“The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.” Undoubtedly, Mark Twain provided a reason to laugh that may trump all others. Having an effective “weapon” to get through times of stress, illness, loss, disappointment, any kind of adversity, is akin to having half the battle won.
Being able to laugh at traumatic events in our own lives doesn’t cause us to ignore them, but instead seems to prepare us to endure them (Psychology Today). It doesn’t blur the lines. It connects the dots. Being able to laugh keeps us going, even if more slowly than others think we should. The weapon of laughter is a core component of the sunshine project, also known as Laughter Yoga. Started in 1995 by a medical doctor in India with five individuals, the project has grown substantially. “Laughter clubs” are practiced in corporations, senior centers, schools, fitness centers, self-help cancer groups, and brain-injured support groups, to name a few. Sustained laughter in the company of others has scientifically proven health benefits.
People always need a reason to laugh, yet finding one isn’t always easy when facing adversity. Ralph Waldo Emerson reminded us, “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” Helen Keller lamented, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
I could have cried … and kept crying … in watching my friends and family fight cancer, in watching my mother battle Alzheimer’s, in coping with injuries, and in dealing with life’s struggles that will always come (and go). Instead, I chose good grief. The kind of grief that acknowledges the enormity of a situation yet empowers us to help ease painful ripple effects. Grieving that way reminds us: YES, it is even okay to laugh in the face of adversity.
For years, I have been sharing little stories to help people get through life’s toughest journeys. Seeing their pain compels me to magnify compassion, tenderness, understanding, and love. When we surround hurting people with such heart-elements, it is becomes easier for them to laugh and gives us permission to laugh, too.
Can you see the stars amid the darkness?
In sharing those little stories, I have also shared little characters shining a dose of hope in the darkness. They have given people a reason to laugh amid the tears, smile amid the sadness, dance amid the darkness, and even delight amid the losses. I invite you to peek at those stories and characters, right here in our little shop. Amid life’s adversity, we have an effective weapon called laughter. Use it often. Choose good grief.