Laughter – Emotional Pro

March 18th, 2006

My friend, Allen Klein, has made his living for several years teaching people about laughter! He appeared on my radio program more than a year ago to talk about his book, “The Healing Power of Laughter.” I was most grateful to have scheduled him, because I had traveled to Germany not long before his appearance, helping my sister, Keriac, to untangle herself from a bad situation where she appeared to be trapped and dying in a hospital in Stuttgart. With the help of my husband the surgeon (who coached me from home) and an angel, Dr. Hasenburg, a beautiful, intelligent and warmly empathetic doctor in the Frauenklinik who finally offered Keriac what she needed, I was able to get her recovered enough to come home to be with her family for the last months of her life. I was grateful to Allen, because I needed to read his book in prepartion for the show; it was exactly what I needed to help me focus in the right direction during that difficult trip. Look him up on the web:
I was a pretty sober kid, having gone through so much. I had to be careful about what I said and laughed at, since my father was critical and quick to respond with physical punishment. Serious, serious, serious, I was! In the 1960’s, when Laugh In first aired on television, my young husband and I watched it with Norma and Jim Wandesforde, our neighbors and mentors. Norma was a Social Worker who taught at the University of Washington School of Social Work. Jim was a Fine Artist trapped in the body and job of a Commercial Artist. At the time, Norma was in her mid 40’s; and I was in my early 20’s. I remember remarking to myself that Norma, supposedly older and more stodgy than me, was laughing out loud. The best I could muster, most of the time, was a demure smile! How ironic. Already in my early 20’s I had lost track of my ability to laugh. Norma had a lusty laugh. I modeled on her. Now I have a lusty laugh, too. It still doesn’t appear as freely as does the laughter of most people I know, but I am at least in the middle of the bell-shaped curve, now, instead of on the extreme end!
No longer am I afraid to comment, or to laugh. It is a great gift. When I spoke with Norma about it, all those years ago, she reminded me that pictures of aboriginal peoples in their native habitat usually shows them laughing. “It’s basic human nature to be happy,” she told me. I’m grateful to her for leading me back to my basic human nature! She taught me the lesson of laughter.

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