Day of Joy Workshop Saturday 20th July

Well what a great day of fun and different activities it was. A good day of learning for me too, as previously I have done such a day with other ladies who liked to keep to a strict schedule. This time, we had a timetable with many activities, which we did all of them, yet at the same time the day developed into one where we went with the flow. It was lovely.

How different to be able to get together and play around, dancing, drawing, breathing, mindfulness, meditating, games and more. I love the games. We played Redondo and I would like to acknowledge Bernard De Koven, whose website I visited for more game ideas. He also has a page of fun quotes, which we shared together, reading them out as we felt moved to do.

The Redondo game was great and we became so engrossed with it, drawing doodles, someone else picking it up and naming and the next step was someone else holding it up describing it as if they were an art gallery owner.

The A-Z ‘In my grandmother’s house’ game took 25 minutes and I learnt that from Sebastien Gendry from Laughter Yoga America. It is a great memory game and I am going to test them next time, as I wrote down which words we chose for the different letters of the alphabet.

The day became more individually creative as it wore on and the only thing missing was the home made shortbread. I will have to do better next time.

We have a new date for the next one, which you might like to put in your diary now, Saturday 13th October. The time will most likely be 10.30am to 4.30pm.

Movement was a great thing, we had fun as it evolved, moving to John Denver, pretending to play the fiddle, walk like a country bumpkin, play other instruments and it was all so spontaneous and creative.

I acknowledge my friends who came along and were committed, as there were a lot of last minute cancellations. That was good learning for me as what I would do differently would be accept registrations with payment and establish a refund policy for cancellation.

At any rate the day was great fun and who came along was absolutely perfect.

Sorry not to have taken any photos but I didn’t for once, partly because ‘Mr Incognito’ Pete, the glue who holds the Ferntree Gully Laughter Club together does not like being photographed. I honoured that and didn’t take any happy snaps this time. Be warned Pete, next time I may not be so kind!

The next date is Saturday 12th October. Write that down and be sure to be there if you want more fun in your life.

Lots of  love and fun blessings.

Lynette Mitchell xxx

Feel the Community Spirit in Melbourne!

AUSTRALIA DAY MARCH 2013

Community spirit injection. Well, our dozen or so band of laughers joined in the March again and it was a beautiful day for it, neither hot nor cold, which meant that we could completely focus on walking and ho, ho-ing all the way to the Domain Gardens, where there were heaps of activities.

I feel the more that we nurture ourselves with the spirit of community and coming together in love, enjoying fun activities, the greater our roots are grounded into the earth.

Hats off to the laughter club members who marched and I feel that I can speak for all of us, it was a completely and utterly uplifting experience. The public of Melbourne were several deep lining the route and some of us high-fived them. Bronwyn counted and got up to 125, what an extraordinary number indeed.

After a little while I got right into the spirit of it and it was doubly joyful to do that. I put my hand or both hands up to give people a ‘high five’ and with that found our eyes connecting and could feel our hearts joining together. People’s faces lit up with that extra close interaction, instead of watching us walk and make noises as we passed.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to be on the inside out looking at so many people and feeling that I made a difference, together with my buddies, demonstrating laughter and light heartedness, bringing it to the awareness of the public that we happily exist in their home town.

The Australia Day People’s March was reported to have over 2000 representatives from community groups including multicultural, sporting and special interest clubs and 4000 public lining the streets watching the March. That is huge, is it not? I feel that there is so much fear and negativity in the world and on this day people take the opportunity to connect in body mind and spirit.

Mahes Karuppiah led the laughter session in the afternoon, here are some pictures that my husband John, my greatest supporter took of us laughing together. I noticed that the crowd of onlookers was far greater than others years and that they joined in with the laughter and breathing exercises without restraint. It was a fantastic session and one can only hope that the positive experience will indeed help to spread the laughter word around the halls of Melbourne and wider.

I would also like to acknowledge the consistent and long time service given by Phillipa Challis, the Founder of Laughter Clubs Victoria Inc. Each Australia Day, Phillipa arrives early at the Domain Gardens, bringing banners and information and staying all day manning the marquis in order to talk with the hoards of people wanting to find out about laughter clubs in Victoria. Thank you Pip.

