If you had to make a list of all the things that made you want to be with the people you have chosen in your life, what would be on it? Is it that they are good-looking, know all the best places to go, are they super smart or really generous, is it physical chemistry? What makes you pick up the phone for one person and let it go to voicemail for another?
When I asked myself this question my answer came as quite a surprise. All the things I thought were important to me, weren't. There was only one thing I just couldn't do without -- laughter.
Victor Borge said: "Laughter is the shortest distance between two people." I believe this is true, but I would like to add that it is also the distance between how they see the world, and that distance can be very far or surprisingly close. Somehow, I know if a person can laugh with me, if we find the same things funny, we share some strange thread in the world.
My sister, whom I speak with every day, never fails to belly laugh on every call. I call her when my day is hell because I know she will turn my biggest problems into an absurd cackle and that will often be the highlight of my day. My sister is but one place where I find the thread of laughter.
As a single woman, I have had the great fortune of spending time with many wonderful men. Of course, as "open-minded" and committed to "unconditional" love as I might be, I certainly have my list of what makes me say "yes" to that second drink or, more importantly, that second date.
It is certainly wonderful when these men are well put-together, interesting, do a little yoga and can afford to buy a drink! But oddly, the thing I find makes me say "yes" to the second anything is our ability to laugh together. I would trade any worldly desire for a hearty belly laugh.
At Reflections yoga studio where I teach, we laugh often. It's what gets us through the hard times, the absurd, and what brings us all together. We laugh at the day, ourselves, the crazy world of yoga. Laughter gives us perspective and helps us not take anything too seriously, including ourselves. When laughter and yoga are attempting to help move through the world with ease and lightness, yoga itself, can be taken far too seriously. I can either get angry at the lady who decided to step on my foot while she cut in line to put away her yoga mat, or I can see myself in her and laugh as I think, "I'm glad I'm not as stressed out as she is -- at least for today."
When I think about getting older and all my milestones have been turned, my hair is shiny grey and I am sitting in my rocking chair, I hope the thing that will fill those contemplative years will be my ability to laugh about the stories of my past and what lies ahead in the precious days to come. I will see the irony that is life and turn to whatever poor one is sitting next to me and laugh about it all! We will share our strange thread and feel fortunate that we have someone special to share it with. Money, careers, and looks won't matter then. Perhaps we will see life as an extra-long sitcom with an especially hilarious laugh track of our own and be glad to have great friends to share it with.
"Laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life." -- Hugh Sidey
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