Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Grief doesn't have to be sad . . .

It can be fun.  And wacky.  And downright weird. 

That's what I learned from a grief counselor during an adult retreat last weekend put on by the Hemophilia Foundation.  

The grief counselor didn't say grief could be wacky and weird, per say, (she didn't have to, if you know what I mean), but the seminar did come with a warning.  

WARNING: participants may be subject to FUN! 

That's when Adam Lambert starting singing Mad World over and over in my head. 

How can I describe this grief counselor for you?  Hmmmmm . . . 

Picture this:  Boho-chic, minus the chic, plus a wide rimmed hot pink straw hat, plus a large black plastic Halloween chain draped around her neck. 

And props.  Lots of props.  

Not of the kudos variety, but of the plastic chain and viking hat variety. 

(People in Utah LUB object lessons).

She told everyone at the seminar that we were like vikings, except we didn't plunder and pillage. 

And then she got all compassionate on us.  "I don't know how you guys do it," she said.  "I don't know how you get out of bed each morning and breathe?  Some of you might wish you could just stop breathing.  Some of you probably wish you could commit suicide right now." 

(Is it just me, or would you feel a little awkward hearing that from someone in a viking hat?) 

I actually hadn't thought of suicide, but then she stuck a click-on light to her forehead and told everyone to find their heart light.  

I don't come up with this stuff, peeps, I just report it. 

She shared her grief counseling motto with us, which is Living Life Counts, but the Living Life part is in cursive and the Counts part is in Times New Roman.  

It was amazing the deep questions provoked by this seminar:

What does living life count towards? Do we get credit somewhere for living life? 

And why would her heart light be stuck on her forehead?  Wouldn't that be her head light? 

But these questions were nothing compared to the grand question provoked by the acronym she trademarked: MAAADYLA.  The grand question being:


MAAADYLA pronounced ("may-deal'-a") which if you're Canadian is like deal with it, eh?  Or if you're not Canadian you could pronounce the -a" like uhhhhhh . 

She trademarked this acronym because you never know when a Canadian is going to steal your idea.

I'm not Candadian so I would have made it DAMYA'AAL pronounced ("with-a'-southern-drawwwwl") 

or YAMAYADA pronounced ("like yada-yada") 

or I would have made it into an adverb like DAAAAMLY as in the whole fam-daaaamly or made it into it's own holiday like LAAAMDAY

But that's just me. 

During the grief seminar she briefly explained how the first four letters in her acronym help you deal with grief 


Then I think she was was getting hungry because she added 


But she spent a majority of her time on the last three 

Laughing Yoga 

She taught everyone how to YELL properly with all of their heart, might, mind and strength. 

The secret is in the sound.  

You don't make any.  You just yell with your face instead of your lungs. 

Or you can yell with your whole body if you want.  Like this:

This is what I would have looked like yelling with my face, if I had participated:

Only I think my waist would have been just a little bit slimmer. 

Finally the grief therapist turned us on to laughing yoga. I'm pretty sure that was the FUN part she warned us about.  

I had no idea there was such a revolution going on in the laughing slash yoga world, but it's very pop-U-lar among people who don't think you need a sense of humor in order to laugh. Laughing yoga requires no comedy or jokes.  You trick your heart and mind, not to mention your kidneys and liver, into feeling happy and joyful.  

This video will be the best 1 minute and 12 seconds you've ever spent on my blog.  Especially if you picture this yogi with a viking hat and a click-on light stuck to his forehead. 

There is also a lot of ho ho ha ha ha and clapping involved in laughing yoga.

Watch the London laughing yoga club and you will get a sense of what the Hemophilia adult retreat grief therapy seminar looked like last weekend.

In the end everyone got to applaud for themselves and I'm glad of it because applauding is better medicine than laughing or yelling.   Vikings and yogis and acronyms can't take the edge off grief like a good hearty round of applause for yourself. 

Followed by a bow and a curtain call. 

(And a Code Red Mountain Dew)


springrose said...

Did you end up feeling like this was a waste of time? I mean after all, we already know the point of living...CHOCOLATE! I mean who cares about the kids, right!? JK! Sounds Maybe all the costumes and yelling were to keep you awake?

Nutty Hamster Chick said...

The only part of grief I like is the denial, and well maybe the anger. The rest of it can go to helk, if you know what I mean. But I am happy you shared such an absurd encounter with a viking headlamp instructor. Did she have a beard? Inquiring minds want to know?

Nutty Hamster Chick said...

I just re-read my comment and maybe I have some issues with grief. Do you think?

IWA (e - va) said...

Now... Im happy! Im alert! Im Happy Im alert! actually.... I'm giggling! and feel like an idiot for watching the vids! ahhhhhhh.....Hilarious.. thanks!

DeNae said...

I'm currently on the eighth stage of grief, namely "eating peanut butter m&ms by the pound". I'm in no hurry to pass through this stage, particularly since I've heard the ninth stage is "jogging."

But perhaps I'll enjoy that stage more wearing a Viking hat (and as a music gal, I can even sing an aria or two from a Wagnerian opera, in case everyone else in the room needs a little motivation for their 'laugh yoga' exercises.)

