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    Living the Laughter Lifestyle: Starting Over

    By Karen Williams, M.Ed.

    Instead of saying, ‘I’m damaged, I’m broken, I have trust issues,’ say ‘I’m healing, I’m rediscovering myself, I’m starting over.” Horacio Jones (, Author, Broken Vision

    As a woman of a certain age, I am getting to be quite reflective these days. It seems to me that I’ve spent a good part of my life accumulating stuff. Lately, I find that I am seized with huge urges to liberate myself from some of the accumulation, and it’s not just the physical and material stuff. It’s the mental and emotional baggage as well. The challenge is simply getting started … and starting over.

    One of the many lessons I’ve learned from performing stand-up comedy for over three decades is the healing power of laughter. Laughter has the power to root you in the present moment, freeing you from thoughts of the past while liberating you from making projections about the future. When you laugh, you are in the here and now, and being in the present is a great way to begin anew, moment by moment.

    While that process sounds simple, there may be emotional wounds and mental hang-ups that get in your way. For example, I had an interaction with my mother that triggered some feelings for me about feeling loved. As the oldest of seven children, I had a great deal of responsibility, often serving as a surrogate parent in my family of origin. I accepted the added responsibility, relished my position in the family with pride, and manifested the classic “over-achiever” personality that often comes with such positioning.

    The pervasive emotional underpinning that also settled into my psyche is that I felt significant only when I was “doing” for others. I felt that simply “being” me was not worthy of love from my parents, especially my mother. When I was triggered recently, I lashed out and accused Mom of only thinking of herself. Yet, based on the work I’ve done on myself over the years, I knew that I had to stay in the conversation no matter how uncomfortable I felt. Also, I did not want to be blameful nor overlook the peace and harmony that we’d been able to mutually create over the years.

    The beauty of this challenging interaction with my mother is that it led me to state what I needed, and more importantly, what I wanted from her. It was as simple as asking her to call me and to ask me how I am, rather than our phone contact to be initiated by me. My mother heard me, and the very next day she laughingly called me and said with giggles in her voice, “How are you?” I returned the laughs and giggles, and our talk proceeded from there. I was so proud of Mom, and pretty happy with me too!

    That this interaction took place at a time when I am seriously working on letting go of furnishings and other material possessions as I renovate my home is no small coincidence. I learned that I don’t have to get rid of everything. Rather, I can embrace the treasures in my life, choose to cherish the many gifts I have, and let go of what no longer serves me without guilt or remorse. Starting over can be joyful!

    I can start over by changing the way I view my life and by deciding what is of real value to me right now. I am enjoying seeing my life with new eyes and refreshed vision. I’m healing and I’m starting over.

    © 2017 Karen Williams

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