Where to start today? It seems to be a time of shutdowns, which translate for me to slow downs. Here in Hillsborough, my street was plowed at 7:30 am yesterday, which was awesome and surprisingly early. Yet, because it continued snowing for another 4 hours and because I was struck with my worst cold of the past year (which really is not that bad but because I hate inactivity so deeply, I reserve the right to whine about it), the winter wonderland outside has yet to be explored by me.
Normally I am overtaken by cabin fever in the short span of a couple of hours. I then layer my son and myself into an array of long underwear, turtlenecks, sweaters, coats, snow pants, and accessories that is as impenetrable as possible, in order to withstand the hours-long walks all over a sleeping snow town. As you can tell, I love taking winter adventures. Actually it is not so much that I love winter (I am normally pretty averse to the cold) but that I love adventure. I get off on the feeling of rising above adversity and accomplishing the impossible (classic Capricorn insanity right there). Apparently now was a good time for humble pie.
I suppose humble pie is nutritious and good for the health - as long as you can digest it without getting bitter. I find a sense of humor to be a fantastic digestive aid when dealing with humble pie. In fact, once I was helping one of my ashram mothers to practice laugh yoga in order to stimulate her immune system against her MS. Our guru passed us while we were laughing self-consciously in the woods at nothing in particular. Although the situation was awkward, he passed on a lesson to us that has stuck with me ever since. He said "We should be able to laugh at ourselves. We should take Krishna (God) and our spiritual master seriously. Other than that nothing else is really that serious."
My guru is neither flippant nor irresponsible. In fact his life could be extremely stressful as a spiritual teacher and manager of an international religious movement (talk about large-scale headaches and anxieties), and yet, he really does practice what he preaches in regards to managing stress with laughter.
In fact on his website he has a laugh movie that you can play, should you feel the urge to practice stress relief. I am proud to say that he recorded that track of himself laughing while watching a puppet show that I and a couple of my ashram mates wrote and performed. He was not necessarily laughing because it was so brilliantly done... I'll just leave it at that.
I digress, as usual, and am having a little trouble concentrating, since I am letting the laugh track play while I write... Where was I? Oh, right. Well, I really wasn't going to say much more except that while I was looking for some snow-appropriate photos to go with this post, I found some photos of Lapplanders, or more accurately the Sami people. This led to a fascinating side research project into the Sami,
Modern Sami, in traditional dress.The Sami live in the northernmost territories of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia.
Cultural digressions aside, I can say with certainty that my outlook on the world has changed after playing that laugh loop for about 10 minutes. Interesting. I may have to make a note to self to start out the day this way, especially on gray, winter weather mornings that normally seem to make it so challenging for me to find my cheerful self. I guess that is why we say laughter is the best medicine.