Skill is the answer!

So what we all want is love sweet love. That is our continual goal. How do we regularly achieve that? Skill! Skill is the answer. We have heard that love is the answer but love is the goal! So who needs and deserves love? You do. Why? Descartes was close but missed it. I would say “We feel therefore we matter.” OK, so what parts of you need love? Well, there’s your body (your living vehicle for navigating this life). Then there’s your internal environment (your habitual thoughts, your brain’s operating system) Finally, there’s your external environment (your home, workplace, your friends, your neighbourhood, your planet!) Now it is of course our planet, not just your planet. (This whole dichotomy of you and me is ultimately an illusion anyway.)

As I see it, there are three skills we need to continuously achieve the goal of self (see above) love:

  • Skill at keeping your body fit. Exercising in a group looks to be most sustainable here.
  • Skill at keeping your will-muscle toned. (Research is revealing that our will power is just like a muscle – it can get flabby and it can get strained.)
  • Skill at keeping your internal compass functioning (Good to check it regularly to see if you are moving towards your goal of love.)

Now for each of these three skills, you can go about developing them in several ways:

  • Go it alone. This is tough but some (few) do succeed.
  • Learn and practice in a group of friends. (Can work but if you are all amateurs then you might learn some unskillful/damaging methods.)
  • Get a professional to train and motivate you personally. Can get expensive and the professional might just be a quack/charlatan.
  • Join a group led by a professional. The danger here is that you will get mentally lazy and just blindly trust your professional or even start to worship your professional. It’s important to find professionals you can trust (continually look at their results with themselves, you, and others) and it’s also important to keep them honest – while still respecting them. The best professionals are continuously improving themselves and staying open to learning from others, especially their clients.

I want to end by saying that being skillful is fun! Learning can also be fun. Yes becoming skillful takes discipline however the payoff is awesome! Do you want to be a rank amateur at living for the rest of your life? What are your thoughts?

Launch and Showing

Sound the trumpets! Announcement time! OK, I just wanted to mention that my new company Universal Laughter has been launched and the website can be found here:

I also want to mention that I am bringing the film Laughology to Vancouver. Here are the details:

Title: Laughology
Date: Dec 12, 2009
Time: Doors open at 2:30 pm and the fun starts at 2:40 with laughter warmup
Venue: Pacific Cinematheque (1131 Howe St)
Tickets: This is a non-ticketed event. You decide what you want to pay after the show. Partial proceeds to the Vancouver Laughter Yoga community.

Laughology, directed by Albert Nerenberg, is a hilarious ground breaking look at why laughter is contagious and the birth of the international laughter movement.

The National Post called Laughology “screamingly funny” and the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) called the film “revolutionary, highly recommended and a completely new way of looking at laughter.”


Universal Laughter
Laughter Yoga in Vancouver

Value Permanence

In childhood development, there is the stage of learning about Object Permanence. As humans there is another stage that we can pass though: Value Permanence. The idea here is that you are valuable, worthy, and lovable even when it might not appear to or feel so. To help us with moving this from head knowledge into body knowledge, there is a simple yet perhaps difficult exercise we can do. Please go get a piece of paper and a pen….. On the paper, write I AM _____ _____. So far so good. Now in the second blank, write WORTHY. Now comes what for me was the hard part. In the first blank, write ALWAYS. Breathe this truth in. Take your pen and underline the last two words. Repeat this as often as you need to in order to make this a part of your default world view.

Laughter Yoga University

If the world can have a McDonald’s University (sad but true) then why not a Laughter Yoga University? Indeed, why not? That’s the dream of Dr. Kataria (the inventor of Laughter Yoga.) This dream is coming true:

What has been a dream for the last five years is very soon becoming a reality for Dr Madan and his wife, Madhuri Kataria. Before the year’s end, they will throw open the gates to India’s first Laughter Yoga University.

Located at Ramnagar, about 50 kilometers outside Bangalore, laughter enthusiasts from across the world will have access to the specially designed courses which cover everything right from the basics of laughter yoga, to teachers training courses, stress management techniques and even applied courses in Ayurveda and Naturopathy.

But that’s not even the best part. At the very end of the article an awesome vision is revealed:

Besides the Bangalore university, Madan is also planning the country’s first ‘Laughter City’ — a township that encourages people from around the world to come together and form a community based on the essence of Laughter Yoga — singing, dancing, playing and laughter.

My bags are so packed! See here for the full article.

How to become an optimist

Research shows that life goes better for optimists. I used to be very pessimistic. I am changing. Here’s my plan:

  1. Limit your exposure to negative things. Seek out positive things.
  2. Cultivate optimistic friends.
  3. Be thankful. Write down one thing a day in a notebook by your bed.
  4. Exercise. Get some fresh air.
  5. Persevere. Don’t give up. Try a new way. Let go.
  6. Help others. Encourage them. Compliment them – genuinely.
  7. Listen to “positive” music. Dance. Sing.
  8. Laugh! Practice makes perfect.

For me the last item is key and I do this by participating in an awesome weekly Laughter Club. What are some of your ideas?