For those locals who feel that they may be keen to come in next year or any other year after that, let me tell you that there are many and varied activities around the gardens after the March. Especially for young children, there was a marquis of people called ‘Outrageous Workshops’, where the littlies were busy sticking things onto CDs to thread and hang around the necks or to decorate a shade visor for their head.

There were hundreds of old and collectable cars and my husband even made a newspaper pot and potted an Australian native seedling. Wait there’s more, a sheep dog herding sheep, little ponies to pat, ducks, goats and sheep to hand feed.

I loved seeing the Roulettes fly over in formation again at 2pm. There were six of these special planes and OMG they looked as if they came so close that it took my breath away.

James Morrison was playing his trumpet, opera singers were singing, the Ukulele club were Ukuleleying. All in all it was a fabulous, community spirited and fun filled day.

We wearily walked to the railway station and took a train home, being really glad for making the effort to go and do it and I will be back next year, rain, hail or shine.

Come and join me! Please!

Love and Laughter Blessings once again.

xxxx oooo

Keeping a Promise

KEEPING A PROMISE

Sometime ago I made a promise that I am about to keep to a group of people who have come to live in Australia and decided to take up a Certificate course in English. This is a regular accredited course run through my local library, the Boronia Library, which is part of Eastern Regional Libraries, east of Melbourne.

The group was made up of very good hearted people who have a very dedicated teacher, Myrella Desfosses, who shares with the class the basics of learning how to speak, understand and write English.

I cannot imagine what that must be like for people introduced to this country, who have come here to make a new start in life without perhaps any understanding of the English language or Australian culture.

What a wonderful choice, that is what I say, to come and live in the most livable city in the world. Check out this link: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/melbourne-named-worlds-most-livable-city/story-e6frg6nf-1226450134842. Adelaide was equal 5th to Calgary and Sydney 7th. How wonderful is that? Australia has 3 out of 10 most livable cities in the world.

Myrella, the tutor asked me to come along and talk about Laughter Yoga, focusing on the advantages of laughter in one’s life, followed by a laughter session and then further discussion. For me it was a very positive experience, as they were all so keen to learn and after I left and the following week or two, they used the subject of laughter to feel into and write a short piece on. My promise was to include it in a blog with Laughter Yoga International, which I am about to come through on.

I loved the way the students were encouraged to express themselves in their own unique style, which from my viewpoint allowed them to write freely, without fear of having to be a stereotype of their teacher.

And now here are two expressions from the eyes and hearts of Shirley White and Paola Penagos.

The advantages of laughter yoga – By Shirley White

Everyone has different experiences in life.  I think that laughter yoga has some advantages .  And I am going to write a list of them to give you some ideas.

There are many benefits in doing laughter yoga.  The most important reason is it will help to relieve stress.  Another reason is you will gain friends because laughing is contagious.  Aside from being relaxed, it is also a good exercise.  When you laugh, your body system uses energy that will help in your blood flow which is also helpful.  A further positive is, laughter yoga is free.  Furthermore, there are many social groups who conduct laughter yoga and some maybe in your local area.

In conclusion, I think laughter yoga has more advantages and you just need to try it to know the difference.  As what they always say “laughter is the best medicine”.  In summing up, it is good for your health and well-being, therefore I encourage you to do laughter yoga.

Advantages and disadvantages of laughter – By Paola Penagos

Laughter is not only the action of laugh but a benefit for our health, for many reasons laughter does not have many disadvantages.

It is really hard to count the benefits of laughter as there are lots. It can help at any age, especially kids for their development and social interaction. Laughter can be used as an ice-breaker for people who struggle with their shy personality.

People say that laughter is excellent not only to improve the mood, feel younger but give positive energy to our body/spirit and it is easy to contaminate other people. Laughter has health benefits like improve blood pressure, breathing even heart problems. Laughter is free and can be done indoors or outdoors, it is also independent.

In the end laughter makes a big difference in our lives, and we can enjoy no matter what time or situation. Therefore people should not forget that all happiness depends on us, just let it fly and laugh.

Thank You.