Sandi said...


p.s. love Pat's 1st comment...haha

April said...

Ummmmm....I'm thinking they are all freaks. And what's with the chicken wings on the London one? And the frenzied eyes on the first guy? Cuckoo! I would have paid BIG money to see you do this! ha-ha- who-who!

Martha said...

I'm grieving right now too because my dang husband won't travel with me. I was so excited to go and then he's like, "hello, we're buying the house you can't spend money like that." I gave him the stuff about this is an important time in the kids' life and they need to have experiences to remember. That won him over so he
and he just says, "Go ahead, take the kids and I'll be fine right here." So fine, I will just go and have fun and he'll be sad at Christmas.

I painted my front hallway today. Tomorrow I will finish, but I haven't decided the end color yet. Tom spilled paint all over the floor and I don't care because my new wood laminate is waiting in the garage.

I am LoW said...

I am against forced laughter (and I stink at it, not pity laughs from me if someone is trying to be funny) Couldn't they of just hired a comedian and gotten the same result? Except maybe better? :)

I am LoW said...

Great post, by the way. :)

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Martha, you married the perfect guy for you. Or maybe I should say that your hub married the perfect gal for him because YOU are the most PERSISTANT person alive. You appealed Jimmy's tennis rejection three times, remember. Just keep appealing to P. until he finally gets sick to death of you and stops rejecting all your grand schemes. And you are right about the memories thing. The only reason we have money is to buy memories. But tell your hub that HE needs to be in those memories.

Are you bringing all the kids? I'm so excited to see you guys.

As for the paint, the bestest, most perfect color for a peaceful, calm home is called Sand Fossil by Behr. My sister uses it on all of her houses and it is amazing. Everyone always comments on it when they walk in. It took my sister forever to find the perfect paint and she is an amazing decorator so mark my word.

Low, I am with you. JOKES, people! JOKES! Jokes are not just for the body but for the mind too.

DeNae, ha hahahah I love your stages of grief. I hope I never reach the 9th stage either.

Hi Iwa, I keep meaning to tell you that I CAN'T believe you are living by Wolfgang. Hey, guess what song is on? I Miss You, My Hawaii. . . SNIFF!


This song makes me miss you too.

Pat, you don't have issues with grief, you just have issues with your children being ripped away from your home.


Hey, April I'm coming to St. George today. When can you get together? I need to check my Facebook again. T has a schedule.

Dianey Face said...

Wow. I'm not even sure how to respond to that. :) I'm definitely going to try laughing yoga though. My kidneys feel better already. And in case you get laughing wrinkles, try this one:

(or search body flex on youtube)

p.s. We have a ward luau on Saturday with a costume contest (luau-themed costumes only). Any ideas?

April said...

YES!!! We can get together....if you can find me! J/K! I'll try to find you this time!

Martha said...

I meant to tell you guys on the phone the other day that Al's team, BYU Hawaii Men's Basketball is ranked #1 in the nation!!!! Can you believe it? UH is actually scrimmaging them next week. We're excited for a fun season.

Ok, so I made reservations for me, Rach, Nan and Jim to come. Today my mom emails me and says that I have to bring Tommy because they need to see him. So tomorrow I'm going to try to get him on our flight. Then Perry says that his parents said the same thing-- that they want to see Tommy. He's the youngest grandkid on both sides by a lot and they miss having little pumpkins around. So no one seems to care if I bring Perry or not, they just want Tommy.

Sand Fossil hunh. I did the doors a tan that I created myself out of some dark brown I had in the garage mixed with swiss coffee. So it's a light tan. It's pretty nice. I like free paint.

We had Jim and Nan's bday party at Hukilau on Monday and as I got a huge garbage bag out (that we inherited from you guys) to take for the cleanup I thought of you.

Martha said...

Oh, my next scheme is next Christmas in 2010 it will be our 20th and we are going on a Hawaiian cruise. I'm not going to tell him until the day before, so don't tell either. He likes boats so I think he may go for it.

T said...

haha T always has a schedule doesn't she... I'm checking in because I will about roll over and die if I can't manage to fit you into my schedule this time... and then you'll REALLY need to find your stick-on click-on light to make it all better!

and no joke - the WV says fatly st - which is apparently where I live... really... you'll have to trust me on this one because I am NOT posting a picture of me getting ready to go to the reservoir today... ugh!

T said...

oooh - I lied (a little) it was actually fatlyst (like Catalyst?) I'm pretty sure that trying on my swimming suit was the Fatalyst to start a new diet...

charrette said...

Please tell me that woman doesn't have a license. I would need hours of therapy after attending that grief retreat. Thank heaven we have blogging to assist in the recovery!

Mariko said...

Acronyms are ridiculous.
When I sit in meetings I'm constantly hearing people say, "What does -insert acronym here- stand for?" And I especially hate cleverly worded acronyms that barely fit the idea in the first place. It's like reading a poem where the person is trying to rhyme so hard that the meaning is useless.

You should have filmed yourself doing laughing yoga. Then I might jump on that band wagon.