Humor as a survival tool

Poking fun at  the circumstances that happen beyond control is one of the only ways that helps me reduce stress.  But it’s taken daily practice to see the humor and cultivate it.  I also have some great friends and 2 cats who also help me to get back on the ‘laugh track’ when I forget.

I used to be so much more serious, calm and controlled, quintessential people pleaser.  But when things would go awry, as they often do because, well, life is life, I realized that ‘trying to keep it together’ was making me into a malfunctioning pressure cooker, that would fizz, spill, and require way too much time ‘keeping clean’.

Then, one day, instead of blaming the world, or myself for the mess that had happened, I just started laughing at it.  “Wow, this is messy!  Look at this cooker, it’s baked itself!”  I chose to empty out the cooker, take a good look at myself, and realized I was done trying to control things to whatever standard I thought was best.  I turned that cooker into a flower pot, with wild colors painted on the outside.

Every day I find one, if not several things that I choose to see through my ‘funny glasses’.  This isn’t to say I don’t take my work in the world seriously, I see a lot of students and clients in both physical and emotional pain. I hold big compassionate space for that.

But I’m also known for ‘gently prodding’ when a person seems a little too stuck in their circumstance.  I’ll often encourage a client to exaggerate the issue, make it ludicrous.   I had a client who was fed up with not being honored in their work.  I asked her, “What if this situation dominated your whole world? What if absolutely everyone you met on the street just dissed you.  What if your whole family just said, ‘you are nothing’.

This might sound radical, but it’s actually a technique in Insight Reiki called ‘exaggeration’.  It might feel unpleasant for a few moments, but eventually, the discomfort expands to a place where it disperses.  It gets acknowledged and you just can’t hold on to it any longer.

Just like that giant pressure cooker with a Bam!  Pop!  explosion of sauce all over the place.  Now, ‘How does that feel?’  A few breaths, and then a sense of relief afterwards.  Maybe a little laugh at the whole circumstance.  “Wow, not as bad,” my client said, “there are people who aren’t respecting me, but it’s not everyone, just a couple people, and you know, they are idiots!  I don’t think they respect themselves”.

Ahhh, Insight Reiki, and a bit of humor, perfect together.

 

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