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Lighten Up. A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs...jolted by every pebble on the road.- Henry Ward Beecher Happiness is not something that falls from the sky. Paraphrasing Hobson from the movie Arthur: Happiness is a tie you cannot steal. Happiness is a tie you are going to have to work for. Like you, I have days where it is hard to find my way to happiness, or to contentment, or even to the blank page. Even though there are other times when I am so swiftly in the flow I think I will surely ascend this plane. But true and lasting happiness is not subject to the vicissitudes of weather, hormones or circumstance. It is a matter of training the mind and the heart. It is a matter of teaching ourselves to laugh, of practicing light-heartedness, of remembering to keep checking our perspectives and to travel a little lighter. All day, every day, Life hands us countless opportunities to laugh. But mostly we see them as small failures and frustrations. From the unwelcome alarm clock to the sink full of dishes, the crowded calendar to the congested commute, we wish away so much of our days. Instead of embracing the poetry, absorbing the small details, and learning to laugh at ourselves more often. I think the next best thing to solving a problem is finding some humor in it.- Frank A. Clark I have a three-year-old who is a master teacher. Minute by minute he challenges me to walk my talk. Often Ghandi-esque in his resolute defiance, he forces a constant need for a new perspective. Whether it is his endless distractions when time is already short or his refusal to be controlled, no matter the method, he is bent on breaking my will and on helping me to recognize the downright absurdity of my carefully constructed self-image. Love is as close a word as has been discovered to describe the magnificent magic of children. Free of social constructs and unburdened by the overstuffed baggage of adulthood, children are 2 Reno 96 RenoTahoe TahoeTonight Tonight

Thomas Lloyd Qualls

able to simply be far better than almost all yogis I’ve met. They challenge our well-structured lives and even our best intentions for their well-being. They effortlessly deconstruct our worldviews and constantly pull off our adult masks. Somehow children just know that the very things which you believe protect you are also your greatest barriers to freedom. But you don’t have to be a child to adopt a more playful mindset. One thing I’ve noticed is almost all adults are really just children with mortgages. I recognize the same tantrums in them as I do in my son and his friends. So maybe we are not so far from our inner child as we may think. Why not take advantage of this fact to embrace a more childlike view of the daily world? There is a lot of talk these days about enlightenment. As I’ve said before, enlightenment may be the understanding that, while fairies are probably not going to fly out of your butt and grant your every wish, you are an infinitely more powerful being than you probably realize. And every thought you have and every word you speak help to create your reality. Sometimes you will be happy and sometimes you will be sad. Because experiencing emotion is part of being human. But Life is often absurd. And it is damn near impossible to deal with that fact unless you have trained yourself to laugh about it. More often. When we can laugh more often at ourselves and at the absurdity of life’s theatre, we begin to have more compassion for our fellow humans, for their struggles, and for ourselves. In other words: Absurdity is the soul of compassion. Thomas Lloyd Qualls Ha! TQ © 2012 Thomas Lloyd Qualls, all rights reserved.

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