In Pursuit of Happiness

It is almost impossible to describe the aura of the annual conference of the Association for Applied Therapeutic Humor. You have to experience it for yourself to understand the power of positivity, humor happiness and love, shared unconditionally in a safe encouraging environment.

What more appropriate location for our gathering of happiness gurus than the city of Brotherly love?   I had been to Philadelphia once before on business just long enough to run up the famous Art Museum steps and strike my most powerful Rocky pose.  This time I stayed at Penn’s Landing, a few short blocks from the place our founding forefathers gathered to declare our independence centuries ago.   I arrived a day early to soak it all in, and I was glad I did.  Though never really drawn to Philadelphia, I enjoyed taking in all the tourist sites and revisiting the history I had learned as a child but not considered consciously for decades.   Standing in the same space where brave men risked their lives to stand up for freedom and structure a plan for sustaining it was both eerie and exhilarating.    We have all seen pictures of the scene depicted, but hearing the story narrated and imagining their interaction was awe-inspiring.  I love how the Declaration of Independence identifies the pursuit of happiness as one of man’s inalienable rights, equally important as life and liberty:  Even that early in civilization, happiness was a celebrated cornerstone

The conference kicked off with humor jams; an opportunity for several quick dips into a variety of venues ranging from improv, song writing, sharing stories and laughter yoga.  What a treat to reconnect with old friends and make new ones in this playful, inviting environment.

I attend and present at many conferences, but none holds my heart the way this one does.  The only thing that compared to the caliber of the speakers was their genuine authenticity and transparency.  Each of them opened their hearts to us, sharing not only their personal struggles but also powerful strategies for making the most of any situation.  Never in my life have I felt so cosmically connected to someone speaking from a stage.

Rooted in decades of research informally pioneered by Norman Cousins, I find myself fascinated by the science of the brain/heart/health/humor/happiness connection.    I am proud to be a part of this community of professionals committed to making our world a better place through the study, practice and promotion of healthy humor and laughter.

I even opened my heart to a random roommate and thoroughly enjoyed sharing our space and getting to know one another. The big bonus:  seeing the sunrise from my bed each day. Finally, on my fifth and final day I enjoyed a sunrise swim in the waterfront pool.

Happiness is a choice; its’ pursuit your inaliable right.  It is available to everyone in equal abundance every day.  Why not choose happiness?   Here’s to your pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.


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