Look at the perfect technique!
My friend Rich invited some friends over his house for a Jam session, but Henry got sick and they couldn't play at his house. So I told him to move the party over my RV and the party was on. First, Rich and Eric showed up and I wasn't sure if any others would come. I'd met Eric a week before at Kurt's party, and we started picking a little and then the main band showed up. Shawn and Mark are from the bluegrass band "Mother Corn Shuckers" and they've been playing together for 30 years. Robert came to play and a few others almost made it. We had 4 guitarists, 1 banjo and me on harmonica and dancing!
Shawn has written many of the songs and he has some humorous and poignant lyrics. The one I remember the most is about being so low that he going down in a submarine. The Shuckers have lots of originals and they're all fun. I hadn't heard such good bluegrass since I left the mecca of Asheville, NC. The Shuckers regularaly have a dance off at their concerts and I did my best to dance like whitey in the
video section of the blog.
I hadn't told the band that it was my birthday, but Grace reheated the molten chocolate lava cake with ice cream and some sweet central coast strawberries. A definite crowd pleaser and we gave the band a little break to indulge. I got to see the whole band play at SLO Down Pub last Friday, but at my Birthday concert, I got to listen to the words and have a private session by the campfire. We're going to have another jam session on the beach when we return from Europe.
I saw one of our neighbors in the trailer park watching from afar. I went over and invited Sam over for a closer listen. Sam really enjoyed the pickin, meeting the band and the birthday cake that Grace offered. He liked it so much that he brought us a loaf of Jalapeno Cheese bread to repay the favor. The RV park has a 10pm curfew, so we moved inside after that. Grace cooked up some dumplings and the hungry musicians ate the plate up quick.
I had a great birthday thanks to Grace and the guys having a great session.
The engineering work I do is pretty serious. You don't talk about your feelings much. You talk about math and science, processes and parameters. When I'm in a meeting with all engineers, we rarely laugh and we stay in our heads - trying to solve problems and come up with solutions.
I also am a member of the Mankind Project and this is a 180 degree shift from my job. I've been in MKP for over 2 years now and we do talk about emotions and how we feel. Life is hard and MKP is a caring place where men get the support they need. You can find out more about it here: www.mkp.org.
MKP men usually meet on a weekly basis and you could call it a men's circle. I hadn't gone to MKP since I left KC last fall. I've been going to meetings for 4 weeks in a row now on the Central Coast of California and it is very meaningful to me. We had a unique experience the second night I was there when Bob Banner came and lead us through an hour of laughter yoga. Bob is very active in the
community and used to lead film festivals in SLO and has lived in psycho-spiritual communities (religious communes) for several years. He's found his new calling in laughter yoga and has become a certified teacher. He has a mellow way of leading classes and I have never laughed so much in all my life. Bob aided us in making Laughter Yoga a very enjoyable experience.
Bob isn't an unusually funny guy or anything, but he makes you laugh - literally. He introduced us to the exercises of laughter yoga where you make yourself burst out in laughter for extended periods of time. It's mainly acting for me, but natural or fake laughter is supposed to have the same healthy properties on your body. While you don't do poses like in yoga, you do leave the exercises feeling good. Afterwards, it's very easy to smile and I find myself laughing more. Who couldn't use a good laugh?
My first thoughts on doing laughter yoga was that it is a misnomer since you don't really do yoga in the western sense. Laughter yoga started in India though and yoga is more about meditation and breathing there. When I was in Kathmandu,
I looked into a yoga class and they told me that they didn't do poses. It's mainly about controlling the breath. Repeated laughter definitely controls the breath and it does make you silly after a while. When you laugh hard enough like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins - one of my all time favorite movie scenes - you do get an elevated level of oxygen in your blood and you feel different. After 20-40 minutes of laughter, my belly and diaphragm had a good workout and we layed down to laugh some more. After a while, Bob sent us through a deep meditation and I felt very relaxed, peaceful and happy.
A couple of nights later, I took Grace to another one of Bob's Laughter Yoga classes at a a lady's home in SLO. This was a mixture of men and women this time and the results were the same. Grace and I had a good laugh and felt great afterwards with a ready smile and handy laugh.
After 2 successful sessions, Grace and I signed up for an all day seminar that featured Laughter Yoga. The seminar was at Bob's house in the country and 8
people showed up. We started out by introducing ourselves and laughing after each thing you said. I said: My name is Scott - Ha Ha Ha Ha. I live in an RV - Ha Ha Ha.... I write things for other people - Ha Ha Ha. It was a very relaxing way to introduce yourself and the group immediately felt comfortable. I could feel the levity in the room.
Bob lead us through another laughter yoga session as well as writing, ecstatic dance and deep conversation. The hit of the day was definitely Laughter Yoga though and all of our conversations kept going back to that. Some people do it over the phone and this is a great outreach activity to old folks homes, hospital, cancer patients and anyone who needs a good laugh. Who doesn't?
There are many YouTube videos and websites on Laughter Yoga and so much more.
Check out this video from the Today Show about it:
If you want a good laugh, try this out!
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