Presenters At Swift Health & Fitness Summit

Here is the link to a blog for the Swift Health and Fitness Summit which I attended to present a short laughter segment over the lunchtime period. It was very well organised and in this blog I share about three people who presented, a building biologist, psychology coach and mindful movement coach. I bought the book by Nicole Bijlsma and Elizabeth Stewart, which are available online and also a link is there to the movement fellow, Chris Price. Enjoy the blog.

Anniversaries Provide Us With A Time For Introspection

Sunday 3rd August was my 28th Wedding Anniversary. I felt myself drawn to write about our lives together and feel that anniversaries are a good time to do that, whether it is a wedding anniversary or birthday or other, say counting the years in a job. And so I found myself spontaneously journaling without another’s suggestion, recalling others who have done similar things, writing about and marking a time in their personal history. Read more here.

Workplace Affirmation

Affirmations are best read aloud in the morning as part of an energetic hygiene routine. Here is the link to this Workplace Affirmation and if you would like to receive it as a PDF file, please email me. If you are not yet receiving my monthly newsletter and feel it could be of interest, either phone or contact me and I will add you. The affirmation begins as follows:

I say to myself, I am going to work today, as I drive, walk, ride or sit in public transport, I will be focused and prepared to roll with what happens on the day, giving each situation my full attention, being in the moment and holding strong firm boundaries with fellow employees so that I can do my job to the best of my present ability. I will each day leave work knowing that I have applied myself and as I return home on the return journey, I will focus on my breathing, being present, looking forward to coming in the front door and taking time to be present there also……….

And again here is the link to this Workplace Affirmation

Words Spoken In Haste Cannot Be Taken Away

Be kind and do not hurt another person with words… Here is a link to a new blog Lynette Mitchell Blogger regarding the damage that can be done when we speak sharply in anger towards another. So much damage may be done and words once said, can never be retracted or apologised for. Well we may apologise, however unfortunately that may not appease the situation that has been created in a moment of emotional heat. Please email me if you need to connect and share.

Laughter Member’s Take on Humour, Jokes & Laughter.

Ross Normand is our ‘elder’ laughter club member, who was 80 on the 22nd August 2014. Ross wrote this essay on humour sometime ago and since joining the Ferntree Gully Laughter Club, his appreciation of humour, jokes and laughter has become enhanced. Consequently he made some changes to the essay and felt to share it with me and has granted permission to share it with you. Thank you Ross. We appreciate your written contribution and yourself for being a valuable, regular member to our Ferntree Gully Laughter Club.

