Last Sunday was Holy Humour Sunday in many Christian denominations. The tradition of designating the first Sunday after Easter as Holy Humour Sunday goes back to the Greeks in the early years of the church. For centuries Eastern Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant countries celebrated what was known as “Bright Sunday” with parties, practical jokes, singing, dancing and yes, even drinking. The idea of Humour Sunday came from early Christian thought that God had played a trick or joke on the devil by raising Jesus from the dead: “Risus paschalis — the Easter laugh,” the early Christians called it (http://www.newcelebrations.com/holyhumor.html).
“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.” ― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
This got me thinking. Last week I wrote about Patience, so why not write about Humour this week? Sometimes I think it is missing in our lives, which is a shame. Our lives seem to be driven by commitments and expectations placed on us by others. There is a great line in a Janis Ian song, “Between the Lines,” that says. “We live beyond our means on other people’s dreams. And that’s succeeding”. More than once have I been working with a client who is struggling with multiple commitments, trying to schedule a busy work life, often not allowing for any personal time. When I ask the question, “Where is your self-care time?” they stop, and often with stunned recognition, realize they are so focused on their business, they have not put any time aside just for themselves. Often humour is also missing from our schedules, setting aside time to relax and play. Going to the pub for a pint, watching a comedy on TV just for the hell of it.
“If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.” ― Robert Frost
I think it’s telling that a resurgence since the 90s of dedicating a Sunday to humour coincides with other humour practices like laughing yoga. According to Wikipedia, by 2011 there were more than 8000 laughter clubs in over 100 countries. We have all experienced changes in mood and spirit when laughing. There have been a few studies that have demonstrated real, measurable benefits to laughter. Huffington Post reported on a study done with seniors and how humour reduced stress levels. We all need a good laugh now and then. We especially need to have the ability and freedom to laugh at ourselves.
“Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age and dreams are forever.” – Walt Disney
This past week an English comedy icon, Ronnie Corbett, passed away. In his honour, and in the recognition of the importance of humour, I leave you with this video… enjoy!
“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning do to do afterward.” ― Kurt Vonnegut
John Whitehead, coaches individuals and organizations in becoming more effective by helping them improve their interpersonal communications, emotional intelligence and resiliency.
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