Archive for June, 2008

11 Benefits of Letting Go of Fear and Control

June 28, 2008

Adapted from The Path to Love, by Deepak Chopra.

The key stances in letting go of control are all forms of allowing:

Acceptance, tolerance, non-resistance. Needing to control life, either yours or anyone else’s, is based on spiritual desperation. Look at your interaction with your beloved and honestly confront any fear-based behavior you are exhibiting. When control is ready to loosen its grip, a definite relaxation takes place. The following changes will often be in evidence:

1. You stop measuring people by whether they live up to your expectations. You begin to resist the urge to correct their mistakes and give unwanted advice.

2. You lessen your habit of taking care of others without really caring for them.

3. You become tired of trying to keep track of every detail in your life and bored with people who have always given in to you.

4. You begin to listen to objections and disagreements instead of using them to trigger your own opinion.

5. Unexpected emotions come to the surface. This usually arouses self-criticism because you can’t control your feelings anymore as you once did. At another level, however, this eruption of emotions comes as a great relief.

6. Your impatience begins to lessen. You stop living according to the clock.

7. You take stress seriously, no longer believing that you thrive on it.

8. You begin to listen to your body, which has all along been giving you signals of tightness, fatigue, contraction, and over-stimulation.

9. Your mind gives up calculating every move in advance. Some room is made for spontaneity.

10. You stop holding grudges and remembering slights. Resentment begins to be replaced by tolerance.

11. You quit setting external goals for yourself and believing that achieving these goals faster, better and more tirelessly makes you a good person.

 

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Rippling And Tipping

June 28, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

A snowball at the top of a mountain has the potential to become huge, just by rolling down the mountain and gathering more snow. In a short time, this tiny snowball can become a force to be reckoned with. We humans are like this when it comes to exchanging energy and vision, and no matter how few people are involved at the beginning, there is the potential for massive change. As consciousness seekers, we are in the midst of this process, and it is amazing to see people we thought might never come around, waking up to their truth. Each time we see this, we can count ourselves blessed to be living at a time when the awareness of humanity seems to be at a tipping point, as more and more individuals open their minds and change their ways.

For some people, this revolves around an awareness of the environment, for others it is a spiritual awakening, and for many it is both. A great change in consciousness is sweeping through us all, as we recognize that things are not what they have seemed to be, that there is more to our lives than meets the eye. Many of us have the awareness and the energy at this time to break through old, outmoded ways of seeing things and to move into a new way of being in the world, and it is essential that we do so. The beauty of living at this time is that even small actions have a powerful ripple effect, and the reverberations of what we do have the power to reach and open many minds.

It is as if a scale is about to tip in favor of higher consciousness, and each one of us has the power to bring humanity closer to that point with the smallest of actions. Each time we move in the direction of our dreams and visions, we can visualize another small pebble dropping into the pond, or another gold weight on the scale, rippling and tipping our way to universal awakening.

Fresh Mind

June 27, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

There is a lot of information available to us at this time in history, more than ever before, and it travels fast. We are able to learn in the blink of an eye about something that happened halfway around the world, and it’s natural for us to want to know what’s going on. However, it’s also fair to say that we don’t want to become so caught up in one way of looking at events that we lose perspective. Often, the news comes to us in a very fear-oriented format, and when too many of us get caught up in fear, the balance of the whole is disrupted. It helps to remember that we have a much greater and more positive impact on the world when we maintain our inner sense of peace and joy.

We are aware enough to know when we are eating something that is not good for us, because we don’t feel well after we’ve eaten it. In the same way, we can determine for ourselves whether the sources in which our information comes are ultimately healthful. News can be presented in a way that inspires us to take positive action to help the world, or it can be presented in a way that leaves us feeling powerless and sad. It is up to us to seek out and support media that empowers and informs us, and to say no to media that drains our energy and our hope.

For a time, it may even be of benefit to commit to a media fast, in which we stop taking information in for a time to give ourselves a rest. When we return to the task of taking in and processing the information all around us, we will come to it with a fresh mind. This will enable us to really notice how we are affected by what we hear and see, and to make conscious choices about the sources of information that we allow into our lives.