HUMOUR, JOKES AND LAUGHTER
by Ross Normand

“A serious and good philosophic work could be written entirely of jokes.” Ludwig Wittgenstein, (1889-1951 A.D.) Austrian-British philosopher. Humour is an amusing and creative activity that makes its presence felt in many situations. When used in an enlightening or playful way humour can be wonderfully uplifting, but it can also be quite destructive, particularly if employed in a vulgar way or used in such a manner as to embarrass and/or ridicule people. Most people of all ages and cultures respond favourably to good humour; its spiritual nature makes us laugh and expands our philosophic outlook on Life.
Humour takes many forms such as wit, satire, sarcasm, slapstick, cartoons, mimicry, etc. Here is a trilogy of jokes which may, or may not, appeal to your own particular sense of humour —
George Bernard Shaw, the famous playwright, once invited Winston Churchill to the opening night of one of his plays and ended the note by saying, “Bring a friend, if you have one.” Churchill replied, expressing regret that he could not attend on the first night but said he would come on another night. “If there is one!”.
Ben Jonson, a colleague of William Shakespeare, was once asked to explain the pun, a form of wit. Ben replied, “Pun, what subject?” The friend laughed at this pun, but said, “Oh, the King.” Ben then said, “But the King is not a subject. He is the King”.
Mulla Nasrudin was born in Eskishehr, Turkey, in the l3t Century A.D. Sufi mystics still recount many of his quaint stories; here is one of them. – Nasrudin entered a teahouse one day and declaimed, “The moon is more useful than the sun.” Someone asked him why. “Because at night we need the light more,” said Nasrudin.
Laughter Yoga is a world-wide practice that originated in India; it helps man to better integrate the workings of his mind, body and soul. Nobody knows exactly why we laugh or why anything causes us to make a strange noise, but it happens from an early age. Babies smile, then coo, and finally chuckle when they are amused. Jokes often occur when an ordinary idea is twisted by somebody in an unusual, but pleasingly unexpected way. Here’s an example —
A man speaks to his doctor after an operation. He says, “Doc, now that the surgery is done, will I be able to play the piano?” The doctor replies, “Of course!”  The man then says, “Good, because I couldn’t before!”.
Humorous events were often brought to my notice when, as a small boy, I lived near the Mont Albert Railway Station. Standing at our front gate one day, I noticed an Army Officer, who must have been coming home on leave from the Second World War, for he wildly embraced a girl coming to meet him in the opposite direction and swept her off her feet. Not only did I witness this stirling deed, but so too did a couple of teenage girls who stood on the footpath near me. One of them said to the other, “I wish that was me !“ I smiled and had a bit of a laugh, because I was quite sure the Army Officer and the girls involved in this little episode were completely oblivious of me — one small boy playing nearby on his three-wheeled trike.
Humour, according to some experts, cannot or should not be explained. But the vast majority of people who do theorise about it conclude that humour is a very healthy activity, or that it is a gift from God, or that it is an unexplainable event very much akin to a mystical experience. Humour seems to give us, above all, a great opportunity to have a good laugh about happenings in Life!

HUMOUR, JOKES & LAUGHTER
by Ross Normand

Bibliography

The World Book Encyclopaedia, U.S.A. 1974 Edition
– Volume 9 Article on Humour

Wikipedia Encyclopaedia, Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. U.S.A.
– Article on Humour

R.M.I.T. University Lecture on “Humour” (2009)
– at The Melbourne Theosophical Society Ltd.

The Melbourne “Herald” Newspaper, 1965.
– Article “Churchill Said It”.

The Sufis by Idries Shah.
– Doubleday Anchor Book, U.S.A.

A Little Help For Recovery Through Laughter Yoga For Sharc Residents

I am not proud to share that my father was an alcoholic and another member of my family was as well for quite a few years. Little surprise then how delighted I was to be asked by Jenni Furby, the Team Leader at Sharc, to do a session of laughter yoga for the about a dozen residents.
Sharc stands for Self Help Addiction Resource Centre, situated in Carnegie and “provides housing, education, advocacy and family support to members of their community affected by addiction and related problems to recover and achieve meaningful, satisfying and contributing lives.”

Their website is http://www.sharc.org.au/ and it is so good to know of this program for me personally, as it is dear to my heart and we all know that drugs and alcohol effect not only the participant but the whole family. It can lead to so much destruction over a lifetime on many levels, including the most basic one of shame and lack of feelings of self worth, feeling alone and wanting to hide from the world. Of course then we cope the best that we can and I am grateful, I say this even though it may be repeating myself, that such a wonderful self help program exists and that the residents are given this support up to a year if needs be.
Returning to my part in all this. Well it was a fantastic session and several staff members joined in as well, which was terrific to experience laughter yoga, as it is still a relatively new concept, to laugh for no reason, other than that it is of great benefit to you. We began with a circular breathing exercise, which helped to ground everyone, coming into the moment and more mentally and emotionally settled, ready to begin the laughter exercises.
Some were over the top with the laughter and everyone who shared were positive and the following day, checking withthe head staff member on the day, Matt Rothman the feedback was excellent.
We finished with laughter meditation, where most were lying on the carpet and a couple were sitting in a chair , when we did laughter meditation, a free form laughter, leading then into a full body relaxation and short meditation.
I would like to share the testimonials which I gratefully thank Jenni Firby for acquiring for me; always a good thing to have positive words to share on.

