11.02.2012

The Enlightening Mat: The Year I Lost My Sense of Humor

jesters from heaven

A really mature person cannot be serious there is nothing to be serious about. The whole of life 
is fun, it is a play, a play of consciousness. And that's what meditation reveals to you -- 
that the whole of life is a beautiful play of energy.
- Osho

Being funny use to be important to me, so when I lost my sense of humor back in 2010 things got a little scary. I blamed it on all the Bikram yoga and meditation I was doing. Emotionally it felt like I was stripping away layers and layers of fake to reveal something I had never seen inside myself before.

What I discovered was primitive and elemental -- like the remnant of meteor. Not a metal that is cold and unforgiving, but malleable and reflective like silver where you can heat it up and shape it into something strong, secure, and comforting.

So I abandoned being funny. I no longer came up with clever remarks or humorous comebacks. I watched in silence at parties instead of partaking in witty banter, raucous flirting, or friendly teasing. I stopped clowning around the house and employing silly pranks. A part of my personality completely dropped off the map, and it felt both liberating and frightening. Like being naked in front of a crowd, I had no clue what I was doing there.

Being funny was an essential survival skill for me. Funny made people like me and put them at ease. Funny made me feel safe. Humor was my stronghold and kept me from being open to emotional attacks. Funny drew relationships to me and banished loneliness. Funny was my way of seeking attention and validating my existence. If I wasn't funny, then nobody would want me, and I would be completely unnecessary.

Needless to say, during my anti-funny period, I clung to Bikram yoga. I sought out who I call the "purists:" The teachers who just do straight Bikram dialogue and leave the stories on the other side of the door. It was awesome. No humor. No sarcasm. No teasing. No emotional pushing and pulling. Just the words, my body, and sweat.

Through this experience, I realized how beautiful and strong I am without my invisibility cloak of funny. I came to love this hard, metallic, and molten part of myself. I stopped needing to draw attention away from others and just enjoyed watching them instead.

Eventually I got my sense of humor back, but it's changed, and I'll be forever grateful for losing it so I could discover something even more important: That inside each of us is molten star matter that is unwavering in its acceptance of life, constantly playing with consciousness, and always feels safe with or without the funny mask. 

The Enlightening Mat is a blog series exploring moments of awareness that come to Beth Hemmila while practicing Bikram Yoga.

To shop for yoga charms that celebrate the different poses click here to view this blog post Sterling Silver Charms for Bikram Yoga Postures.

3 comments:

  1. I am quite struck by this journey that you have taken Miss Beth. To lose your funny? That does seem like it would be hard. We are confronted by sitcom mentalities all around us. Like the kid in the classroom that gets the biggest laughs is the star, not the studious one in the corner who is serious about being there. I also find it very intriguing that humor can be an invisibility cloak. I spend a lot of time at my computer not in contact with others and feel invisible most days due to that lack of interaction. The humor is what keeps me sane through all that solitary time. Thank you for always giving me something to think about. Enjoy the day. Erin

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  2. As far as losing a sense of humor, mine tended to become more guarded... When u get hurt or let down by others, or thought they were genuine and turned out not to be, that can really change your humor.. also trust... I never thought how deceitful people could be.. Accountability plays a huge part.. Naive me figured that since I didn't deceive that it could never happen to me... but, I guess I'm a prime candidate for those that do the deceiving!. Life lessons are hard- too bad they have to hurt so damn much.

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    1. I hadn't thought of that before, but now that you mentioned it I guess that is one result of losing trust in others. Hope you find the funny that fits you the best :)

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