Hovering Around The Sun

June 26, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

It’s funny to imagine our lives as something we spend a lot of time avoiding, because it seems like that would be impossible to do. Our lives consist of everything we engage in, from showering to sleeping, but also a lot of busy work that distracts us and keeps us from looking at our lives. Experiencing our life from the inside means taking time each day to simply be alone and quiet in the presence of our soul. Many of us are so out of practice that it’s almost unnerving to have a moment to ourselves. As a result, we may have stopped trying to carve out that time to take a seat at the center of our lives.

One of the reasons it can be uncomfortable to sit with ourselves is because when we do, we tend to open ourselves to an inner voice, which might question the way we’re living or some of the choices we’re making. Sometimes the voice reminds us of our secret, inner yearnings, dreams we thought we had forgotten. When we already feel overwhelmed by our busy schedules, the idea of hearing this voice can be exhausting. However, its reflections are the chords that connect us to our authentic selves, and they are the very things that make our lives worth living. When we continually avoid connecting with our life, we risk losing out on the very purpose of our existence.

To begin the process of being more present and less absent in your life, you might want to set aside just a few minutes each day to simply sit with yourself. This doesn’t mean watching a movie or reading a book, but taking time each day for self-examination to avoid the avoidance, to be with yourself in an open way. After a while, you may start to enjoy this part of the day so much that you make less busy work for yourself, so that you can spend more time at the center of your own life, rather than hovering like a planet around the sun.

Inspirational Quotes on Happiness

June 25, 2008

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. 

—Gandhi

There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.  

— Freya Stark

Don’t build your happiness on someone else’s unhappiness.

— Richard Rose

Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within.

— Helen Keller

As we cultivate peace and happiness in ourselves, we also nourish peace and happiness in those we love.

— Thich Nhat Hanh

What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life.

— Leo Buscaglia

Happiness does not depned on outward things, but on the way we see them.

— Leo Tolstoy

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self – gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.

— Helen Keller

Prioritizing Over Smokescreens

June 25, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

Excuses may seem like rational reasons for us not to do something, but if we’re not careful we can allow them to keep us from reaching our goals. Too often we accept our excuses as reasons why we cannot accomplish what we set out to do, and instead of finding alternatives we give up. But if we can be honest with ourselves and take responsibility for our choices, we will begin to notice that we no longer give excuses. When we keep our minds focused on our goals, we will find that excuses fade away in the light of our priorities, and issues become challenges that can help us become wiser and stronger.

Sometimes we may give others excuses rather than be fully honest. We may think it is kind to tell someone we are willing to do something with them, whether work or play, but then keep putting them off. This diverts our energy into keeping the truth at a distance while continuing a falsehood. But when we can take responsibility for our feelings and express them honestly, but gently, the other person is free to find someone who is better suited to accompany them while we are free to pursue the things we like. When we can do this, our energy can be invested in building better lives and relationships.

There’s another way in which excuses rob us of energy—and that is in the power of our thoughts and words. If we find ourselves in a situation, for example, where we are being asked for a financial contribution but we use the excuse that we can’t afford it, we create and attract lack and limitation into our lives. The same goes for seemingly simple things like pretending to not feel well or any other false statement. We may think that excuses make things easier, but they complicate matters with smokescreens. When we can commit to our priorities, take responsibility for our choices, and communicate them honestly to others, there will be no need to make excuses, and we will have much more energy to dedicate to all the things we love.

Create a Supportive Life Story

June 24, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

We all have our own life story. It is filled with relationships and events that help shape who we are and what we believe to be true about the world. Depending on our perspective and willingness to grow, our experiences can become fodder for negativity and patterns of playing the victim, or they can fuel a life of empowerment and continued self-development. It is the story we tell ourselves about what happens that makes all the difference.

Take a moment to look at the life story you create for yourself on an ongoing basis. If you generally feel peaceful about the past and trust in your ability to handle whatever comes your way, then you are framing circumstances in a manner that serves you well. On the other hand, if you retain a lot of guilt or resentment and often feel weighed down by life, you may want to start telling yourself a new version of past and present events. No matter who the characters are in your story or what they have done, you are the only one who can give their actions the meaning they will have for you. You are the only one who can define what role you will play in your own life. By taking responsibility for your story, you are able to learn and grow, forgive and find compassion, and most importantly, move on into a brighter future.

From now on, you can choose a life story that supports you. Let it be proof of your own resilience and creativity. Be kind with the roles you give yourself and generous with how many chances you get to learn what you need to know. When you remember that you are the author of your own story, you are free to create a masterpiece.

