Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


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Laughter: it changes everything.

laughterIt snowed last night. Yup. Snow at the end of April.

Hello? What happened to ‘spring has sprung, the grass is green…’?

Oh right. This is springtime in the Rockies.

Can I just say this please? Springtime in the Rockies sucks.

Ok. There. Now I feel better.

It is the weather. I cannot change the set of the wind. I can only adjust the set of my sails. And today, I choose to sail gleefully through each moment, and the snow. One nice thing, by the weekend it promises to be sunny and warm — +20Celsius. Nice.  And yup. Springtime in the Rockies. If you don’t like the weather, don’t worry, it too shall pass.

As I said to the man in the magazine shop yesterday when we engaged in one of Calgary’s favourite past-times, complaining about the weather, “It makes us hardy.” He liked that comment, wanted to know if he could steal it. Go for it, I replied. If it you helps accept what is, go for it.

We laughed together. I left carrying that moment of laughter with me. It buoyed me up. Brightened my day.

It’s what I like about the weather here most. I find myself laughing with strangers, sharing a moment of frivolity, all because of the weather.

I am grateful. Laughter is always a gift. It always feeds my soul, lightens my spirit and opens my heart.

According to Dr. Robert Provine, a neuroscientist and author of,  Laughter: A Scientific Investigation (Penguin Books, 2001), “Laughter is not primarily about humor, but about social relationships.”

When we laugh together, we create a human connection. Like smiling, that connection transcends social status, cultural gaps, economic disparities and religious differences. In fact, couples who laugh together are more likely to stay together, according to Dr. Provine.

Laughter is a primordial response. It is pre-verbal. It is contagious. Unlike a virus though, laughter doesn’t make you sick, it makes you healthier.

When my daughters were small, and even into their teens, we used to laugh together, just for the fun of it. Often, when driving one or the other and their friends to dance or some other event, one of the girls would call out from the back seat, “Mom, do the laughing thing!” And I would begin to laugh. And they would begin to laugh. And soon, our entire vehicle would be filled with laughter. Often, it would spill out onto the street, spreading to the occupants in other vehicles or passers-by walking down the street.

It felt good. To laugh for no reason. To laugh simply for the sake of feeling the joy in what happens when we share a moment spent gleefully connecting with one another.

Try it today. Laugh out loud. Tell a funny story on yourself. Share a gleeful moment with a stranger.

Indulge in laughing for no reason other than to feel the joy percolating up out of your body permeating the atmosphere all around you with that sense of elation that comes when we release the endorphins laughter provokes.

And maybe, if you laugh about it, even the weather won’t feel so grim.

It’s worth a try. I mean, seriously, you can’t change the weather so when the weather (or even life) gets you down, what choice do you have? Complain about it or laugh about it? Either way, the weather won’t care what you choose to do (and nor will the universe). But you will. And choosing laughter is always the better option when faced with a situation or circumstance you cannot change. Not only does it lighten your mood, it connects you to others and changes their mood too. And in that connection, miracles happen.

I laughed about the weather yesterday. The weather didn’t change, but my outlook sure did. I let go of taking the world so seriously and gave into the impulse to see the wonder, and the joy, in being connected to another human being in this amazing journey we call life.