Thank you once again for inviting me to speak, laugh and share about laughter in my life, which was a very useful experience to again share my story and the benefits of laughter in our lives. I appreciate the fact that laughter helps me personally to express myself and to go out and meet wonderful people through such a simple thing as being able to laugh. I would love to add at this point that I love to write and spent so many years learning to speak and then write in the English language, which is rich and full of meaning. My mother was a great influence and encouraged good grammar and my husband John is equally fascinated with words and prides himself on being a good speller.

Adaptability

I believe that for people born and bred in a country, they take many things for granted and in particular the basic things, how to get around from one place to another and the simplest of things, communication. I take my hat off to all the people in the world who have shifted from their place of birth, either by choice or through force or pressure, needing to learn a new language and of course, the customs of that country and city.

I am choosing to finish up with a wish and a prayer for all of us reading these words to breathe and take a moment to inwardly express gratitude for words and the ability to speak them or simply ponder for a moment what it means to us. Many people cannot express themselves through words either through misfortune or some physical or psychological reason and it is because of this it is time to appreciate something we have maybe never contemplated before.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to everybody, yourself the reader, Myrella the English teacher, Paola and Shirley who wrote the summaries, participants in the class, my mother for giving me the love of words, my husband John for helping me to continue this on and for our grandson Kenji, whom we share much of our love of the English language, with all it entails and to Melbourne and Australia for giving us so many sayings indigenous to the area that visitors start to muster. Such as ‘Come on Aussie, Come on’ and ‘She’ll be right mate’. There truly is so much fun stuff that can help bring more joy to one’s life by becoming involved in written words.

It would be fit and appropriate to express my thanks, appreciation and honour to all the great teachers in the world who dedicate themselves to the teaching profession. It is quite amazing how things flow on and everything is so inter-connected. Writing this makes me realise that most of us are teachers in our own way, in life, with our children, family, work and community. Please give yourself a pat on the back now and acknowledge yourself with a positive remark. Did you know that your body accepts the acknowledgement as written in stone, as the subconscious mind cannot differentiate whether it is you or another person?

Love, Laughter Hugs and Blessings

Lynette Mitchell xx oo

Feel the Fear and Stretch Yourself

I love to stretch myself and move beyond fear and have two awesome mentors who assist me to do that. In order to grow, we all could benefit and move to far greater heights with a mentor or role model and I honour Caren Hendrie, my business mentor who suggested I begin with the following paragraph, instead of finishing with it, as you are the ones who will find that approach more interesting. Thanks Caz!

Yay! It’s great to feel the fear, get comfortable with change, learn and practice new things. Learn some more. Make time for family and friends. Love oneself. There is so much that we can do in our bodies both for ourselves and to help and inspire other people.

I am over saving people. How many people and I feel, in particular women, like to save people, to put themselves down, others first, want to help and in fact often when we do that, we are actually being arrogant and we disempower those people whom we are trying so hard to help. Teach a man how to fish, that is what I say. And that is from a recovering control freak.

I love the Mind Body Spirit Festival. Each year I have the opportunity to share laughter with the Melbourne public and each time it is different. It is held in a big exhibition building lovingly called ‘Jeff’s Shed’ after the Premier of Victoria who was behind it being built. It is a huge building. Here is the link to it: http://www.mbsfestival.com.au/index.htm.

What I love about presenting laughter is it gives me an opportunity to relate with people and practice being myself, being unique and authentic. I started to lead a laughter club seven years ago after doing the leader training with Phillipa Challis, who was the founder of laughter clubs in Victoria. Phillipa is a great ambassador for the laughter movement and has not missed being present at her laughter club in Geelong, which is west of Melbourne, an hour away by car, since she started it, which I believe is about 10 years ago. Phillipa has been a great personal support for me also, encouraging me to keep on in the early days when I felt discouraged. Thank you Pip.

Back to the MBS as it is called. My husband John and I went in together and led the laughter on the main stage on both Friday and Sunday. Frankly it was a bit early at 11.30am and other laughter leaders could not make it in time after leading their own community laughter clubs. I tip my hat to all the community laughter club leaders of Melbourne and beyond, who do the service of bringing laughter into the community with such open and loving hearts.