“The teacher was lovely”
“I appreciated the concept of it”
“It was outside my comfort zone but was good to try something new”
“It was a good experience, I enjoyed myself and remained open minded to it. The lady who ran it was nice”
“I really liked the meditation at the end”

Thank you staff at Sharc once again for calling me in to share the joy, energy and upliftment of laughter yoga. I appreciate the opportunity and would ask and welcome anyone reading this post to put me in touch with similar organisations or pass this on to someone on a team with whom you feel it could benefit.
Wishing you much love and laughter.
Lynette Mitchell xxxooo

World Laughter Day 2014

World Laughter Day 2014

I am excited because two very important days on the calendar are coming up. They are both referred to as WLD. One is World Laughter Day 2014, is celebrated on the first Sunday in May all around the world. The other is World Labyrinth Day, celebrated equally all around the world on 3rd May.

World Laughter Day will be celebrated in Victoria as usual, at 11am in Federation Square for an hour. Last year we had about 150 people attend and it was a rip roaring event full of laughs, deep breathing and laughter competitions.

Here are a link to an article with a good picture in Ferntree Gully Belgrave Mail. Deep gratitude goes to journalist Melissa who is Editor with the Ferntree Gully Belgrave Mail.

Cheerio, Lynette Mitchell xxoo

When You Change - MK

Laughter Yoga With School Children – Live For Live

Live4Life is a project run by the Macedon Ranges Council, promoting rural students’ mental health. As part of this project Laughter Clubs Victoria Inc was approached, because of the importance for school children to be given the opportunity to experience laughter yoga. In March, Merv Neal presented a laughter session for Live4Life.

Here is an except from the Live4Life e-newsletter:
“What an awesome day to kick off the Live4Life program for 2014! Over 550 young people from across the Macedon Ranges Shire gathered at host school Sacred Heart College in Kyneton to Launch the program, and enjoyed enterainment from Issac & Jimmy, Flaxxon and Mumblr, as well as a Laughter Yoga Session with Merv Neal.”

And the YouTube video of excerpts from that session.

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And for those of you who want to know more about the program, here is some information from the Live4Life home page, which says it all!
“Live4Life is a youth mental health primary prevention initiative targeting young people in the Macedon Ranges, Victoria, Australia
The Live4Life initiative is a community-wide response to a reported increase in 2009 from schools, police, community health and medical services to depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide in the Macedon Ranges Shire, particularly at Year 8 level (13-14years). The Youth Development Unit of the Macedon Ranges Shire Council, along with schools and community leaders, identified a need for a coordinated, collaborative response with a focus on seeking solutions prior to the need for crisis intervention Live4Life is an innovative, evidence-based, local community driven response to youth mental illness. The initiative aims to provide a local solution to a global problem by adopting a whole of community approach to increase knowledge, reduce stigma and improve mental health service pathways that are appropriate for young people.”

How wonderful to hear about such amazing work being done with school children and I welcome any comments or sharing of other programs which help look after the mental health of our future citizens, who will lead the way forward into all of our futures. They need all the help they can get.

Problem Solving, Boredom & Reframing to New Opportunities.

Problem solving is something that is familiar to most of us, also boredom and changing our ways of describing difficulties. Living in human bodies we have to be very adaptable and often think on our feet. The lady next to me at watercolour painting today said ‘necessity is the mother of illusion’ I thought that was funny and commented ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. That got me wondering about her belief if it was about illusion and not invention.

Being adaptable in a body takes me various places with my laughter work. I have recently been sharing laughter with two quite different groups, each had about twenty people present. Firstly for the high care residents at Bupa Coburg and then for a team building day for the Cardinia Shire Council.

I enquired the theme for the Council team building day and was told it was ‘problem solving’ which inspired me to contemplate this subject and share with you some ideas and understanding that I have around it.

We have to adapt and be able to solve problems and often these can relate to feeling flat and bored, when we do the same thing or work or else it is simply mundane and not challenging.