Stress Management (Tips)

June 22, 2008

  

You are faced with a demand and you are not sure how to handle it.

You are worried.

You are afraid.

You are tense.

You are under STRESS.

 

Stress is part of life. Stress happens to everyone everyday as we cope with ordinary events, interact with people and meet all kinds of demands.

 

Everything such as rules, work, responsibility, decisions, changes, relationships, illness and money can cause stress.

 

A little stress is good. It makes you think and try harder as well as it stimulates and provides excitement. The stress of competitive sports, for example, is enjoyable to most people.

 

But too much stress or stress that goes on for a long times can be harmful.

 

How Stress Affects Health

Too much stress affects everyone differently.

 

Mentally, some people become anxious or depressed. Some become defensive or withdrawn. Others become excited or aggressive.

 

Some become aggressive to the extent that they actually persecute others because of their own failings.

 

Some pretend that the stress does not exist. They deny the existence of unpleasant facts such as a major breakdown of a relationship, failure at work, failure in personal standards or a chronic illness.

 

Physically, stress can lead to sleeplessness, loss of appetite, loss of concentration, nervousness, skin rashes, headaches or tiredness for no apparent reasons.

 

If stress is allowed to continued, the result would be serious.

 

How To Keep Stress Down

 

1. Be realistic                         — accept you looks

2. Be realistic                         –accept things you can and cannot do

3. Be realistic                         — about your income

4. Plan your work                   — be organized. Priorities

5. Limit changes                     — do not plan too many changes at one time

6. Make decisions wisely         — open your eyes of facts and think calmly

7. Keep healthy                       — poor health is stressful

8. Share your problems          — do not keep all your problems and worries to yourself

9. Build a happy family           — be kind, loving and polite

10. Make friends                   — you need friends to talk and laugh with

 

Extracted from Singapore Ministry of Health Training and Health Education Department

 

Recharging Your Batteries

June 21, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

Our natural state of being is vibrant, happy to be alive. Yet, there can be times when we feel run down and worn out. This does not mean that we are lazy or unfit for the tasks in our lives; it means that we need to recharge our batteries and find a way of keeping them charged. Vitamins and extra rest can be very helpful in restoring our physical bodies. And if we are willing to delve deeper, we may discover that there is an underlying cause for our exhaustion.

Whenever you are feeling run down, take an honest look at how you have been thinking, feeling and acting. You will likely find a belief, behavior pattern or even a relationship that is out of alignment with who you really are. Perhaps you believe you have to be perfect at everything or you have been bending over backwards to get people to like you. Maybe you are dealing with mild depression or simply have too much on your plate right now. There may also be people or situations in your life which are draining your energy. Once you get clear on the root cause, you can weed it out and better direct your flow of energy in the future.

In time, you might notice that the reasons you feel run down have less to do with how much you are doing and more to do with the fact that in your heart, you would rather be doing something else entirely. From now on, try and listen to what your heart really wants. It may take meditation, or just a moment of silent tuning in to gain the clarity you need, but it is well worth the effort. When you know what you truly want to do, and honor that in all situations, you will find that getting run down is a thing of the past.

Everyone Has A Story

June 20, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

It’s easy to forget sometimes that everyone has a story to tell if we take the time to listen. We are so accustomed to hearing the stories of people in the news that we sometimes lose track of the fact that the random stranger on the bus also has a fascinating story about where they came from and how they got to be where they are. The sheer variety of paths taken in this world, from farmers to CEOs to homeless people to world travelers, is indicative of how much we can learn from each individual. Sometimes the shy, quiet person at work has the most amazing life story and the biggest dreams, it is up to us to take the time to find out.

Some people travel a path of wealth and privilege, while others struggle with only themselves to rely on, and both have great stories to tell. Each person learns lessons, makes choices, and develops a unique perspective, which only they can claim and share. Even two people who have had very similar lives will have slightly different experiences, leading them to a different point of view, so each person remains a treasure trove waiting to be explored. When we take the time to ask questions and listen, we find that every person has a fascinating story to tell and an utterly unique perspective from which to tell it.

Bearing this in mind, we have the opportunity to approach the world around us in a new way. There is never any reason to be bored at a party, or on the bus, or in a conversation with a stranger. When we retain the spark of curiosity and the warmth required to open someone up, we always have in front of us the makings of a great story. All we have to do is ask.