On Friday a most unfortunate thing happened, we were 20 minutes late, due to train delays. Apparently a train before us had run off the track and we were shuffled off on to buses in between stations. Nevertheless, it was an excellent laughter session, we were given extra time and although it was only a 15 minute session, people in the audience all joined in and we had lots of fun doing it too. John’s favourites which he usually leads are the Archer and the Milkshake laugh. He is gorgeous as you can see in the photos, laughter has been good to him also and I have found that people involved in laughter yoga are more connected with their hearts and certainly do, as I heard the good doctor say on TV, ‘carry the spirit of laughter with them’.

Sunday we drove the car in and I was a little nervous after being held up on the Friday, in case something happened on the road, as sometimes happens. Well, I need not have worried, we were early and off we went at the appropriate time again.

I decided to read out the blurb that the wonderful Sebastien Gendry has shared about laughter, which we use on the Laughter Clubs Victoria Inc website and with a couple of slight changes, I use on my Ferntree Gully Laughter Club flyer as follows: ‘Laughter Yoga is a powerful healing modality that is simple, fun and filled with laughter that works simultaneously on the body, mind and spirit. No particular equipment is required. All can practice and benefit. It’s a form of exercise where we choose to laugh, because we can and this is done without jokes or comedy. The benefits of laughter are scientifically documented. It’s a practice that follows a systematic activity approach that guarantees fun and success to all, every time.’

I have not read something out like that before and felt inspired to do so, which may give the audience a different take on it rather than watching and joining in alone. After inviting people to come up on stage, we were pleasantly surprised that six people came up, three young boys, a couple of teenage girls and a lady. I was personally quite thrilled how most of the audience, which was only about twenty strong, joined in with the exercises. Some stood up, moving around and at times I caught the eyes and attention of people walking past and they also responded. A little trick that I find works too is that if we have the intention of being connected, we are. In fact, our energy is connected, as our hearts link. That is a very nice experience. Some people were sitting alone and I got their attention and did for instance, a High 5 in the air towards them, as they did back to me. All we needed was eye contact and a little loving smile.

I love too that practicing laughter more over the years makes me quite un-self conscious. That has been a big one and I am not completely there yet, originally I was afraid of public speaking and felt motivated to – as Susan Jeffers says ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’. I am always preaching to people about how much we are benefited by getting out of our comfort zone and stretching ourselves. Otherwise, how can we grow? We stagnate, stay the same or perhaps even, if we are standing still, go backwards. I trust that you have enjoyed the sharing and will choose to do something different today, tomorrow, this week. Believe in yourself and that it is worth the effort, as it is said, ‘there is no gain without pain’.

That is enough from me.

Lots of love, blessings and laughter hugs.

Lynette Mitchell xxx ooo

Husband John sharing a laugh with the people of Melbourne.

Me doing the Archer laugh.

Me doing the Archer laugh.

Seniors Week – City of Greater Dandenong 9 October 2012

Last week for the third annual time I did a Laughter Yoga session for Seniors Week for the City of Greater Dandenong. It was a very successful one, however not what we might have expected. The two previous years we had about twenty people attend and it went down very well, they obviously felt uplifted and enjoyed the laughter session, ending with some meditation.

However this time was different, as their bookings were low. In fact only three people turned up. Perhaps some got lost, as it was difficult to find the place and correct building. But wait there is more! I did say it was successful. We asked the Dutch people in the next room if they would like to join in and we went in to their space and did the session. It was a bit different to the other times, as we included a great discussion about laughter, fun and that led into a discussion of stress and ways to reduce it with breathing and meditation.

Even though it was not what had been anticipated, the hour was valuable for us all. A couple of noteworthy sharings to make here, were that a 92 year old (or should I say young?) lady shared how she spent half an hour each morning in the bathroom doing her exercises. Talk about walking the talk, keeping up and never giving up.

And a gentleman shared how he is inclined to feel anxiety and he chooses to laugh every day as an exercise. If he misses doing it regularly, he goes right back to being filled with apprehension and anxiety. So glad he came along. It was worth it, even with smaller numbers. I hope they put it on again next year because to even touch one person’s life positively is a great worth.

