We’ve all heard and know that Laughter is Good Medicine. It can be very hard to laugh when you’re feeling sad or upset. Or dreading something.
I was dreading the idea of turning 60. How old! How awful. I knew I didn’t want some party where I would have to smile about something so dreadful as being old. It’s basic life instinct to survive, it’s hardly an accomplishment, more like lucky to have evaded all the horrible illness and accidents we try so hard to avoid. So how was I to turn the awful number approaching into something positive?
This isn’t the first time I’ve employed this coping mechanism. If you’ve noticed, I used it to to adjust my whole attitude about the “holidays” and hosting Thanksgiving – even though it took me years to figure it out. What I try to do instead is choose a different visualization to focus on when something is upsetting me. When I was going through my divorce from my first marriage, when I finally figured out what to do when he yelled at me (constant), what I devised was the visualization of myself building a brick wall in front of me, between myself and him. (Described further in my book “True Love; Breaking the Cycle….) Instead of listening and reacting to all the horrible things he would say or the terrible timber of his yelling, I would instead visualize that I was carefully mortaring and building a brick wall. Walking away from him – he would follow. He would break down walls, come to public places after me and continue his tirade – no the only way for it to end was to let it play itself out. But listening to it destroyed me. So I played my trick. I looked like I was listening while I was really seeing myself building this big brick wall between us, and once it covered my view of him, I visualized his words rolling off the wall like a deflated ball and rolling away.
And with Thanksgiving, I imagine myself loving all the chaos, the more the merrier. I can actually enjoy the holiday now. So I just had to come up with something to help me think of this ridiculous number in a new way, a funny way, maybe even do something crazy. Aha, what could be sillier than a 60 year old woman doing a flashmob? It took me a whole year of planning. I did something else super crazy too – I created a Meetup group to actually recruit complete strangers. Now I didn’t get the mass response I had dreamed up, but I let total strangers come to my house. I met some of the most interesting people. And some of them were in challenging parts of their lives too and were also seeking to put a little laughter into their lives. So you can go on YouTube now and watch “Rhonda’s Flashmob” and that’s me in the front, and although you missed the opening sign, a Curly Girl magnet I had made into a canvas by the author Leigh Standley which said ” ‘There is a direct correlation between the level of happiness in one’s life and the amount of silliness they allow into it ‘ she said “I know, I’ve done studies” which inspired my flashmob idea, you’ll get a chuckle. Please share! Be inspired to create some silliness in your own life.
When you’re approaching something hard, super serious and difficult, use your imagination as if you’re trying to solve a puzzle, and try instead to focus on some thought about it that will make you smile instead. The balls deflating against the brick wall kind of idea. Something completely different from what you’re thinking about now. You will hopefully find a whole new way to approach something in your life that’s currently challenging. And in the nature of April Fools day, go out there and make a silly fool out of yourself. The idea of yourself doing something foolish or silly or imagining someone else doing just that could put the smile back in your heart where dealing with something dreadful might not seem as daunting.