I read somewhere that practitioners of Feng Shui advise playing your favorite music very loudly for a few minutes every week or two to clear a room, apartment or house of any negative energy that may have collected. Dancing while doing this helps too. I think the theory has merit – it’s sort of like the change of atmosphere and mood that takes place when a thunderstorm moves through in the summer; afterward everything seems fresher and renewed. Laughter – good, full belly laughter, has the same affect.
We’ve had one of our more difficult weeks this week, for no reason that I can really define other than that we’ve had a lot going on. This is why I do not overschedule, even when it’s all fun stuff. We went to friends’ houses, and saw movies and went to the circus. We went to Make and had lunch at Mars 2112. Lots of friends, lots of fun and for some reason, lots of anxiety from a certain member of our family, who shall remain nameless. This culminated in a long conversation last night about the negative attitude that was running rampant and not contributing at all to a congenial, calm household or congenial, calm unschool parenting. Things were a bit better after that, but there was lingering tension – leftover negative energy.
This afternoon, with Joshua working late, I took the kids out to dinner. We hadn’t been to our favorite diner in a few weeks and I knew it would be a good thing for us to go to a place where everyone knows us and we could be completely at ease. (For those of you who are old enough, when we go there it’s like Norm walking into Cheers.) Maya and I had sandwiches and shared some fries. (I had a burger with feta cheese – yum, yum, yum!) The plate with the fries was in the middle of the table, and at one point I took a french fry and was attempting to gather some extra salt on it, when Maya looked over and said, “Um, Mama, what are you doing?” Without missing a beat I looked up in surprise and said, “What? I’m scooping up my imaginary ketchup, of course!” Both kids burst out laughing, and that somehow led to an entire riff on what would happen if I yelled out “Jesus Christ!” really loudly (there is an entire back story to this, but I can’t go into it here) while talking to someone on my cell phone. Tears were rolling and we were gasping for air by the time our waiter brought the check.
And all the tension of the week was gone.
Afterward, I felt like I should have brought laughter into the mix much earlier in the week; felt like I’d gotten caught up in the web of anxiety and stress and instead of finding a way out, had let myself contribute to it. It’s easy to laugh – sometimes I feel laughter bubbling up when I am trying to be very stern with the kids over some issue, and when I let the laughter come, the issue usually gets resolved much faster than when I think to myself, “no, be serious now.”
Loud music, thunderstorms and laughter. Of the three, laughter is definitely the easiest to come by.