I  invite you to share your positive experiences from your everyday life regarding laughter helping you, or perhaps like the 92year old lady, a regular routine that enables you to get more out of life. Thank you. xx

Here is a link received today from Natural Therapy Pages regarding the psychology of laughter.

http://blog.naturaltherapyforall.com/2012/10/15/the-psychology-of-laughter—why-do-people-laugh/

Relay For Life – Greater Dandenong

Recently I had the pleasure of participating in the Relay For Life, at the Sandown Dog Racing Track which was indoors. Rather than cancel the event due to the heavy rain, it was decided to set it up under cover which worked really well. The event took place from 3pm Saturday 26 May until 11am Sunday 27 May.

Today was perhaps timely to write this blog, as one of our most famous daytime TV personalities, Kerry Anne Kennerley was diagnosed with breast cancer, which every day 76 Victorians hear the words ‘you have cancer’. Kerry Anne is brave and most courageous in her handling of it, immediately seeking medical treatment and all the necessary scans and diagnoses possible. It is a very early stage and she will have an operation within days and then radiation treatment.  Apparently the prognosis for breast cancer has radically improved with modern day treatment and does not bring up as much fear these days, as the majority of women who are treated early after discovering it recover fully.

This news of Kerry Anne’s story sent a strong message to other women to engage in regular mammograms and check-ups. It is a reminder to all about regular screening plus the need for immediate treatment. She went public with her story to urge all women to undergo regular mammograms. When Kylie Minogue was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 at age 36, it triggered a surge in breast imaging of low risk women.

And back to the relay. Believing in helping build the morale of the tired walkers, many of whom had been walking since 3pm in the previous afternoon, I turned up at 8.30am and met Marita Lokata, a committee organiser and she helped place stickers on people’s cheeks and clothing. We simply acted the goat, or in otherworlds, silly, skipping around, rushing up to people with lots of spontaneous laughter. It really brought smiles to their faces and I hope that it helped them get through the last couple of hours.

People were camped out overnight and it must have taken some organising, their gear for cooking meals, all sorts of camping stuff in order to give them a short rest, as it was a relay. From what I could see though not many people slept. How wondrous indeed.

Overall the funds raised for this Dandenong group was close to $200,000. That is awesome and please remember that this is an international organisation. Many of you reading this will have been involved or heard about it and I think that most of us have been touched by a close relative or friend who has experienced cancer.

If you want to get involved, Google it and no doubt Relay For Life, which is through the Cancer Council in your country will pop up. You can either join a team or create one of your own. The people I spoke with have done the walk for several years and by the look on their faces, find the experience a fantastic opportunity to give something back and go beyond their own immediate, personal vision, embracing something that connects us all together as a human race.

Once again I left in time to go to the Ferntree Gully Laughter Club and we were uplifted by my sharing of the event once again.

Please do contact me if you wish to share about the Relay For Life, I would love to hear of your interest in this event and if you have difficulty in locating the event locally, I could contact ones I know for you.

Love and Laughter, Laughter Friends.

Lynette Mitchell xxx ooo

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Day of Joy 31st March 2012

We had another heart warming and centring Day of Joy on 31st March at The Hut Gallery in Ferntree Gully. Participants love the variety that us four ladies from The Global Coaching Community put on.

Kay shared with us her take, with a fabulous hand out and a wonderful display table of Sacred Geometry, which really made us think about everything in the universe being in an ordered fashion, rather than randomly thrown together.

Diana’s hour was very well received, as she helped us using pastels, to draw a face, which was a most meaningful exercise.

Carmen’s was great and simple, yet profound, an exercise in awareness, which helped us to be introspective and examine where we are putting our energy and how much focused we are, or not.

For myself, we started the day with Laughter Yoga, which always helps bind people together and improve the communication and lightheartedness, setting the tone for a successful day.

My presentation was last, when I facilitated a sharing and as well the Violet Flame meditation. As well was shared once again the Energetic Hygiene process and Conscious Connected Breathing exercise. Please reply if you would like a copy of these emailed to you personally, so that you can use them on a daily basis. You will undoubtedly find your energy levels more clearer, grounded and generally coming from a space of being centred and loving, rather than from a space of fear and contempt.

There was an abundance of food, I made my usual Scottish great-grandmother shortbread and we finished up coming together discussing over a cup of tea instead of taking the time for an afternoon break, which worked well.