What We Can’t See

June 19, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

Just because we can’t see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, although this is a common way in which people deny the existence of spirit guides, angels, and other unseen helpers in our lives. However, anyone who has encountered such beings can attest to the fact that they do, indeed, exist, just as our breath exists, keeping us alive, even though we can’t see it. The wind exists, too, but we only know this because we feel it on our skin and hear it moving the leaves on the trees. All around us and within us are things we can’t see, and yet we know they are just as real as the grass beneath our feet.

What we see and don’t see may just be a matter of perspective, like the ladybug who sees the leaf on which she sits, but not the tree the leaf grows on, or the person sitting beneath it. And the person beneath the tree may or may not see the ladybug, depending on where he focuses his attention. Still, all of these things, whether seen or not seen by the person or the ladybug, exist in reality. Some people are more gifted at accessing that which we cannot see, but given an open and willing heart, anyone can tune into the invisible realm and begin to find their way.

Human beings have always done this, and it is only recently that we have fallen into distrusting the existence of what we can’t see. If you have lost touch with the unseen world, all you have to do is resolve to open your heart to its existence, and it will make itself known. Closing your eyes in meditation and visualization, or engaging the unseen through the written word, are just two ways to welcome the invisible back into your life. Whatever you choose to do, cultivating a relationship with that which you can’t see is a time-honored human practice that can greatly enhance your life.

The Friend We Want To Be

June 18, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

There comes a time in all our lives when we may need to evaluate our relationships, making sure that they are having a positive effect on us, rather than dragging us down. Without realizing it, we may be spending precious time and energy engaging in friendships that let us down, rather than cultivating ones that support and nourish us along our path. Life, with its many twists, turns, and challenges, is difficult enough without us entertaining people in our inner circle who drain our energy. We can do so much more in this world when we are surrounded by people who understand what we’re trying to do and who positively support our efforts to walk our path.

We can begin this evaluation process by simply noticing how we feel in the context of each one of our close relationships. We may begin to see that an old friend is still carrying negative attitudes or ideas that we ourselves need to let go of in order to move forward. Or we may find that we have a long-term relationship with someone who has a habit of letting us down, or not showing up for us when we need support. There are many ways to go about changing the status quo in situations like this, having a heart to heart with our friend showing through example. This process isn’t so much about abandoning old friends as it is about shifting our relationships so that they support us on our journey rather than holding us back.

An important part of this process is looking at ourselves and noticing what kind of friend we are to the people in our lives. We might find that as we adjust our own approach to a relationship, challenging ourselves to be more supportive and positive, our friends make adjustments as well and the whole world benefits.

Bud And Blossom And Beyond

June 16, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

Flowers and leaves both begin their lives as organisms so tiny we cannot see them with the naked eye. With time, they become visible, curled in upon themselves, colorful buds slowly softening and releasing. With the proper warmth and moisture, they unfold little by little, revealing with each degree of opening a new color, shape, or dimension. Sometimes buds open seemingly all at once, unfolding the full majesty of their potential, of what looks to the human eye like courage, openness, and generosity.

As days go by, the bloom slowly moves through more stages, revealing still more colors, shapes, and dimensions of its essence. It falls apart, strewing its petals on the ground, or it wilts, or it closes back in on itself. When we can appreciate the full beauty of each stage of the cycle of life, from bud to blossom to disintegration, we feel more at home with our own earthly process. We can be inspired not to hold back the fullness of what we have to offer, knowing that our time to give of ourselves in this way will come to pass. At the same time, we can honor others, and the little processes that go on within the larger process of living our lives.

Each stage we go through has its time of fulfillment and recession, as do all living things. Every moment of every stage has its own particular beauty, and we can appreciate that, even as most of us tend to love the spectacular moment of full blossoming most of all. When we feel the wisdom contained in the budding, blossoming, and dissolution of a simple flower, we begin to feel it everywhere, in each moment that comes and goes, in each sunrise and sunset, in every hello and goodbye, as the very essence of the pulsating ebb and flow of existence.

