Some of us have no fear of heights and others like me have to build up the nerve at the sight or thought of high places. I’m thinking of this and having a good chuckle at myself. I am looking at a picture of myself, sitting on top of a cliff, pretending to take in the spectacular view. I remember getting up there feeling the discomfort of fear and eventually calmed myself down as I soaked in the beauty of the magnificent gorge. This adventure was a challenge for me, but the amazing views and the sense of achievement was my reward for overcoming fear, even if only for that moment. As Prasad Mahes said, “The mind is like water. When it’s turbulent, it’s difficult to see. When it’s calm, everything becomes clear.”
I can remember as a young child, there was always turbulent times, whether it was violence, hunger, the chaos of family matters and societal issues. In our community and in our family circles humour always helped us cope and brought about clarity and calmness. Even with all the problems, there was always joking and laughter. As a family we don’t just laugh with one another but we also laugh at each other. My mom is the “queen” when it comes to providing us with material for laughing at her and with her. She keeps us entertained by saying things that sounds almost correct but not quite. We even have a book named “Ma’s sayings” and this book is enthusiastically updated by her loving grandchildren. Over the years we have been kept quite entertained by these sayings. Just to mention a few: Gripe-water Commons instead of Brightwater Commons, cranberry jam is gran-berry jam, chamomile tea, is ca-mela tea. On a lighter note and not taking the seriousness away from the dreaded disease, her latest new words are “co-vis, co-vo and co-dy” and yes you’re right, if you guessed that she was referring to Covid-19. We learn well from our mother tongue and I often find myself saying things that’s incorrect too. My children will often correct me and of course they will laugh at me too. I comfort myself, knowing that it’s a family trait and cannot help laughing that this will most probably be passed on for generations to come.
In my experience, not only does humour bring calmness but I find myself remembering things especially if it was related to me in a humorous way. I gather that this is the humour effect which is a psychological phenomenon that causes people to remember information better when they perceive information as humorous. I am reminded of a story related during a church service. It was about a mom who had her two sons fight over two apples. She told them “Jesus would have taken the smaller apple. So, the older brother said to the youngest, okay you be Jesus , you be the least.” The lesson to be learned in the humorous story is to be like Jesus, we must love each other and be willing to forgive. I remembered it and the lesson learned because it made me laugh.
Other ways that I bring calmness to my soul is by walking in the garden, taking walks in the neighbourhood and looking at photos of nature highlighting the beauty of the world, especially in this time when travelling is limited. I do yoga and mindfulness activities to manage emotional turmoil such as stress and anxiety. I also cry and laugh often enough and I’m convince that it is very good for everyone.
Let’s challenge ourselves and tackle our fears and prevail in spite of adversity. Notice where you are right now and what is happening in the moment rather than getting caught up in the what might happen.We can overcome our challenges byallowing our minds to grow. Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t.