters that you think we should feature.
ok, you can see them all here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/03/7-sites-you-should-be-was_n_916930.html#s321071&title=Officials_Say_the