Laugh it up!

Dear Friends,

I recently met a 70-yr-old woman with a 17-yr-old heart. Literally! Linda is the recipient of a heart transplant. She is an incredible, vibrant person filled with energy and love. We met through Laughter Yoga.

Laughter Yoga is a unique concept combining laughing exercises, child-like playfulness, and pranayama breathing. I was drawn to Laughter Yoga for it’s ability to exercise “right-brain, creative thinking,” as discussed in Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. It also harnesses and amplifies the incredible healing properties of laughter, both mental and physical.

Linda attributes laughter to helping her through congestive heart failure, surgery, and recovery. She is driven to spreading laughter yoga, both as a way of healing the world and as a way to pay forward the amazing gift she received from her donor. Linda has a dream of having a huge laughter group of over 100 people. I am trying to help make her dream a reality.

Linda and I share the same birthday, July 7th. Next Thursday, July 7, 2011 at 7:11pm we will perform a Laughter Flash Mob on Frazee beach in Carlsbad. We will gather near lifeguard stand #38, laugh the notes to “Happy Birthday”, then smile, giggle, and laugh for 7 minutes. If you would like to continue laughing afterwards, there will be Laughter Leaders (like myself) to guide you through a laughter meditation.

When: 7-7-11 @ 7:11pm (come early to make sure you can park, or take the Coaster or bus 101)

Where: Frazee beach in Carlsbad at HWY 101 and Pine Ave

Why: Celebrate life, create world peace, Have Fun!

Please send this to all your friends and help make Linda’s dream a reality!


Be Kind

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
– Plato

This heart-breaking picture is of a real, tangible tragedy, but it made me think about people who may be experiencing similar, less tangible ones. I can think of moments in my life where I felt much like the girl in this photo. These are the moments that most people don’t know about, even when they are close to you.

If you’re feeling frustrated with someone, remember to always speak with compassion and love.

If you’re feeling stressed or angry, remember to look at the world with gratitude and joy.

Thank you for reading my blog, and I wish you much happiness.


Spiritual journey

Actually written May 2nd
I don’t know how some of you will respond if I start getting all spiritual and contemplative in my blog. But the fact is that I have a lot of time to think, and I encounter people with interesting insights. When you are outside of your normally scheduled life, you start to realize that there are other options, and perhaps you can be a lot happier than you are normally. Not that I was an unhappy person back in the States. On the contrary I have awesome friends, and my lifestyle typically included going to concerts, spending lots of time outdoors, eating at good restaurants, and watching movies. My life was considerably better than most Americans. But I always felt somewhat unfulfilled. I can only imagine how most Americans feel, and why they need to escape into the world of television whenever they have free time. I’m not really good at ignoring the inner voice that tells me when something is out of whack.
This is old, powerful land, and I’ve had some amazing revelations since being here at Terrapi. They usually result from me freaking out about something, like money. Boy, do I love to worry about the future, what job will I get, and how will I save so that I can travel some more. I spent 2 days staring at my computer, looking up jobs, and missing opportunities to go hiking. Then my stomach suddenly made this huge gurgle sound. I thought, “What the?!” For the next 2 days I had mysterious stomach pains, and I could not figure out why. Someone had been speaking to me about chakras earlier that week, and it occurred to me that my issue could have a spiritual connection. So I jumped back onto my computer, found some pages about chakras, and looked up stomach problems. What I found was that stomach pains are a result of ‘survival issues’, and coincide with a blockage of the root chakra. This chakra is related to security, job, and money. I figured I was onto something. I found some methods of clearing the root chakra, like meditating while sitting against a tree, and using frankincense and sandalwood oils on the base of the spine and feet. Essential oils can be hard to find and expensive. The crazy thing was that Marce, a friend on the farm, had given me a vial of these oils a few days before to treat some dry skin I had. I wanted to use a little then give it back, but she insisted I keep it. The most helpful advise for clearing the chakra suggested asking yourself what deep-seated beliefs you have that are no longer serving you, but rather holding you back. It didn’t take me long to figure out what that was. Job=money=security. In our society we all believe that money equals security, and money is necessary for security. But I have come to realize that isn’t true. Just look at the oils…they were provided to me before I even knew I needed them! If I am following my path, the universe will provide me with everything I need.
I no longer worry about when my trip will end, where I’ll be, and what I’ll do. I’m working on appreciating every day as it comes. Oh, so you know, I used the oils and meditated under a tree for a while, and my stomach problems were gone!
Even though I’ve been appreciating each day as it comes, as of a week ago I still didn’t know where I would go after Terrapi, or when I should leave. I took a weekend to go to Jeffreys Bay, a cool little town and world-renown surfing destination. I have been shown time and time again that even small ‘coincidences’ have big implications, and so I always look for the messages when coincidences occur. I met a woman named Fortune who works for the backpackers I stayed in, and she is trying to start an NGO to help street kids. She told me about all the work she had done speaking to people and fundraising. The problem is that she needs a project proposal, and doesn’t know how to write one. I told her it sounded really awesome, and that I hoped she would find someone who could help her. Later that day Marce and I went shopping, and Fortune drove the shuttle vehicle. When she came to pick us up, she had a girl who needed to go to the hospital in the next town over. So we ended up eating lunch together and spending a good part of the afternoon talking about her project. When she mentioned her need for a proposal writer Marce pointed at me and said, “She can do it.” I explained that I didn’t have experience writing a proposal of this scale. I mean, she wants to find housing for the kids, start sports programs and job placement programs, get them schooling and health care, and feed them all everyday. This is a big project, and the more I thought about it I realized I was just afraid to help in case I failed. That’s right, I was being chicken-shit. So I agreed. And Tuesday I will be going back to J-Bay to help write a project proposal. Fortune has an extra bedroom that I can stay in for free, and a friend of hers is looking to hire a bartender. Boom! That took care of what to do next.

Jeffreys Bay, South Africa