We do like to share something different each time and our next Day of Joy is planned for Saturday 29th September, all things being equal. Please reply with a comment if you would like to be added to the notification distribution list, as they day is valuable and if you are drawn to it, why not go?

ImageMy apologies the photo is a little out of focus, at least you get the gist that it was a day filled with joy and revelation.

Relay For Life Cancer Fundraiser in Hawthorn

Who has heard of Relay For Life? I had not until a request came through for a laughter club representative to do a ‘laughter session’ for it last Sunday in Malvern. What I discovered was that Relay For Life is a not for profit organisation, fundraising for the Cancer Council.

Apparently it is in 20 countries around the world and goes on at differing times throughout Australia. Here is a short blurb from the website: “Relay For Life is a fun, outdoor overnight fundraising event that brings communities together to celebrate and remember the lives of those who have battled cancer. Teams take turns to walk or run around a track whilst enjoying entertainment, activities and moving ceremonies.”

Anyhow, the one I went to was sponsored by the City of Boroondara and was held in Hawthorn.

Here is the thank you, which is self explanatory the great work that is being done. “Just wanted to say a big thank-you to your contributions to Relay For Life. As some of you know, we were able to raise over 100 thousand dollars (up to 600 thousand in total since its inception), with the aim of raising 1 million by 2015. Please find attached our Certificates of Appreciation. Hope to see you all again in 2013!”

I am sharing here how fantastic it was to be involved and I would happily do it again soon when one is coming up next in my area. At first I did not know quite what to do, as although there was a stage, people were walking round and round the track and so the only thing I could do was walk with them.

It reminded me of the Australia Day March and simply acting the fool. I think I am a frustrated clown and would love to be a clown some day. It was very moving that these people were part of teams and there were 1,000 people involved in walking, from 4pm Saturday until 10am Sunday.

I met one young girl at 9.30am Sunday who had not stopped. That was mind blowing. The organiser Graeme pointed out another young tall thin man, who had also not stopped and he said there were a few of them.

How extraordinary for people to get out of their own way and so something so significant in order to raise money for the cancer cause. So what I did was act silly, laughing, clapping, going up to people greeting them, placing a sticker on their forehead or cheek and I felt to offer them a sticker blessing. After a while it occurred to me and it was loads of fun. I said that I was the sticker fairy and was going to give them a blessing and said some gobbledey gook words, pretending to wave a magic wand. They appreciated it, were so tired from lack of sleep and open to some laughter.

Let us be thankful for the great good that is being done around the world. The media loves to thrust negative stories down our throats and I say, let’s hear about and share more positive, uplifting things that are happening all over the world.

For myself it was a big effort getting up early to be there and was quite a stretch after a busy week. Yet I left feeling over the moon with positive vibes flowing through my system after sharing the laughter, the joy and walking for nearly an hour with them. I would have stayed longer but had to go to do laughter again with the Ferntree Gully Laughter Club. They also benefited, because I was on a high from laughing and I continued the high energy, giving them all fairy sticker blessings and we had an excellent laughter yoga session.

Love to you all.

Blessings and Joy. xxx ooo

Labyrinths Today

In many people’s minds, a labyrinth is more often than not confused with a maze. A maze is set to confuse, with many options and decisions about which path to choose.  Whereas usually, a labyrinth has one opening by which to enter and leave.  This route takes you into the centre of the labyrinth.

Labyrinths become very popular during man’s evolution, particularly when there are great times of stress upon the planet, such as today.  Apparently it’s as if a universal force draws man’s attention in this direction in times of mankind’s greatest need!

What is a Labyrinth?

At its most basic level, the labyrinth is a path used for walking meditation. They can be viewed as a metaphor for the journey to the centre of your deepest self and back out into the world, with a broadened understanding of who you are.

The pathway of the labyrinth is in full view, which allows a person to be quiet and focus internally. Walking the labyrinth is a right-brain task using intuition and creativity. The labyrinth’s unicursal path meanders one way in and the same way out. It is showing and is teaching us centredness. It is this that differentiates a labyrinth from a maze, which has many paths and dead ends leading to confusion.

A Labyrinth or a Maze?