当我老了

June 16, 2008

取自—–西祠胡同

游荡了这么多年,从东到西,又从北到南,一年又一年,我在长大,知识在增加,世界在变小,家乡的母亲在变老。 

十一年前母亲把我送上了火车,从那以后,我一刻也没有停止探索这个世界,二十年里,从北京到上海,从广州到香港,从纽约到华盛顿,从南美到南非,从伦敦到雪梨,我游荡过五十多个国家,在十几个城市生活和工作过。每到一个地方,从里到外,就得改变自己以适应新的环境,而唯一不变的是心中对母亲的思念。IP 电话卡出现后,我才有能力常常从国外给母亲打电话,电话中母亲兴奋不已的声音总能让我更加轻松地面对生活中的艰难和挑战。然而也有让我不安的地方,那就是我感觉到母亲的声音一次比一次苍老。过去两年里,母亲每次电话中总是反复叮嘱:好好再外面生活,不要担心我,一定要照顾好自己,不要想着回来,回来很花钱,又对你的工作和事业不好,不要想着我……
说得越来越罗嗦,罗嗦得让我心疼,我知道,母亲想我了。 

母亲今年七十五岁。 

我毅然决定放下手头的一切工作,搁下心里的一切计划,扣下脑袋里的一切想法,回国回家去陪伴母亲一个月。这一个月里,什么也不干,什么也不想,只是陪伴母亲。 

从我打电话告诉母亲的那一天开始到我回到家,有两个月零八天,后来我知道,母亲放下电话后,就拿出一个小本本,然后给自己拟定了一个计划,她要为我回家做准备。那两个月里母亲把我喜欢吃的菜都准备好,把我小时候喜欢盖的被子“筒” 好,还要为我准备在家里穿的衣服……这一切对于一个行动不方便的,患有轻微老年痴呆症的75岁的母亲来说是多么的不容易,你肯定无法体会。直到我回去的前一天,母亲才自豪地告诉邻居:总算准备好了。 

我回到了家。在飞机上,我很想见到母亲的时候拥抱她一下,但见面后我并没有这样做。母亲站在那里,像一只风干的劈柴,脸上的皱纹让我怎么也想不起以前母亲的样子。 

母亲花了整个整个的小时准备菜,她准备的都是我以前最喜欢的。但是我知道,我早就不再喜欢我以前喜欢的菜。而且母亲由于眼睛看不清,味觉的变化,做的菜都是咸一碗,淡一碗的。母亲为我准备的被子是新棉花垫的,厚厚的像席梦思,我一点也不习惯,我早就用空调被子和羊毛被了。但我都没有说出来。我是回来陪伴母亲的。

开始两天母亲忙找张罗来张罗去,没有时间坐下来,后来有时间坐下来了,母亲就开始罗嗦了。母亲开始给我讲人生的大道理,只是这些大道理是几十年前母亲反复讲过的。后来母亲还讲,而且开始对照这些道理来检讨我的生活和工作。于是我开始耐心地告诉妈妈,那些道理过时了。于是母亲就会痴
呆呆地坐在那里。

情况变得越来越糟糕。我发现母亲由于身体特别是眼睛不好,做饭时不讲卫生,饭菜里经常混进虫子苍蝇,饭菜掉在灶台上,她又会捡进碗里,于是我婉转地告诉母亲,我们到外面吃一点。母亲马上告诉我,外面吃不干净,假东西多。我又告诉母亲,想为她请一个保姆,母亲生气地一拐一拐在房间里噼啪噼啪地走,说她自己还可以去给人家当保姆。我无话可说。我要去逛街,母亲一定要去,结果我们一个上午都没有走到商场。

每当我们讨论一些事情的时候,母亲总以为儿子已经误入歧途,而我也开始不客气地告诉母亲,时代进步了,不要再用老眼光看东西。

和母亲在一起的下半个月,我越来越多地打断母亲的话,越来越多的感到不耐烦,但我们从来没有争吵,因为每当我提高声音或者打断母亲的话,她都一下子停下来,沉默不语,眼睛里有迷茫——母亲的老年痴呆症越来越严重了。

我要走前,母亲从床底下吃力地拉出一个小纸箱,打开来,取出厚厚的一叠剪报。原来我出国后,母亲开始关心国外的事情,为此他还专门订了份《参考消息》,每当她看到国外发生的一些排华辱华事件,又或者出现严重的治安问题,她就会小心地把它们剪下来,放好。她要等我回来,一起交给我。 她常常说,出门在外,要小心。几天前邻居告诉我,母亲在家看一曲日本人欺负中国华人的电视剧,在家哭了起来,第二天到处打听怎么样子才能带消息到日本。那时我正在日本讲学。