Does your mind drive you crazy with thinking? Sometimes it is hard to get it to stop thinking, trying to work things out, go ahead in the future and back in the past. We put things into boxes, people also, so that we are unable to see people or situations anew because of the way that we categorise everything.

The mind works on different levels which I won’t go into in great detail now. Suffice to say, we can be doing things unconsciously with our habit mind and intellectualising with our rational mind and have a higher mind which is more intuitive, where we receive inspirations.

Our mental body is a wonderful servant and it is not good when it runs the show. It can help us to analyse, research, amalgamate things and we need to work with it with our emotions and to plan goals, it is hard to imagine without the various powers that are available to us for our entire existence what our life would be.

Let’s make it simple again. We need to think and I think we can all agree that most of us think too much and wish that we could turn the mind off. Even when we ask it to be quiet it still runs amuck. One lady at the end of the laughter session said that before the laughter yoga session, the back of her head was very tight and after laughing it felt relaxed. Do you agree that we need to do more than think, we need to learn to relax and we can do this by using breathing exercises, meditation and regularly laughing. I feel we need to do all three every day.

I have documents which I will email to you upon request. They are: Circular Breathing which helps one to be more relaxed and grounded in the body. This breathing exercise helps you to be more aware of the state of tension in your body and to slow it down with concentration and focus. Neuroplasticity, which you may have heard of, occurs on a variety of levels, it is when we create new pathways in the brain and laughter yoga helps to do that. The other document is a mindfulness exercise, which helps us to be present and feeling grounded in our physical body. Please email me for any of these documents, which are yours for the asking.

Back to problem solving. People these days are changing the word ‘problem’ to ‘challenge’, which is also now becoming over used. What about if we say that problems create not challenges, instead new opportunities? New opportunities to grow, to do things differently and investigate other ways of doing or implementing things. We have talked here about the tendency of humans to put people and things into boxes. Also that Neuroplasticity helps to create new pathways in the brain. If you Google about people with half a brain you will hear about how the brain can rewire itself. I was fascinated to hear about a woman who was born with half a brain and it is worth Googling. Here is the link to a coverage of Michelle Mack.

Now getting to the subject of this blog, try changing the words problem solving to new opportunities. We can think and think, brainstorm, create mind maps, dialogue, journal, research, create spreadsheets and do all sorts of things.

There is a reason that we reframe the words. When we use some words, they can be negative and are better to be turned around, or reframed into words that will be conducive to creating positive growth and change. Our subconscious mind will do our bidding, does not think or analyse and is automatic, which means that the more that we frame our words, thoughts and feelings into positive ones, the happier we will be and less stressed, creating new opportunities and experiences along the way.

Sometimes things come down to one’s gut feelings and if we are able to be in our heart, because of spending more time sitting quietly in meditation, doing deep breathing, laughing more frequently and whatever else helps us to get there, we can decide and know what to do in an instant. When I studied holistic counselling, it was referred to as the 4 second rule. In a relaxed state to be open to the flash of insight that comes to you.

I believe in reframing the words to opportunities and stretching ourselves, which is how we evolve, learn and improve. The heart really knows, however the challenge is being still enough to receive the impressions that we receive from our heart’s knowing.

A little example of trusting instincts. I am secretary of a not-for-profit business networking group called the Maroondah Business Association. We have been meeting at a particular place for ten years and for about nine months the committee were dissatisfied with the standard of service and lack of communication from the venue hosts. After much looking around, researching and finally analysing the database of members for the locality in which they lived, the committee was going to take longer to decide whether to go to the new venue or not.

What clinched the move to the Wantirna Club was our President saying that sometimes we just have to go by our gut instinct and so we did. It was the right decision, the meeting last Wednesday night was excellent and I firmly believe that somehow when we follow our instincts and knowing, we are far better off than thinking our way through living our lives. Sure we need to use the mind to a large degree only in the long run, it is not the ruler, our heart and whole being can work on developing its intuition and being open to inspirations as they flow through as we go about our lives, in whatever field, whether personal or professional.

