"Who told you its not okay to laugh?"

This is my friend Greg and I at Christmas one year.  I don't remember why I was laughing so hard in this picture, but the fact that you can see the back of my throat must mean it was really funny.  Laughter is such a wonderful outlet for healing and I need to remind myself that it is okay to laugh.  To laugh more.  To laugh harder.  And to laugh often.

When I set out on this journey, I don't think I was necessarily prepared to address what was going on deep down on the inside... I figured I could just tweak a few things and get right back into a groove... one that I know I've been in before and am convinced I will find again.  What I've discovered recently - is that there is a lot more going on than I wanted to acknowledge... a series of feelings, events, emotions that I am allowing to hold me back.

I was told by a wise woman last week "Be kind to yourself."  This was after almost an hour of tears welling up and bursting out over my "loss" of running, marathoning, mentoring, and involvement and interactions with like minded fitness individuals.  Sometimes you don't realize how important some things are until they are gone.  I had attached what I thought was a superficial sentiment to my running regimen.  I have since learned that there was something deeper... there was some other connection, bond, outlet - whatever it was... with me, with running, with other runners.  And when I moved away from all of that - I had it likened to me as though I had lost a very close family member.  This realization, the thought of it still strikes me, still takes my breath away.  Those words, "Be kind to yourself", hang heavy in my mind every morning... every night, every time I go to put food in my mouth.  And with every negative comment I make about myself... even in jest.

When I signed up to go back to school for massage therapy - I viewed it as "something to do."  I felt it would open up new doors, introduce me to new people... and simply be another option in this extremely uncertain time of finances and employment in our household.  Little did I know, I was about to enter into some of the most incredible therapy sessions I have ever experienced.  On a surface level, I've met some beautiful people - beautiful on the inside, each with their own struggles.  Their own stories.  Their own life's path.  I've relieved the pain in my lower back that has prohibited certain workouts at CrossFit.  I've learned little tips and tricks that have helped alleviate other nagging bodily issues... to be expected from massage therapy school, right?  What I wasn't prepared for was the emotional releases.  The identification that there is more inside of our bodies than just blood, tissue, cells, and bones.  We are pack rats of emotional baggage... encounters, experiences, comments whether from others or ourselves - we unconsciously hoard it and manifest our reactions to all of it in physical form.

In class yesterday, my partner was providing the massage... actually, she was merely supporting my upper spine in her hand - there was no movement taking place.  For some reason, I was struck with a case of the giggles.  At first, I felt it was ridiculous that I was laughing and tried my hardest to stifle the choking chuckles that kept bubbling up out of my mouth.  The harder I tried to hide my laughter, the harder I would laugh.  My partner, Heather, was a good sport - she refused to stop the session... she knew, better than I, that there was some type of healing going on.  After a few good minutes of deep down belly laughs, some wheezing, some giggles and a lot of putting my hand over my mouth... our teacher, Gary, asked me "Who told you its not okay to laugh?"  I couldn't answer.  I'm still thinking about this one.  We learned after the session was complete that during massage, laughter is a release... right behind laughter there is often tears.

As I was gathering my things and preparing to leave for the day, Gary looked at me and said "Spend some time being good to yourself."  He was right: soon after laughter comes tears.  Twice in one week.  Twice in one week I was told to be nice to myself.  Do I wreak of self-destruction?  In one word - yes.  I've reached a new level of consciousness this week... through these experiences.  I'm destroying my efforts with food.  I'm punishing myself for something.  What that is, I don't know yet.  On the surface, I can PR my lifts at CrossFit... I can improve my pull-up attempts, but it will all be for naught if I don't truly take care of the inside first.  Beyond the nutrition, beyond the diet.  I need to focus on my unconscious mind - the storage shed of all my baggage that just doesn't need to be in there anymore.

My goal for this coming week is to truly be kind to myself.  No negative self talk.  No more fat jokes about myself.  Humorous?  Sometimes.  Self-destructive?  Absolutely.  No more punishing my body with bad food choices.  No more negativity from within.  I will laugh more.  I will eat less.  I will learn to love the body that God gave me and treat it like the beautiful gift that it is.  It isn't mine to destroy.  This body is on temporary loan, it is the only one I get and its time to piece together the entire mind-body connection in the most loving, healthy way I can.

Now if you'll excuse me - I have some laughter I need to tend to.


  1. 1) you could have just asked me if there was ever any question that you have self-destructive tendencies;

    2) i will compile a list of all the people we encountered while growing up who told us it's not okay to laugh; and

    3) we will eat the list.