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Happiness stays after laughing club ends, Nina promises

Lisa Whitehead enjoying Nina London’s Laughing Club which meets every Saturday at noon in the Botanical Gardens (Photograph by Nina London)

If I would have to give one piece of advice to my daughters, what would it be?

“If you believe in an idea and are passionate about it, don’t give up!”

I started the Time to Laugh Club in Bermuda two-and-a-half years ago. It was well-received; women of different ages came together to have fun and become laughter buddies. We kept meeting even when we were still wearing masks outdoors.

Then the third wave hit Bermuda and we couldn't meet any more. I flew to Thailand for the winter to study Chi Gong breath and energy movement.

When I came back three months ago, I was eager to start the club again. I advertised the Saturday reopening on social media and I sent many messages and e-mails to club members.

On the day, I stood expectantly under the laughing tree at the Botanical Gardens, but no one showed up.

The sun was shining, the birds were singing, a delightful breeze was blowing, and there I was, alone.

I drove home and found my husband Bill playing his guitar, with the ocean crashing in the distance. I shrugged my shoulders. “Oh well, perhaps there is some busy event today,” I said, looking at my shoes. He gave me a loving look and kept playing.

The next Saturday was the same: beautiful day, picturesque Botanical Gardens, no Laughing Club. I was deeply disappointed and looked out across the rolling, green grass.

I pondered the future: “Do I want to continue? What if nobody will ever come?”

But then I remembered how much fun we had, how we were dancing hilariously to the Bollywood Laughter Dance, and how free and uninhibited we felt as we were supported and encouraged by each other.

Once a woman brought her one-year-old granddaughter, and we placed her in the middle of our laughing circle. She was so adorable! She just kept smiling and smiling, and then blue birds came and sat on the tree right above us, watching and singing.

I thought about that and promised myself: “I will keep coming here. Somebody will show up.”

Last Saturday was a glorious Bermuda day with a deep blue sky and puffy clouds. I was walking on the path in the Botanical Gardens to the laughing tree and a woman on a bike stopped next to me. She pulled her helmet off and laughed. “It’s me, Lisa, and … it’s time to laugh!”

I smiled with delight!

“My laughing girl returns!” I answered, feeling joy in my heart.

I remembered that after the first time at Laughing Club, Lisa wrote to me: “I laughed after the class on my way home too; I had to run down my hill in the rain. It brought back priceless memories from my childhood as I grew up on that same street!”

We hugged. Then, I saw Arlene walking fast towards the Laughing Tree. She arrived breathless with excitement and said: “It’s my birthday today and I want to start celebrating it with laughter and joy.” Arlene was one of the most devoted members of our group and I was so happy to see her beautiful smile again.

I rearranged the entire class and made it a festive celebration. We did a funny blowing and breathing exercise with imaginary birthday candles, gave personal birthday wishes with lots of laughter, and then danced together as we sang “happy birthday, dear Arlene”.

It blossomed into a happy and joyful hour. The positive energy of happiness was bubbling inside us and we felt its good vibration as it tingled through our bodies, finding a lovely resonance in our hearts.

There is something about laughing together in a safe and supportive group that boosts your endorphins into an experience you can feel for hours. The class may be over but the happiness stays with you and brings an inner peace.

After the class, I was standing under the magnificent tree looking up at the vibrant blue sky though the swaying branches and I decided that if I make even one person in Bermuda laugh, I will not give up!

Join me for the Time To Laugh laughing club every Saturday at noon under the laughing tree at the Botanical Gardens. It’s free. It’s fun.

I will be there waiting for you!

Nina London is a certified wellness coach, Qigong teacher and laughter leader. Her mission is to support and help cancer patients and survivors and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Contact her at www.ninalondon.com and on Instagram: @coachninalondon

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Published June 16, 2022 at 7:59 am (Updated June 16, 2022 at 7:42 am)

Happiness stays after laughing club ends, Nina promises

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