母亲吃力地把那捆剪报搬出来,好像宝贝一样交到我手里,沉甸甸的,我为难了,我不可能带这些走,何况这些也没有什么用处,可是母亲剪这些资料下来的艰难也只有我知道,母亲看报必须使用放大镜,她一天可以看完两个版面就不错了,要剪这么大一捆资料,可想而知。我正在为难,这时那一捆剪报里飘落下一片纸片。我想去捡起来,没有想到,母亲竟然先捡了起来。只是她并没有放进我手里的这捆剪报里,而是小心地收进了自己的口袋。

“妈妈,那一张剪报是什么? 给我看一下。”我问。

母亲犹豫了一下,把那张小剪报放在那一叠剪报上面,转身到厨房准备晚餐去了。

我拿起小剪报,发现是一篇小文章,题目是“当我老了”,旁边的日期是《参考消息》2004126日(正是我开始越来越多打断母亲的话,对母亲不耐烦的时候)。文章择选自墨西哥《数字家庭》十一月号。我一口气读完这篇短文:

当我老了 

当我老了,不再是原来的我。请理解我,对我有一点耐心。

当我把菜汤洒到自己的衣服上时,当我忘记怎样系鞋带时,请想一想当初我是如何手把手地教你。

当我一遍又一遍地重复你早已听腻的话语,请耐心地听我说,不要打断我。你小的时候,我不得不重复那个讲过千百遍的故事,直到你进入梦乡。

当我需要你帮我洗澡时,请不要责备我。还记得小时候我千方百计哄你洗澡的情形吗? 
当我对新科技和新事物不知所措时,请不要嘲笑我。想一想当初我怎样耐心地回答你的每一个“为什么”。

当我由于双腿疲劳而无法行走时,请伸出你年轻有力的手搀扶我。就像你小时候学习走路时,我扶你那样。

当我忽然忘记我们谈话的主题,请给我一些时间让我回想。其实对我来说,谈论什么并不重要,只要你能在一旁听我说,我就很满足。 

当你看着老去的我,请不要悲伤。理解我,支持我,就像你刚才开始学习如何生活时我对你那样。当初我引导你走上人生路,如今请陪伴我走完最后的路。给我你的爱和耐心,我会抱以感激的微笑,这微笑中凝结着我对你无限的爱。一口气读完,我差一点忍不住流下眼泪,这时母亲走出来,我假装什么也没有发生,母亲原本是要我带走后回到海外自己再看到这片剪报的。我随手把那篇文章放在这一捆剪报里。然后把我的箱子打开,我留下了一套昂贵的西装,才把剪报塞进去。我看到母亲特别高兴,仿佛那些剪报是护身符,又仿佛我接受了母亲的剪报,就又变成了一个好孩子。母亲一直把我送上出租车。 

那捆剪报真的没有什么用处,但那篇“当我老了”的小纸片从此以后会伴随我……
现在这张小纸片就在我的书桌前,我把它镶在了镜框里。现在我把这文章打印出来,与像我一样的海外游子共享。

在新的一年将要到来的时候,给母亲打个电话,告诉她你一直想吃她老人家做的小菜…… 

 

Remember The Light Side

June 15, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

Often when we talk about fun, or doing things just for fun, we talk about it in a dismissive way as if fun isn’t important. We tend to value hard work and seriousness, and we forget to pay our respects to the equally important, light side of silliness and laughter. This is ironic because we all know the feeling of euphoria that follows a good burst of laughter, and how it leaves us less stressed, more openhearted, and more ready to reach out to people. We are far more likely to walk down the street smiling and open after we’ve had a good laugh, and this tends to catch on, inspiring smiles from the people we pass who then positively influence everyone they encounter. Witnessing this kind of chain reaction makes you think that having fun might be one of our most powerful tools for changing the world.

Laughter is good medicine, and we all have this medicine available to us whenever we recall a funny story or act in a silly way. We magnify the effects of this medicine when we share it with the people in our lives. If we are lucky, they will have something funny to share with us as well, and the life-loving sound of laughter will continue to roll out of our mouths and into the world.

Of course, it is also important to allow ourselves to be serious and to honor that side of ourselves so that we stay balanced. After a great deal of merriment, it can actually be a pleasure to settle down and focus on work, or take some time for introspection until our next round of fun begins.