Remembering how to laugh

Wind blowing through the palm trees, San Agustinillo, Mexico
Remembering how to laugh 

One day it happened. 
I didn’t know it was going to. 
In fact, I had no idea how much it was needed. 
But, it did. 
Like a flash, on a camera or of lightening. 
I quit trying to control every little thing.
I simply let go of all that I was holding so tightly. 
I allowed the wind of joy to blow into my soul. 
And I remembered how to laugh. 

This poem is also part of a collection I put together called All the Shapes of Joy.

The Moon Speaking

 The Moon Speaking
 I remember that night, when I was full-on 
 in my shiny best, I got a glimpse of you moving 
 along the sandy shore. You caught my attention 
 as you skipped from spot to spot on the wet sand 
 where the gentle waves caress the earth. You were chasing 
 sand crabs. Whether teeny-tiny or the bigger ones, those 
 armored beings always beat your lumbering foot, like a giant \
 overtaking them, back into their little bitty holes. You
 giggled at their speed and spoke to them in laughter. When you 
 tired of your rollicking pursuit, you paused on the sand and 
 gazed out over the water to the horizon. Your spine 
 straightened like a tree in the summer sun and your chest 
 curved ever so slightly toward the sky, like a baby opening
 her mouth, hungry to be nourished, completely trusting 
 her mother. As if just noticing it’s the light on in the room 
 that is keeping things from being dark, you look my way. 
 As you lean back with your arms wide in a heart-centered kiss 
 of communion, I sense your imagination unfolding like a flower.
 In the mirror of my being, you see your power, your beauty 
 and strength. You claim the truth: how you simply need to be,
 emanating your light, in phases, not always glowing in your
 full glory because sometimes you need to rest. 

Click HERE for an audio recording of the poem.

This poem is part of an online collection I call All the Shapes of Joy.


Grandpa Garber, Mike and Me, 1975

I was inspired to write this poem when I read the suggestion in Happy: 50 Mindfulness and Relaxation Exercises to Boost Your Mood Every Day, where author Dr. Arlene K Unger suggests taking tickle time – remembering the giggles that arise when tickled and imagining being tickled. Well, I had no trouble with that – Grandpa Garber immediately showed up on my radar and took me back to wonderfully delightful days.

I love you, Grandpa Garber – thank you for all the joy you brought – and continue to bring – to our lives.

Don’t miss the bonus photo included at the end of this post.

 I see his jolly round face and his soft sweet 
 smile, and feel his regal and wise presence. 
 Mostly I remember his words infused 
 with a tenderness that flowed like a river
 from the wellspring of his heart. 
 He believed in serious work, spoiling us – 
 me and Mike - with $2 bills for good report cards. 
 He was a mischievous old devil, 
 short-sheeting our beds and teasing us
 with stories that made us sound like silly ducks. 
 But mostly he believed in the power of joy, 
 the power of fun and frolicking. 
 We play hide and seek for quarters 
 in his living room, and he sits on the floor 
 with us for a long game of monopoly. 
 Mostly what touches me is the tickling, 
 the way he would reach around 
 and put his big plump fingers gently in our sides, 
 and how we giggled and laughed and broke open 
 with big toothy smiles, our mouths open 
 like fish taking in water. 
 Remembering, I come alive, my spirit lifts
 and I find myself swimming gracefully 
 in the depths of life.  
Grandpa, Mike and I playing monopoly, 1975

This poem is part of an online collection I call All the Shapes of Joy.