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Valued Social Butterfly


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Since a few years after retirement, I have become resigned to accommodating my often painful degenerative arthritis in my neck, arms, back, and knees. Consequent spinal misalignment has aggravated my already horrendous posture. Such is life when you grow older, yes? Not necessarily. Maintaining the status quo is self-defeating, not self-enhancing, as I recently discovered in Chicago.

Last week, prodded by my son and my wife, I attended “Unleash the Power Within,” a 4-day marathon motivational workshop hosted by the supercharged Tony Robbins. I learned a lot about how to overcome my middling mindset and to counteract the toxins in my diet. At the same time, I could not identify with the fanatical foot-stamping, bellowing, fist-saluting tactical antics on stage and in the youthful audience. I don’t care for this kind of raucous rah-rah indoctrinating rallying. I was disturbed by the delirium, the mass hysteria that all-too-often rocked the conference hall; I only half-heartedly uttered the omnipresent mantra Yes that all of us were obstreperously urged to shout out. Such over-the-top exuberance was not my cup of Kool-Aid.

 A few days after my wife and I arrived home, I threw a few hoops at the fitness center.  My shooting percentage is pretty low, but (despite my disenchantment at the workshop), I got a Tony Robbins high in mid-stream. One of my shots hit the backboard, swirled around and around the rim, and just as it looked like it was going to veer away from the basket, it plopped through the net.  

Without thinking, I triumphantly raised my fist and yelled Yes, Yes, Yes. I didn’t care who else was on the court: I spontaneously unleashed the power within me. What an epiphany! Now I am finally energized to commit to the rigors of physical therapy, fitness training, and an organic, gluten-free diet.

 Yesterday, I came across a mass of sloughed-off snakeskin. How appropriate!



 Laughter as Therapy

In the evening, my wife and I habitually watch somber dramas on Netflix. We don’t care for slapstick comedy or satire. That preference might change after we recently attended and participated in a workshop entitled “Laughter Yoga: Jest Medicine” at the Unity Church in Atlantic Beach.

Years ago, after reading Norman Cousin’s book The Anatomy of an Illness, I was aware that rip-roaring laughter could cure someone with a terminal disease. As the presenter at the workshop indicated, numerous double-bind medical studies have determined that laughing, even jolly humming, is life enhancing; and it can help us better focus on our goals. But I never practiced the art of belly laughing to disperse the stress hormones that sometimes governed my downbeat moods, skepticism, and reactive actions.

In the past, I would easily get irritated with exuberant people who laughed or giggled.  But I didn’t feel that way at the workshop, where unrefined hilarity was all consuming. I even felt pretty comfortable indiscreetly snickering during a few of the laughing games. Only during the finale did I really get involved. Spontaneously, I made grotesque faces while I guffawed, screeched gibberish, and insanely shook my head. I was standoffish at the mammoth Tony Robbins conference, but the intimate setting at the church helped me revel in creative mirth.

Who knows? I might even begin to adore (not abhor) silly films featuring the old-time iconic dunderheads, the Three Stooges, or the zany antics of the new bete noir of comic one-upmanship, Sacha Baron Cohen.

There are laughter clubs throughout the world. Humor me; check them out.


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