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This chapter of my book deals with the amount of laughter and joy in one's life. Read through it and then take the L.Q. Test to find out where you stand and if you need to get more humour into your life!

What is Your L.Q.? (Laughter Quotient)

Do you recognise any of these statements? Have you heard these words? Have you ever used these words?

"Life isn't meant to be all fun and games."
"Get your work done first and then play."
"Act your age."
"Grow up, already."
"I'm very sorry to tell you......."
"What am I going to do now?"

Life is not all fun and games; but it isn't all fear and suffering either. Life is made up of crises and opportunities. When we accept life with dignity and hope, we are better able to get through difficulties and return to joy.

Life is a journey along many paths. These paths are rich with opportunities and barriers. When one path becomes blocked; other paths open up. Very often we cannot travel on the new path until we get off the old one. Attempting to return to the old path and worrying about what lies ahead keeps many of us stuck. We seem unable to get that foot off the old path and are too afraid to take the new one. It is like trying to walk with one foot stuck in place. The other foot takes us round and round in circles. Some of us actually try to run with one foot stuck and we spin out of control.

Take the L.Q. Test now!

I am not surprised that we sometimes have a hard time to get even 12 laughs in a day. Life is hard when we are running with one foot stuck.

Jogger We have all tried to do this trick at one time or another. Some of us spend most of our lives looking back at yesterday and worrying about tomorrow. This is really uncomfortable. Sometimes it is so uncomfortable that we pick a path, any path, to escape from the discomfort. Sometimes we try to take all the paths at once. Sometimes we crawl under a blanket and pretend the old path is still open and there are no other paths at all.

This discomfort, uncertainty and fear can take up most of our time and energy. We don't get to where we think we should be or we don't get anywhere at all. Life is bleak and death is too scary to think about. So we stay stuck. We do not stop to think. We do not allow ourselves to feel. We just keep doing things. We keep running, because running is better than nothing; even if we are only running in circles.

Yes, life is hard and we all suffer, but we do not have to let it defeat us. We can choose to explore the paths, get a map and continue the journey.

Many bad things will happen over a lifetime and many paths will be blocked. The quality of the life we have is determined by the way we manage the barriers and the possibilities.

Each of us is unique and each of us is capable of choosing our paths. We have the task of responding to the hurdles and roadblocks. We create our own journey.

We can learn from others, but we must each travel our own road. We can help each other along the way, but the journey is ours. If we know ourselves and know what kind of world we live in, we are better able to create joy and choose healthy paths. When we wander from the paths, we lose sight of our essential selves and lose touch with the reality of the world around us.

When something bad happens, we must stop running long enough to hear the messages coming from inside and outside of ourselves. These messages usually tell us we are lost and need to get back on our own path.

Take the L.Q. Test now!

When we know more about ourselves and our world, we are better able to respond positively to the challenges and opportunities that we meet. If we trust that something good lies ahead, we are able to keep going and explore the possibilities. The knowledge and strength we acquire on each step of the journey prepares us for the next steps. If we learn from the hurdles and barriers we are better able to proceed. Most of the time we find great joy in the process. Other times we let hurdles and barriers stop us in our tracks; then we find much fear and suffering.

Life is a journey. We can focus on the barriers or we can focus on the open road. The open road is better.

The journey of life is not that different from other trips we have taken. When we go on a long trip we make a plan, take a map, a means of transportation, some food , some clothes and something to pass the time.

On this journey we want to take certain things to help us on our way:

WE WANT SOMEONE TO LOVE, WHO WILL LOVE US IN RETURN.

WE NEED TO LOVE AND BE LOVED.

Father and Son
Runner

WE WILL WANT SOMETHING TO DO.

WE NEED MEANINGFUL WORK.

WE WILL WANT SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN.

WE WILL WANT SOMETHING TO HOPE FOR.

Bird
angel

NO MATTER HOW BAD THINGS GET, WE NEED TO BELIEVE THAT WHAT WE DO MATTERS; THAT WE CAN DO SOMETHING TO MAKE LIFE A LITTLE BIT BETTER.

WE NEED TO LOOK BACK WITH PRIDE AND LOOK FORWARD WITH HOPE. WE WILL WANT A HEALTHY SENSE OF HUMOUR.

WE WILL WANT SOMETHING TO HOPE FOR.

car

Laughter enhances every part of the journey. A laughter first aid kit is a must for all weary travellers!

A sense of humour helps us through the rough spots and makes the good spots even better. The ability to laugh is a sign that we are on our path and that we are living healthy lives.

Healthy humour is a symptom of physical, emotional and psychological well being. Laughter eases fear, reduces stress and brings greater self awareness. It brings people together and enriches all aspects of life.

Humour is everywhere. Look for it. Create it. Spread it around. Set a goal to laugh at least 100 times a day. Laughter helps us to get that foot out of the past. It helps us to get over the hurdles and the barriers. It helps us transcend crises and create opportunities.

Want an opportunity to test your ability to laugh at life. Take the L.Q. Test now!


RECOMMENDED READING

Chopra, Deepak. (1989). Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine. New York: Bantam.

Dyer, Wayne. (1989). You'll See It When You Believe It. New York: Avon.

Freud, Sigmund. (1960). Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious. New York: Norton. English translation originally published in 1905.

Fulghum, Robert. (1986). All I Really Need to Know I Learned in K

indergarten. New York: Ivy Books.

Greenburg, Dan and Marcia Jacobs. (1986). How to Make Yourself Miserable for the Rest of the Century. New York: Random.

Greenwood, Michael and Peter Nunn. (1992). Paradox and Healing: Medicine, Mythology and Transformation. Victoria, B.C.:Meridian.

Hay, Louise. (1984). You Can Heal Your Life. Santa Monica: Hay House.

Jevne, Ronna Fay. (1994). The Voice of Hope: Heard Across the Heart of Life. San Diego: LuraMedia.

Kipfer, Barbara. (1990). 14,000 Things to be Happy About. New York: Tarcher Publ.

Klein, Allen. (1989). The Healing Power of Humour. Los Angeles: Tarcher.

LeShan, Lawrence. (1977). You Can Fight for Your Life: Emotional Factors in the Causation of Cancer. New York: M. Evans & Co.

Little, Bill. (1977). This Will Drive You Sane. Minnesota: CompCare.

Persig, Robert. (1974). Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Toronto: Bamtam.

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