Well, well, well. It is the time for New Year resolutions. Do you have any?
I typically don’t make many resolutions, seeing as research shows a majority of people typically give up on these resolutions in the first few days. Even so, while I was pondering my resolution for 2012, a dear friend told me she knew a good one for me. Of course my ears perked up as I have a lot of respect and admiration for this person. My response … “Yeeees?”
Ever since she told me that this has been playing in my psyche and meditations. Laugh more. Laugh more?
I know I can be quite a serious person much of the time, focused on goals, work at hand and the foundations I support. My dear son Tariq always told me to have more fun and work less. He would tell me, “Dad – you are trying to be too perfect. Play more, laugh more!” Of course Tariq was blessed with a great sense of humor and laughed very easily. He would crack jokes at the drop of a hat and create levity even in some somber moments. For those of you who know me, you can tell that gene did not come from me.
Though quite serious now, I was not always that way. I remember in my youthful days, we children would laugh up a storm. One of my uncles and his friend were great humorists, and I remember many days when I laughed so hard my stomach actually hurt. That has not happened in quite a long time. With this awareness, I decided to go on a little inquiry to find what happened to my laughter…
What I have discovered is that after Tariq died in 1995, I grieved hard for a good 3 and ½ years. I did not have any social life and spent most days by myself reading, writing, meditating and walking. At times, I would walk six miles in the morning and six miles in the evening, with a trip to the gym in between. Though very thin, I would overdo my workouts to the point everything started to hurt.
During this period my laughter went away.
After four years I met a new lady in the Washington, DC area and we started to date. While out one night with some of her friends, I cracked a joke and we all laughed. Me too! After letting out this laugh I immediately covered my mouth wi
th my hands, as if to say, “Oh my God.” She asked me, “Azim, are you OK?”
I said to her I was having a great time. She asked, “So why did you cover your mouth?”
After 13 years, I still recall my response. “It felt very strange to laugh as I have not laughed for 3 and ½ years.”
To you readers, I am asking for some help me. I need to know what keeps you laughing and how do you sustain that laughter?
I do agree that laughter is the best medicine. I remember reading a London Times article many years ago written by Deepak Chopra. Titled “Laugher is Good for the Immune System,” the article so fascinated me that I made 100 copies and sent it to friends. Chopra made the point that when we laugh we create this magical hormone called interleukin 2, which has amazing healing properties and is able to heal most all diseases and ailments. To make this hormone in a lab costs hundreds of thousands for a very small amount. When we laugh we make millions of dollars worth of this magical hormone for free.
I remember my maternal grandma always had a smile irrespective of what was going on in her life. She lived to her nineties and died very peacefully, smiling.
So I am determined to learn to laugh more. I shall make it a plea; I shall make it a resolution. I shall make it a joy.
My very best and loving wishes to you and your loved ones for an outstanding 2012 – full of love, happiness, blessings and a ton of laughter!