Daphne and I met for our third coaching session several weeks ago. I have been in Finland since and so I am just now coming back to my notes toshare our session with you. First, here are two photos I shot off the coast of Oulu, Finland, one on my favorite places. One scene looks out towards the Gulf of Bothnia and one follows the waters of a lovely estuary winding inland from the beach. When I am in Oulu, I look out at the water shimmering in soft midnight sunlight and feel calm. I slow to restfulness and feel my mind quiet, certain that everything is okay in my world. Even today, as I look at these pictures, I feel the same quieting. In this way, as Dr. Kataria discusses in Lesson Five, the beach in Oulu has become an “anchor” for me, stimulating positive physical and emotional changes that engender feelings of peace and an awareness of the world’s interconnectedness.
For each of us there are experiences, situations, things and people that elicit strong emotional and physical reactions. Whenever we are in contact with these stimuli or even bring them to mind, we react. This can be both positive and negative. Repetition can train our bodies to produce changes based on association with certain stimuli. This is how neuorolinguistic programming works. As Dr. Kataria teaches, we can train our bodies to laugh. And we can create “anchor” movements and/or words or chants that through repeated association with laughter can become triggers for producing significant emotional and physical changes before or even without the onset of laughter. Repetition is the key.
As we discussed the “anchors” we have created in our lives, the ones we would like to reinforce and the ones we would wish to neutralize, Daphneand I agreed that we associate Laughter Yoga’s “very good, very good, yay” with an innocence and sweetness that makes it an inviting, potential anchor for evoking laughter’s positive changes. Daphne uses it just this way already, whispering it to herself as she moves through her day. I want to give it a try.
I asked Daphne if she has been laughing in the shower. Daphne spoke about her resistance to feeling like she is “faking it” or “pretending to be happy”. It is important that Daphne stay true to herself after years of pretending to be who she thought others wanted her to be. Anything “fake” feels like betrayal. We talked about honoring that concern and treating it respectfully. Daphne’s sense of personal integrity needs to be supported if Laughter Yoga is to be helpful. Towards that end, I felt that it was important to reflect, once again, upon how Laughter Yoga is about choosing to laugh from our bodies to enhance health, balance and calm. We also talked about how language plays a significant role in how we define our experiences. We explored ways for Daphne to shift her thinking, and the words she uses, away from notions of “fakeness” to thinking about Laughter Yoga as “intentional”. Regardless of what is happening around us or to us, choosing to laugh can be a loving and respectful way to empower and nurture ourselves back to wholeness.
Evoking beautiful imagery, Daphne described one way she centers herself and finds emotional and physical relief. She imagines a grounding cord shooting down her body and rooting deep into the earth, becoming thick as her hips. Through this cord she draws down whatever needs to be released. Her crown chakra opens, welcoming golden light into the cleared spaces created by her release. Lovely.
Our shared Laughter Yoga exercises included no money, milkshake and European greeting. We strained, twisted and laughed through “need to pee” laughter and argued with and forgave each other in gibberish. We reached wide with our favorite, one meter laughter. Daphne’s laugh would have me liking her even if I knew nothing else about her. It feels like an invitation and really is contagious.
We talked more about trying to shift our focus from negative anchors to more positive ones. We decided to think about this during our weeks apart. We ended with a brief standing meditation to help integrate the work we did together.
*not her real name