Hope this helps. Please do not hesitate to email, phone or add yourself to my monthly newsletter database or ask for the information regarding Circular Breathing, the Mindfulness exercise or Neuroplasticity.

Love and Blessings.

Lynette Mitchell xx oo

Retirement Villages – When Your Time Comes To Decide, Will This Phase Be A Challenge?

Retirement Villages – When Your Time Comes To Decide, Will This Phase Be A Challenge?

Recently I had the opportunity to present laughter yoga to a very large group of over 170 retirees at the General Meeting for the Willow Lodge Retirement Village at Bangholme. Most of the residents were present because there were burning financial issues which are affecting retirement villages nationally.
I love how being a laughter yoga leader takes me into many differing segments of the community, presenting me with an insider’s perspective, as often I am included in part of the meeting. This helps round off my understanding of current trends and issues amongst the different groups that I present to.
This particular one raises the question about how we feel and cope with the different phases and periods we go through as we live our life. I will share my view, raising questions for you, the reader about your own life, as often we can shut out or be oblivious to our own mortality. We can ignore certain things because we wish to avoid pain or confrontation until the time we are literally forced to face it.
Referring here directly to issues around getting older and wanting to perhaps hang on to things as they are, resist change, remember the past, not wanting to move forward.
This relates to outgrowing our home, downsizing, the difficult decisions to be made about our future as we get older, needing to move on and embrace change.
There is light at the end of the tunnel! There is hope! The first stage may be moving to a smaller house, town house or unit, when we start to slow down, feeling that it is all too much, we can feel a drain on our finances and our physical or psychological energy. Or we may have had our children move out and leave us, as it becomes time for their next phase in life also. Some of us have then as well lost our beloved partner.
The next option or one after the initial downsize can be a retirement village, prior to aged care accommodation, low care and then high care. This is where hope comes in for many happy and active years, living independently in a retirement village of your choice.
This phase of your life can be extremely rewarding, surrounded by people on your own wave length. It can be as you choose it to be, busy with a life filled with many activities and external excursions or it can alternatively be lived restfully. Living simply in a community, quietly and peacefully in the comfort of your own home or space, as you choose.
These years are extremely rich, an opportunity for growth and personal involvement with friends and family visits with less of the tiresome things such as overheads, loneliness and worry. There is a security to be felt in belonging and becoming involved in the retirement village era. It opens you up to new things, a new way of being and lifestyle.
My visit to Willow Lodge at Bangholme was personally gratifying. I was made welcome and Ray, a committee member was great getting totally involved with the demonstrating laughter yoga, mixing in the audience which was lots of fun for everybody. I was asked to help draw the lucky number prizes and then stayed for a cuppa.
My experience was positive and I found the residents to be vibrant, contributing and leading full lives, showing me when it is my time, nothing is to be but rather it will become a period in my life to be welcomed, lived fully and embraced.
After all, we take ourselves with us wherever we go. Whatever internal beliefs and structures that have become our foundations, will renew as we pass through these various life phases and changes.
Therefore I say to you. live each day now fully and positively. Laugh more. Breathe consciously, allow others to help you and do good where you can. Who you are today will go with you tomorrow.
Here is an excellent testimonial from Kay Smart, Secretary of the Willow Lodge Village Residents’ Association Inc.
Dear Lynette,
On behalf of the Willow Lodge Village Residents’ Association we would like to thank you for entertaining our residents at the recent General Residents’ meeting on 21st November 2013.
It was noted that your presentation followed a particularly serious meeting, with residents showing a lot of concern over a current situation affecting all their finances. However, your exercises and approach, certainly made them forget their problems for a while. The pictures that were taken are a testament to their acceptance of your actions. They couldn’t help but laugh which was the point of the exercise.
Thank you once again for coming to our meeting and “lightening” it up.
Regards
Kay Smart
Secretary Willow Lodge Residents’ Association