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The Best Medicine

I just got back from an all-day meeting which ended with a laughter workshop. One of the core ideas behind it was to engage the right side of your brain and to turn off the critic in the left side. Oh yeah, you know the one.

Before we got into full-fledged laughter for no reason, there were a number of really good warm-ups designed to lower any potential nay-sayers' "this is rubbish 1st-year acting class bollocks" (yeah, I might have been a little dubious at first) and build some good-hearted giggle energy within the room.

We sat on the floor, closed our eyes and drew self-portraits. Then we tried to explain them to each other. We used all the colored pens and crayons we could find to draw a picture of laughter. I was a bit surprised to see a lot of musical notes in my picture.

Then we took random slips of paper out of an envelope. We were told each of us had an animal in our hands. "Imagine your creature. Touch your creature. Think what it looks like, feels like, and sounds like," the leader told us.

I looked at my slip of paper. It said "COCK".

I held up my slip of paper and asked, "just how realistic would you like this exercise to get?"

Then we had to walk around and make eye contact with each other, greeting one another with the sound our animal makes.

Again, with my paper in the air, "um, mine usually doesn't make much noise."

I decided to forego the quiet "spurt" noise and make like a rooster to the rest of the farm yard which included a horse, a chicken, a cow, a monkey, a lion (I think), and a seal. I don't think the girl who made the seal noise was too happy when I hit her on the head. Hey, it's a laughter workshop and who's to judge if one makes an arguably ill-chosen baby seal joke?

Turns out to be a great hour, especially if the leader has a big full infectious belly laugh that any stand-up would pay to have in his audience. It's a really upbeat way to end a day with a bunch of people you barely know. More information on the concept is available here.

Interesting. This is the third time in a couple weeks that I've found myself resisting an activity because, well, it just seemed ridiculous. And in each of those situations I've tried to take a deep breath and get out of my head and just go with the flow. Yup, just like in all those bad acting classes. The funny thing is (see what I did there?), each of those three instances have produced really pleasing results.

Bottom line quit thinking so much and go out and have a laugh.