Laugh Out Loud

Some good reasons to laugh – laughter raises our heart rates, increases blood flow and lowers stress, thereby boosting our immune system, lowering blood sugar levels, and yes, even burning calories, though not enough to justify extra chocolate, sadly. And those are just some physical benefits.  What is more psychologically healing than bonding with others around something humorous?

Laughter Clubs, a form of yoga, began developing in the 1990’s and is now a movement with over 8,000 groups of people gathering around the world, usually in the morning in a park, to simply laugh as a form of healing. I haven’t been to one but maybe I’ll start one in my back yard! Apparently the human body cannot differentiate between unfeigned, spontaneous laughter and forced laughter. Whenever I pretend to laugh it always seems to turn into real laughter anyway. Haven’t we all experienced the contagion of uncontrolled laughter that sometimes catches us at the most inopportune moments?  I certainly hope you have!

It seems like the more we’re digitally connected to the rest of the world, the less connected we actually are to our neighbors and family. Could laughter be a common ground that leads to more conversation with those around us? Here are some digitally delivered ideas to get you started.

Funny cat video, with a classical twist

You can’t listen to this notated laughter without laughing. I’m taking bets…

Not-So-Serious-Music

I really hope you click on the links above, and start laughing so loudly that someone hears you and joins you in laughter without even knowing why. Today, October 18, is the feast day for Saint Luke, Evangelist and patron saint of healing on the liturgical calendar. Though we don’t have a lot of control over many things that affect our lives, finding more times to laugh is a wonderful gift we can give ourselves, and one that beckons those around us to an irresistible adventure towards healing.

Hahahahahaha,

Sonya

If you saw my note last week inviting you to a house concert, please know that we have had to postpone the concert.  My musical partner has had a health emergency in her family.  Stay tuned for a new date.

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This blog represents my attempt to put thoughts together on various things that seem to connect – in my mind anyway. More often than not new ideas first involve reaching back to what was, and I can only hope that the prehistoric San cave painting at the top of this page inspires all kinds of connections between old and new.

Feel free to pass this message along to anyone who might be interested. You can simply subscribe (look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the post) to get a reminder of new posts, or you can register with a user name and password in order to comment. If a community conversation comes out of this, all the better. We have so much to share and so much for which we can be grateful.

 

 

 

Going Home

I know something about immigration.  My father immigrated from India, my first husband came to the U.S. from Poland, my brother immigrated to Sweden, my in-laws were part of the Great Migration that so many African-Americans made from south to north in the 1940’s and 50’s, and the German and Scottish immigrants that make up my maternal half are well documented by a genealogically-minded uncle.  Immigration represents the most radical form of leaving home, and I saw, as these family members got older, how much childhood homes tugged on them.  Some part of them longed for a home they hadn’t been part of for a long time.

Going home is a theme that inspires a lot of literature, including St. Luke’s tale of the prodigal son.  A carefree young man leaves home, making his father sad and his brother angry, living a wastrel’s life, and then warmly welcomed back home when he tired of his dissipated life.  It was  story used in 1884 by a 22 year student named Claude Debussy, who entered the prestigious competition for the Prix de Rome with a brief work, L’enfant prodigue.  It was a challenge for him to compose a piece of music that was conservative enough to please an academic committee and yet still expressed his growing interest in a new musical language that incorporated the exoticism and folk sounds he had encountered in his travels.  An artistic language that came to be known as impressionism.  I’ve long wanted to do Debussy’s little one-act opera, which might more properly be categorized as a cantata, or more evocatively as a scene lyrique, and I will be joined by a wonderful cast of singers (Mary Shaffran, Andrew Brown, and James Shaffran) in a performance this coming Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church.L'Enfant Flyer

What I love about Debussy’s work, besides the shimmering hints of a musical style that would soon mature in works such as Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune and Clair de lune, is the prominence of a missing figure in St. Luke’s account…the boy’s mother.  Surely she anguished over her son’s absence as well.  This is a rare chance to hear this beautiful little gem and I hope you’ll join us on Sunday at 7:30 if you’re able.

The prodigal son does go home, celebrated and fussed over with great joy and feasting.  After all of his travels and experiences, I wonder if he really is able to be at home though.  The longing for a childhood home I have seen in my own family members was always accompanied by a realization that they couldn’t actually ever really go home.  Either because places and people changed, and what they remember as home didn’t exist anymore, or just as surely because they themselves had changed and weren’t the same person who once lived in that home.

We might feel sad at this inability to go back, or we might find peace when we look more deeply inside ourselves to find home within.  After all, at birth we are given a home of flesh and blood and mind.  We are told then that at death we are welcomed into an eternal home with God.  In between, our earthly homes are really shaped more by the people we love rather than the places we’ve lived.  So the prodigal son may have found home, upon his return, in the warmth of his parents’ embrace, but he will soon take his prodigal experiences with him to new homes.

 

Peace,

Sonya

Where I’ll be:

April 24 – performing L’enfant prodigue, Debussy’s one-act opera, with Mary Shaffran, James Shaffran and Andrew Brown, at Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church, Bethesda, 7:30 p.m. ($15 suggested donation)

May 22-August 14 I will be serving as a sabbatical replacement for the Music Director at St. John’s Norwood, 6701 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD

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This blog represents my attempt to put thoughts together on various things that seem to connect – in my mind anyway. More often than not new ideas first involve reaching back to what was and I can only hope that the prehistoric San cave painting at the top of this page inspires all kinds of new connections between old and new.

Feel free to pass this message along to anyone who might be interested. You can simply subscribe (look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the post) to get a reminder of new posts, or you can register with a user name and password in order to comment. If a community conversation comes out of this, all the better. We have so much to share and so much to be grateful for.