Unlike the labyrinth, the maze is a puzzle to be solved. It is a left-brain task that requires logical, sequential, analytical activity to find the correct path in and out. A labyrinth offers a holistic route, as it imprints ‘a groove’ a ceremonial pathway designed according to principles of sacred geometry and earth energy; the clockwise and anti clockwise spins of the meanders map out a balance between left and right hemispheres of the brain; as you walk back and forth…

In 2009 I attended two marvellous labyrinth evenings. One was a forum of a panel of experts, the subject being the health and healing aspects of the labyrinth being used.  The other was by Dr. Robert Ferre, the founder and president of The Labyrinth Society who spoke on their history and the symbolism of the labyrinth.  Dr. Ferre is passionate about the benefits of the labyrinth and sells and hires them.  His labyrinths are in 48 states of the U.S. and in 10 foreign countries.  The website is well worth looking at, including forums and a labyrinth locator.

Regarding the health and healing aspect.  Students of RMIT [Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology] hired a canvas one, which attendees had the pleasure of walking, to have a first hand experience prior to the forum.  Dr. Ferre shared how he has been extremely busy for quite a number of years, as he is promoting them to be incorporated into many hospitals and healing centres in the United States.  A nurse spoke of the benefits of labyrinths and how they calm the minds of mental patients, and she mentioned a Sydney eye doctor who is personally funding one being made at a Sydney hospital.  One hospital built underground corridors connecting the buildings, so that the labyrinth could have the prime position in the hospital grounds.

I learnt a lot that night about the history and how many world religions have embraced the labyrinth as a useful tool.  Historically they go back to stone-age Siberia, Roman and Medieval times and have been found in a wide range of cultures throughout the world and ages.

However, I would say that they have been more widely known for their use in Christian churches.  The most famous of these is the more ornate labyrinth at the Chartres Cathedral in France.  This design is more complex than the classical seven-circuit labyrinth.  It is an eleven-circuit design divided into four quadrants.  A labyrinth was often found in Gothic cathedrals, but over time many were destroyed or intentionally removed.

The labyrinth can be used on an individual, personal level and for a group or community to come together.  Words do not need to be spoken and each person has their own unique experience.  Walking the labyrinth, one passes other people and this creates an opportunity to hold awareness, respect and honour each other.  A great opportunity to get centred and at the same time be grounded and aware of other people joining in the same spiritual venture.

Many books are available on this subject which all come from an entirely different perspective.  The more intellectual, historical approach can miss the wonderful healing and spiritual information that other more mystical books provide.  Nevertheless they all serve a purpose, if not to bring to our awareness what exactly the labyrinth is today and how it encompasses all ages, cultures and religions.

A free finger labyrinth is available click here.  My suggestion is to experiment with this and use it daily, or as often as you feel the need.  Trace with your finger or an object, perhaps a crystal or stick, around the labyrinth into the centre.  Allow the energy to help you, listen to your inner voice and take a moment or several in the centre before tracing your way back out to the exit.

If it pleases you, you can colour it in or become even more inventive.  Create your own in other material or build a larger one outside, using paint, stones, chalk etc, on the ground, in the dirt, or sand, limited only by your imagination.  It is said the benefits of a dirt labyrinth and symbolically burying items to be cleansed, relates to what you need to let go of in your life.  Making one in the sand gives a similar benefit, allowing the release of your ‘stuff’ into the ocean as the tide comes in and washes it away.

Important now to give you some guidelines regarding walking or using a finger labyrinth.  There are three stages.  The inward journey is of letting go, releasing.  The middle of the labyrinth is of centring and the outward journey is incarnation, revelation and a new beginning.

Intention is the big thing, to have an idea why you want to walk it.  Decide beforehand what that is, a question to be answered, perhaps something that has been bugging you, and wish to release.  It may be simply to focus completely on walking each step with absolute concentration with the desire to connect with your spiritual aspect.  The use of the labyrinth is unlimited.

