Laughter: Transforming Pain

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.
Kurt Vonnegut

Open For Pokin MagnetThe other day I was thinking about the experiences that brought me to a place where I wanted to create marketing materials for acupuncturists that displayed humor.  I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of people who could laugh at anything.  I went to Pacific Lutheran University and roomed with a pre-seminary major.  She and our wonderful campus minister could laugh at religion.  “Sin boldly,” was often heard from her.

She was comfortable with her religion.  There were times when something struck her as funny and she laughed.  I learned that it was okay to laugh at the sacred.

After graduation I spent time working at a veterinary clinic.  It was hard sometimes to work there.  One of the vets also used humor.  The sadder the situation, the more he joked.  I remember one holiday party when the restaurant cleared around us and we were asked that if we came back next year we should ask for a private room.  Not only had we offended patrons with our frank over the dinner talk about bodily functions, but with the laughter and jokes that accompanied the worst of the worst.

I learned to laugh at life and death.

As an acupuncturist I often find that practitioners are very serious about their subject.  It is medicine.  It should be treated.  There is a defense against people not taking the medicine seriously, so instead of laughing when appropriate no one wants to laugh.  The sad thing is, from an energetic level, laughter is about the heart.  When you can’t laugh, you can easily dissolve into tears.

Laughter can move that energy of shock and horror that attacks the heart.  I see laughter as transforming the horrors of the veterinary clinic into something that manageable emotionally. For those who don’t know the full story, the laughter around them reminds them of joy and uplifts them in a way tears and stunned faces would never do.

Why do so many people in hard jobs laugh instead of cry?  Because, as Vonnegut says, laughter requires less cleaning up afterwards.  It’s also transformative in a way that tears may not be. There are times when tears are appropriate. I know that in the vet clinic it was often hard to switch to appropriate tears because laughter was such a part of the defense of protecting the heart.  However, when you could move between the appropriate transformation of horror through laughter and the appropriate tears to a horror, then the energy flowed beautifully.

Laughter plays a beautiful role in life.  Everything can be laughed at and played with.  Let’s not ever forget that.

Playing the Hand You are Dealt

I just finished The Intuitive Advisor: A Psychic Doctor Teaches You How to Solve Your Most Pressing Health Problems and read this quote which I think can be very important:

In the end, I think it’s part of the mystery of life that we’re each dealt a genetic “poker hand.” Some of us get crappy cards,and other get really good ones. But poker isn’t just about luck–it’s about learning how to play the cards we’re dealt, no matter how good or crappy they are. Sometimes we have to go by our skills; sometimes we win by shear luck; and at other times we have to have that even if we lose a hand or two, at least we’ll still be in the game. We’ll survive.”


I read this article and think it is appropo of this blog. So often we fear illness to the point that we can’t even consider what would happen. This post at Tricycle has some wonderful insights into our reactions to fear.

When things upset us, we often think that something is wrong.

Indeed we do. I think this is why we make sickness wrong, when sickness is a normal part of living. We are upset and we are fearful.

Considering Our Mortality

Sometimes I think that we it is our fear of dying that keeps so afraid to acknowledge illness. Nina Planck talks about Gina Mallet in her book Real Food: What to Eat and Why. Mallet has a wonderful quote:

Mallet writes, “a new philosophy emerged, based on the notion that death could be delayed, perhaps even cheated if a person monitored every single piece of food she ate.”

I believe that in today’s world we also think that if we just eat right and exercise right not only can we delay or perhaps cheat death we can also delay or cheat sickness. Death is inevitable. Sickness to a degree is also inevitable. If our body is balanced there will be days when it doesn’t function at 100 percent. Therefore those days that it is not could be considered a day of sickness. Why do we so fear it?

The Soul of Food

As I have gone in search of the what health means to many people I have come across many different ways of thinking. I was reintroduced to the Westin A Price Foundation and the concepts of eating locally.

Recently, I saw a post on Real Food is Soul Food over at a new favorite blog of mine. I was caught by this opening:

Real Food is old and traditional. It’s sustainably grown, organic, and local. And it nourishes the soul as well as the body.

That’s because finding, cooking, and eating Real Food is a craft. I once heard that cooking was the only art form that uses all five senses. It engages the whole person…

It’s beautifully said and I think there are some wonderful ideas put forth in this post. I urge everyone to go over and read and think about it. If you don’t eat real food, consider why. Also if the idea that cooking real food is a craft, consider why you don’t think you are able to do it. What stops you?

Wisdom in Odd Places

I read, a lot. I’ve been told this is a great trait to have as a writer. I often feel guilty because I love to read books that I can devour in a few hours. I do read quickly.

I am a series mystery junkie. As I was working on this project, I read Espresso Shot
by Cleo Coyle. In it, I found this quote, on page 261 which I love.

I did understand wanting to be perfect. I used to strive for perfection in everything–my coffee, my marriage, myself. But life was naturally messy, and perfection required far too much ruthlessness. Being human was better. Humans made mistakes and moved on. Like Nana tried to tell me years ago: eing good was better than being perfect.