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/