Saturday, December 3, 2011

Laughter Really is the Best Medicine

Back to my blog home page:

Laughter has been a theme this week!

I stop in to talk with my one of my favorite residents, Bertie, and she is sitting in the hallway with her best friend, Nan. They share the same last name; however, they never met until they ended up living in this nursing facility.

I squat down to be at their eye level. A smile is all they need. Bertie reaches out to take my hand.

"How are you doing today?" I ask. I know she struggles daily living in this nursing facility where there are so many people with cognitive impairments. She is as bright and clear minded as can be. A real intellectual.

"I'm okay, Tre."  She points to a paper on a tray next to her wheelchair. It's a watercolor. "Nan and I worked with paints today."

She describes what she thought when she painted the picture, then she steers the conversation to Nan. "Nan's really the one with the talent. She is full of creativity. She gives me inspiration!"

Nan smiles and looks at us. "I supply the laughter, too! You know...." and then,

"if you don't laugh, you might as well go to hell!"

It is the way she says it that makes all three of us burst out laughing. They tell me I sound like Betty Rubble from the Flintstones when I get really tickled. It's not the first time! All this laughter ends the day on a positive note.

The next day, I'm working with Marge. She has major cognitive impairments to complement a strong obsessive-compulsive disorder. To top it off, she has fallen, broken a hip, and now she is just strong enough to want to stand up on her own. She's what we call a "high fall risk."

She has pulled a condensed Reader's Digest off the shelf in the sun room and wrapped it in a towel. Who knows why. When she wheels down to the gym to meet me, she hands it to me.

I open the towel, turn the book's spine to read the titles and tell her, "You know, Marge, my grandma used to have these. We'd read them during our summer vacations at her house in southern Missouri."

I open the book. Out falls a Celestial Seasonings magnet. How it got there, I have no idea.

The most wasted day
is that in which
we have not laughed.
Sebastien-Roch Chamfort

Another nice reminder! You know, life doesn't have to be easy to laugh. The best situation is to laugh with someone you love, even if you're struggling with life.

In your toughest times, though, just force yourself to laugh.  Really.

I've been there before. Have you? 

Have you ever laughed when you're alone until you can laugh no more? It frees you up, untangles something inside of you like a knot you thought could not get straightened out.

There are laughter yoga classes and videos all over the internet.

I found this short video clip on YouTube called Laughter Yoga Steps by madankataria. By the end, you cannot help but laugh. It's very joyful!

My message today is simple.
Lighten up.
Feel joy.
Laugh at small things until it bubbles over.
Let go and really feel it in your belly!

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