21 Day Practice of Peace – Day 5 – Find the belly laugh

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

For those people who know me in person, you know my big belly laugh.   Oh, almost a decade ago now, I made it one of my practices to have five big belly laughs a day.   I’m way past the five big belly laughs a day – the world can be such a funny place and I find the humor everywhere.   Most of the time.   Sometimes I let the world get heavy.   It’s harder to find the belly laugh then – but this is the precise time it’s most important I do this.

I learned from my somatic psychologist friend – Scot Nichols – we store emotional energy in various places in our body – from all types of life experiences.    The purpose of doing any type of somatic work is to become conscious of this stored and stuck emotional energy and release it through body work.   Scot tells me this allows the events of the day to flow through you and not get stuck causing further angst.    The body work can be as simple as shaking it out, focusing on the area you feel the sensation, and a conscious and consistent refocusing over time to create new neural network patterning.

Different parts of our bodies store different memories and sensations.   Like butterflies in the stomach over time can become a nervous stomach.   Stress tension in the neck muscles over time can become chronic headaches.   I’ve chosen to store belly laughs and let my belly move like a bowl of jelly.   The way I did it was to focus on my lower belly.

What I later learned is this same area is where the “power” center is of your body.   Try this exercise – just stand regularly and ask a friend to push you slightly.   Next focus on the lower belly and ask the friend to push you slightly.   What do you notice?    When I first did this – it was a lot harder for someone to push me off balance when I focused on my lower belly.    And this is precisely what the belly laugh does into my lower abdomen – it helps me keep an inner joie de vivre – happiness and excitement about this fantastic experience we call life regardless of what is going on around me.   I find my inner balance of joy with the practice of the deep belly laugh.   Give it a try.

Tomorrow I’ll share how you can use the focus on the lower belly to increase compassion.

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