Laughter’s Life Lessons- Debbie Friend's True Story
3E Story Blogathon Post #18 by Debbie Friend
For Day 18 of the 3E Story Blogathon, Laughter Yoga expert shares her story about how she became a laughter yoga leader. So let us learn to live, LAUGH, love....
“I’m going to be trained to be a laughter yoga leader, “my friend enthusiastically declared during a phone conversation we were having. “That’s great,” I answered. Without missing a beat, she then asked, “Why don’t you do this with me?” My mouth must have been on auto-pilot, because before my brain had a chance to process what was being requested of me, I accepted her invitation. After I committed to this undertaking, I wondered what on earth possessed me to answer in the affirmative.
When the day of the workshop arrived, I was extremely apprehensive and worried obsessively about what I had gotten myself into and why I was doing this.
I quickly discovered that my fears were unfounded. The session was taught by Sebastien Gentry, a handsome Frenchman, who spoke with a very thick, sexy accent. His tone was mesmerizing and the content of his speech was captivating.
Gentry shared with our group how he had previously been a successful businessman who had worked hard and made a very good living. While he had all the trappings of what should have been a happy life, his was the opposite. Needing to find greater meaning and purpose in his existence, Gentry gave it all up, traveled to India and immersed himself in studying laughter yoga with Dr. Madan Kataria, the practice’s creator. Gentry then set off on a new path and began teaching laughter yoga throughout the world.
The lessons I learned during that training session were invaluable, eye opening and life-changing. I discovered that laughter yoga, which is a body mind exercise, teaches the body how to laugh without relying on jokes or humor. One doesn’t have to be happy, be in a good mood or have a sense of humor in order to reap the many rewards. Numerous physical, mental and emotional benefits result from regular bouts of mirthful laughter. Best of all, anyone can do it, anywhere and at any time.
I also learned so much more…about people…about life …and about how to cope with it all. We were taught that life in itself has no meaning. We give meaning to life. Happiness is a choice. Sadness is a choice as well. We all go through hard times. How we handle situations and deal with what comes our way is our decision and is determined by our attitudes, beliefs and desires. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. If we are able to laugh at our circumstances, ultimately, we’ll be able to cope with them. Laughing at what we go through doesn’t minimize the magnitude of or make light of its significance. Instead, laughter allows us to gain a new perspective and attain fresh insight into how to deal with and get through the dilemma. These powerful lessons changed me as well as shifted the direction my life was going.
Now I teach laughter yoga to a wide range of audiences. Of course, I practice what I preach and laugh as often as possible… because a hearty laugh is life’s powerful gift to us meant to be savored during the good times as well as used to cushion the sadness during the hard, trying times.
Debbie Friend is the founder and CEO of LifeCurrents, a company which promotes wellness and healthy living through its educational, enjoyable and highly-effective stress management and laughter yoga programs. Services are provided in corporations, schools, spas, non-profits and in the special-needs community. Debbie was recently featured in the book, The 7 Joys Of Life, as a contributing thought leader on laughter yoga.