Humor is a Shortcut

Humor, leading to laughter, is a shortcut leading directly to compassion and love.

For as long as I can remember, when I wished on stars, I wished for peace, love, joy and laughter for the whole world. Laughter is another trigger that sparks love and leads to healing.

Except by accident, I am not really a funny person.

I’m drawn to the serious stuff but I noticed something when reading Anne Lamott’s book, Almost Everything: Notes on Hope. Anne is a very funny person, she’s known for it. She’s also deep. When she writes about her response to social media she wisely says, “I try not to compare my insides to their outsides, because this makes me much worse than I already am, and if I get to know them, they turn out to have plenty of irritability and shadow of their own.”

I love this. Her insight is profound and my understanding leads me towards compassion and love.

But then her writing makes me spontaneously and loudly burst into laughter because it is so humorous. She writes, about the same subject of comparing ourselves to others and judging ourselves harshly, “There is almost nothing outside you that will help in any kind of lasting way, unless you are waiting for a donor organ.”

And then she writes that all human beings are as worthy as the sparrows. “No one thinks, “That sparrow is kind of a loser, and boy, is that one letting herself go.”

Both of these passages made me burst out in laughter. I noticed that I felt lighter and relaxed. I understood her point and felt compassion and love in an immediate blast that I recognized as the love that leads to healing.

Humor, leading to laughter, is a shortcut leading directly to compassion and love.

There have been all kinds of scientific studies showing that people who laugh have less cardiovascular disease, and laughter therapy helped people with Parkinson’s have an easier time with activities of daily living.

 A four year old at our town swimming pool marched up to me and demanded,” Why are you laughing so much?” I told her I thought it was because I was a happy person.

I am not a funny person but I love to laugh. For me, laughter taps into the fireworks of my soul. Laughter shakes me up and leaves me open and ready for what is fresh and new. Humor does all this for us in a flash, an instant and a twinkle.

 It happens in a moment and has a lasting positive effect. Why don’t we all take this shortcut more often?

You can also read this article in my column in my local newspaper the Taos News. Last week I talked about how being on a team is an important part of success for healing.

2 thoughts on “Humor is a Shortcut

  1. I’ve been accused of using laughter as a “defense mechanism” but I’ve often felt it works to lighten an otherwise difficult moment.

    1. Sorry for such a late reply but I am still getting the hang of answering comments!! I think it is hard to argue with the results that happen with humor and laughter and that even if used as a defense mechanism can help in an immediate way.

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