I maintain my gaze for a prolonged time in complete disbelief that someone who lives within 12 feet of my apartment door would be so unwilling to even say hello. After one year I did succeed in getting my next door neighbor to exude the briefest of hellos. But no smile. Never a smile.
In church, a very liberal church I sometimes frequent, it can be equally as hard to make eye contact. For to speak to someone first you’ve got to make eye contact.
Walking down the street, I long ago accepted the fact that everyone looks down, or away, or at their smart phone.
There’s a name for it now: The Seattle Freeze. There are articles written about it. It’s helped. I’m not alone in finding this behavior very odd. The Seattle Anti-Freeze Meet-Up has over 1000 members.
Community is intrinsic to my nature. It’s the first thing I set about to create wherever I go. For me community is part of being human. Apparently not so for everyone.
It makes sense that I am in the business of laughter yoga. In laughter we connect.
It makes no difference if we’ve only seen each other for the first time mere moments ago or if we’ve known each other for years. We connect on a deep level. On an ecstatic level. Joy is the name of our game.
I’d like to drag all my apartment neighbors there and see how they fare. In fact, they would probably do okay. I’ve been doing this for 10 years now and the truth is that once I begin a laughter session, demonstrating each laughter exercise with my own abundant laugh, most everyone is off and running. And we’ve got a laughter session going.
I learned very early on that almost anyone will laugh. Not everyone, but almost everyone. It’s the joy that seduces them, the mirror neurons in their brains that can’t resist, and the group energy that carries them along. And perhaps experiencing the very human act of connecting with other humans.
I propose Laughter Yoga as the healing antidote to the dreaded Seattle Freeze.
Photo: Laughter Yoga International