- October 12 2011 | - Read More →
really funny cartoon about a baby with separation anxiety.
i am an actress. i work at a cafe and do catering here and there to supplement my income. although i have had a few big career milestones recently, I still do not have an agent therefore, i have trouble finding auditions. i was going through a week of doubt.
there are always waves of certainty and doubt. i was wondering if i was on the right path because i felt that i was putting myself out there in so many ways but that nothing was coming back. i couldnt find an audition, an agent or a spark of inspiration.
i decided to fill my schedule with as much work as possible to keep me busy and distracted. i was booked for a catering gig, a fundraiser for a non profit organization. Before I left for the event i realized that it was for the SEVA foundation. It was being hosted by a man named mickey lemle at his upper west side penthouse. And it hit me, SEVA is a foundation started by Ram Dass, one of my idols, my spiritual inspiration and someone who has changed my life so much for the better. I learned about Ram Dass from seeing a documentary called “fierce grace,” and it just so happened to be directed by the man who’s home I was about to go to.
It turned out to be the most amazing event i have ever worked. It was filled with lovely down to earth people who were gathered to work towards a solution to child blindness in india. They sang, they danced, they told stories of their time in india in the 70’s with Ram Dass. Wavy Gravy, another friend of Ram Dass and peace activist was in attendance, in head to toe tie die, walking his fake fish. They were kind, they were grateful. I told the host, mickey that i really loved his film and that it unexpectedly came into my life and because of him i was blessed with having Ram Dass in my life. He was flattered that a twenty something year old girl had even seen his film. On my way out, even though i would have worked for free, he gave me a tip and copies of his films.
I was not sure wether i was doing the right thing, missing opportunities, playing my cards the wrong way…. but just knowing that the reason why i had a chance to come face to face with my inspiration and to have a lovely night surrounded by the best type of people was BECAUSE of the fact that i was catering, working at the cafe, struggling for money and persevering. i left KNOWING that i was doing the right thing, down to my crazy schedule and catering gigs. i asked and the universe answered, “yes you are on the right path.”
at age 13 my best friend lauren and I came across a documentary called ”the laughing club of india,” directing by Mira Nair. the film documents a group of people who meet in a park daily to exercise laughter yoga. an organized class that forces laughter because the physical act of laughing is said to boost endorphins, strengthen the heart and fight disease. in india this form of yoga and these “laughing clubs” have become very popular and can be found in almost every city.
lauren and i were fascinated with the film and would put it on and start to finish, laughed our asses off. im not sure we were culturally as interested as we were immaturely using it to make fun. however 12 years later lauren and i decided to take our interest in laughter yoga to another level.
i now live in new york city and somehow i came across an advertisement for laughter yoga in midtown manhattan. as soon as i saw it, i felt nostalgic and excited to tell lauren. we decided that we had to give it a try.
the class is free, it was in an office building and was a small room with wood floors and fluorescent lighting. there was about ten people in the class, the most eclectic group of people i have ever scene. a couple of young women, a few older women and men, and a very warm and lovely indian man, who was the teacher.
we took off our shoes and were told to get in a circle. the man told us that he would give a direction as to what type of laughter we would be doing and then we would all laugh for a few minutes and then change it up. there was the deep laugh, the witch laugh, creepy laugh the belly laugh, the silent laugh, the singing laugh. at first lauren and i were laughing so hard. its not that we were good students its just that the mix of entertainment and embarassment caused us to laugh non stop. it was that laughter that you get where you laugh until your stomach hurts and face hurts. we then had to walk in a circle around the room pretending to sweep the floor and everytime we passed a class mate we were to look them in the face and laugh. by this point i was laughed out and so i had to really fake it. i was forcing the part of me that was embarrassed to sit down and leave the brave me alone to do my thing. lauren however was losing the battle. she was red, embarrassed and almost crippled in humiliation. i could see her retreating to the outside of the circle and slowly avoiding the face to face contact. i felt for her but i was determined to get through it.
what started as a funny class was turning out to be a fight for our pride. we were exposed and vulnerable and scared. eventually the end of the class approached and it was time for a short yoga/meditation exercise. while everyone else was setting up mats on the floor, lauren and i traded glances and booked it for the door. as we walked out of the building, red faced, exhausted, shaking, we looked at eachother not sure what to say. then we laughed.
lauren vowed to never go again. and although i really didnt feel comfortable, i had to give the class some credit. i am an actress so i know that when something is scary and makes me feel utterly foolish, i should keep doing it. the class was tough and i think that what i could really gain from such a class is the ability to be silly, to be outrageously wacky and to loosen up. what can easily be dismissed as a goofball class is actually one of the most challenging things i have ever done, and i bet it would be a real challenge for most people. it would also be very good for us, all of us to do such a thing and to loosen up our grasp that we have on our composure.
so i recommend laughter yoga, to everyone. you will laugh, for sure, but you may also cry.
national geographic has an interactive blue whale site where you can learn about one of the planets largest and most illusive creatures. the more i know about blue whales, the more i love them.