For those of you who have a more mystical nature, you may fall in love with a book The Complete Guide to Labryinths by Cassandra Eason.  She is a renowned psychic and folklorist and what I loved about her book, amongst many other things, she has many pages devoted to healing and rituals. She covers how to use them in relation to chakras, planets, archangels, Gods and Goddesses.  This may appeal to those of us who love rituals and using affirmations with what we do.

http://www.labyrinth.org.uk is another great website to investigate.  There are some great photos and it includes the dimensions and design based on an 18 inch square, like in the floor of St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

If you are in Australia, go to Labyrinth Link Australia for more information and to locate your nearest labyrinth.

Lastly, I purchased a purple velvet one painted with either gold or silver which can be ordered from a lady who lives in Tasmania.  It comes with a stone to hold as your fingers walk through the labyrinth.  The size is about 18” square.  If you the reader would like to contact her, please write to me and I shall make enquiries of her whereabouts.

Thanks for coming.

Love and Blessings,

Lynette xo

Belonging, Community Spirit & Australia Day in Melbourne 2012

Laughter yoga blog

Australia Day – Woo Woo – Thursday 26th January

Who lives near Melbourne or in Victoria? Then you will know about heaps of activities that go on in and around the city on Australia Day.

Please spread the word, I felt to share this on my blog because some readers may live overseas, yet have friends in Melbourne. In which case, the more the merrier to join us at 10am near the corner on Bourke and Swanston Streets.

We are group number 58 and you won’t be able to miss our purple and yellow Laughter Clubs Vic t shirts. If you have one please wear it and if not we may have one you can borrow. The march starts with the raising of the flag at 10.30am and lasts about 30 minutes but we need to be there for marshalling at 10am. After the march we will be meeting for community laughter sessions in the park at the Melbourne People’s Day Festival.

After the March at 2.10 pm Laughter Clubs Victoria Inc will be leading a laughter session and there is more information on the Australia Day 2012 page at Laughter Clubs Victoria’s website. It is on the grassed area and note, not on the main stage.

If you would like more information about what’s on in Melbourne. Then Google What’s On In Melbourne! I just did and saw that The Roulettes will be flying overhead at 2pm. The Roulettes are from the Royal Australian Air Force and they will be putting on quite a display. And there are fireworks at night, at midday at The Shrine, an Australia Day 21 Gun Salute, movie marathon at ACMA showing our nation’s rich heritag, Government House is open, even a 5km swim at Middle Brighton Pier, plus you could start the day with breakfast. Everything is covered on this very special day, between breakfast, lunch and right up to the fireworks.

It is wonderful to be part of a nation and community. I recall when I went to see my beautiful daughter Georgina in Vancouver a few years back, we were driving through the mountains to Calgary and happened on a small community which was having its celebrations. There was a march and one person jumped out at me, he was posing for my photo and was a really small, finely built elderly gentleman who loved to dress up as a clown and share fun, love and laughter with his small community.

Isn’t that what life is about? We all make so many contributions, albeit unconsciously to come together and share ourselves with others, sharing the joys, the sorrows, the ups and the downs. Where would we be without family and friends and I believe that all of us, or truthfully, the majority at least, have that sense of belonging.

That belonging can be to ourselves, to immediate family, larger family group, our work and it extends out and out until in reality, we are all connected upon earth. I love that there is so much awareness happening these days with the animal kingdom, the environment and with many overlapping areas, people are growing and evolving, becoming interested and desiring to make a difference as they can.

Regardless of feeling of hopelessness and what is the point of it all that is shoved down our throats and programmed through the predominantly negative media, there is hope, there is a purpose to it all and it starts with one thought, word and deed. It is never too late to start a new beginning. Each day is a new day and with it comes a new start. What was that saying about changing the things that you can and accepting what you cannot. We can change our attitude and how we react to things. We can make a difference in our lives and help uplift the planet, holding in our mind’s eye the ideal, rather than heaping more judgment on what we see and hear. To hold in our heart the ideal of what can be and say ‘Mother Father God, they will not my will be done’  helps us to work with the universe into programming love not fear.

I did not know this was going to happen, felt to write about Australia Day and obviously it touched something in me wanting to be expressed. It is wonderful to be part of something, Laughter Yoga, that sense of believing in a movement that is positive. cherished and world wide. As I said, it is great to belong on many levels and with all that develops a deeper purpose which can help to fill the void and connect us with our heart and soul.

Thanks for listening. Love and Laughter Blessings to You and Yours. xxx