Wednesday, February 29, 2012


We’ve been saying lately “Elva’s laughing in heaven”. “Elva’s bringing laughter to heaven.” But actually laughter is heaven. And Elva’s been doing it for years. With a small core group of us, 10 years in fact, as one of the pioneers of Laughter Yoga in Washington State.

Elva loved our whole laughing thing!

Blessings on your journey home Elva.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Edmonds, Community & Laughter

I laugh regularly with a bunch of retired guys at a café in Edmonds.

They like me because I’m a girl and I make them laugh. And I like them, well, because they make me laugh. Led by the charismatic 90-year old Elmer, joined by Dennis, Ed, and the authentic card-carrying comedian Capt Phil, and whoever else drifts in, we have a grand time.

Edmonds is all about community.

Through my friend Sandy, who is so much fun because she is an eternally positive spirit, I am now considered a regular at the Walnut Street Café. And my total life laughter has significantly increased because of it. I laugh so much here I call it the Walnut St Laughter Club.

I almost fell off my seat in shock the first time I visited this café. While I was seated outside waiting for my friend, the nice older couple sitting next to me spontaneously struck up a conversation. Eventually they drag John outside to meet another native Bostonian and while he and I are yakking East Coast, Umit and his son scoot by engaging us in more laughs. By the time my friend arrives, I am so well integrated, she does not even recognize me.

Edmonds is all about community.

Where there’s community – there’s laughter.

(But don’t tell anyone because Bruce doesn’t want everyone moving up there invading their idyllic life.)

Photo: my friends Elmer and Sandy

Monday, February 20, 2012

Wild and Wonderful!

The Laughter Club has been particularly wild lately – due to the infusion of energy from the new Meet-Up members. And for a few other reasons.

We’ve almost doubled our attendance. Some boisterous new men have arrived. And me, well I’ve simply poured more passion into it. If that’s possible.

At one point last meeting a new woman leaned over and asked me, “Is it always like this?” To which I responded, “Well lately, yes!”

This same woman later called me “ one darling fearless leader”. I love it.

I lost my grip on 3 separate occasions. My laughter spiraled out of control, making it hard to lead, until I regained my composure. A true indication that our “intentional laughter” becomes quite real.

I created Phinney Laughter Club as my public service, so that anyone and everyone can come and try Laughter Yoga. Beyond that people pay me to lead programs in other varied settings. Honestly they do. I laugh for a living. And I educate people about laughter.

But at Phinney Laughter Club there’s very little lecturing. Mainly we laugh! And all for no reason!

Photo: Stock.xchnge

Friday, February 17, 2012

Super Mario

Integrity is on the rise!

How do I know? By the startling fact that Mario Monti is Prime Minister of Italy and Silvio Berlusconi isn’t. Amazing. They couldn’t be more different.

But this blog isn’t about politics, it’s about laughter. So let’s look at the laugh.

Or the smile. Mario’s is all about authenticity. Silvio’s is all about smirking.

Dostoyevsky said “If you wish to get to know a man, watch him laugh. If he laughs well, he’s a good man.”

Mario Monti is a good man.

Photos: Wikimedia: Monti – not quite fully laughing/Berlusconi - quite fully smirking

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Friend Bill Gough

My friend and fellow writer Bill Gough passed away recently.

Bill was a retired newspaper man, most of his years spent at The Seattle Times. Their obituary calls him "a keen observer, a graceful writer". I met Bill in a writing class and was immediately and forever a fan of his great writing. Bill could do all kinds of writing with skill and ease, including humor.

In tribute I share a bit of it here:

“It’s clear that it is time that you learned the difference between it’s and it is, isn’t it?

But first we all have to learn when to say “lie” when we mean “lay” and vice versa. The first rule of this anomaly is to say the following line 5,000 times before laying down for sleep. Oops, I mean “before lying down”. Only hens lay eggs. The rest of us lie when we say “lie” eggs. (Or something like this..) Just remember, we lie down and once we are lying down it is nice to be laying there.”

Truth be told I’m not sure if this is original or not, but it’s (oops I mean its) style is pure Bill.

We’ll miss you Bill!

Photo: Stock.xchnge

Sunday, February 12, 2012


“Love may make the world go round, but it’s laughter that keeps us from getting dizzy.”

Photo: Laughter Yoga International

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Memory of Laughter

My mother passed away several years ago on Valentine’s Day – surrounded by love.

The best memory I have of her is when we laughed together like two teenage girls. I can’t remember a single thing that we were laughing about, only that we would get on that roll of giggling that only girls can do. Unlike myself my mother didn’t laugh often, but when she did, it was so nice.

Laughter is bonding. It brings people together like nothing else. Comedian Victor Borge said “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” When you laugh with someone you feel instantly connected. I have laughed with total strangers who, in that one joyful instant, become like close friends. I believe it’s because laughter opens the heart. Anger, stress, hurt, irritation and sadness melt away. In the healing moment of a laugh, our spirits give way to feel the connection we all have with one another as human beings.

Robert Provine, in his book Laughter: A Scientific Investigation, explains his theory that laughter developed in our species as a bonding mechanism. It’s a way for a parent and baby to connect before the development of language. Or a way of diffusing tension between strangers who don’t share the same cultures.

Laughing with my mother is the memory I cherish the most. In and between our many differences, we were at our best when we laughed.

Photo: Nancy

Monday, February 6, 2012

Love and Laughter

Laughter is the glue that binds. I say it every Valentine’s Day. Relationships need laughter. It’s crucial.

I once had a partner with whom I shared my morning laughter ritual – 2 minutes of laughter in the mirror first thing every day. Whenever he joined me, it was a guarantee we would have a particularly wonderful day together. For when you start your day laughing, it’s very hard to get irritated, aggravated, or annoyed at the one you love. All you remember is how much you enjoy each other. All you feel is the love.

Try it this Valentine’s Day. I guarantee positive results.

Photo: Stock.xchnge

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Smile Awhile

"Smile awhile for when you smile another smiles and soon there’s miles and miles of smiles because you smiled."

Photo: Stock.xchnge