The LLH story begins with the heart health of the founder, Laughing Linda LeVier.
In 2004 my life took an unexpected turn. Continued tiredness along with the weakening of my ankles and knees did not deter my doctor from saying, “All is A-OK” at the end of my routine physical.
Nevertheless, I requested a treadmill stress test to add to my health information.
I was 63 years old and knew there were heart problems on my father’s side of the family. The treadmill test led to more tests and then quintuple bypass surgery. All of the by-passes hyperclotted (no blood flow), requiring the insertion of seven stents.
I experienced many setbacks during my nine weeks in the ICU. Eight months after the treadmill test I was finally ready to try living alone, with the diagnosis of congestive heart failure due to my many complications.
During my three years with CHF, I felt that I needed to do more than limit fat and salt, walk every day and get lots of rest. Somewhere, I heard about Laughter Groups. My quest led to Sarito’s Laughter Meditation session, held at the Chopra Center in Carlsbad.
My first session convinced me that I NEEDED THIS! As I left the Center, I felt a sense of calm I had seldom experienced. Strangely, the calm was accompanied by dancing bubbles (pop rocks?) that brought joy, filling every nook and cranny inside me.
I said, “Thank you, Sarito, for this amazing gift!”
In 2006 I added weekly laughing sessions, part of the Laughter Yoga movement started in 1995 by Dr. Madan Kataria in India. We laughed on a high bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The location alone was fabulous medicine. Thank you, Gaga and Khevin.
My heart was continuing to weaken, but my spirit was stronger than ever! On the same day that I asked my doctor if I would qualify for a handicapped parking placard, he was preparing to tell me that he and his medical team believed I would benefit from having a heart transplant!
Whoa! ”Am I that sick? That hadn’t occurred to me!”
I received my new heart on April 1, 2007. (Yes, April Fools Day!)
There have been no signs of rejection during my four and a half years with the new heart.
With an overwhelming feeling of GRATITUDE I was determined to keep my donor’s heart healthy and enveloped in a positive atmosphere. I believe my donor gave me her vitality, the courage to try new activities, and a desire to help others. The donor’s mother replied to my thank you letter, giving me a chance to know a little about my precious donor.
In July of 2009 I took the training to become a Laughter Yoga Leader. The following year, in Chicago, I took the next level of training, with Dr. Kataria for my teacher. What an awesome experience that was!
Almost instantly, I knew how I would use my training. I wanted to introduce my sessions to older people who could not go to a class. I would take the sessions to them!
I started a business to handle the many expenses incurred in taking classes and buying materials to support the LLH nonprofit volunteer projects and presentations. Thus was born Laughing Linda’s Healthy Heart Adventures, or LLH HA! The company is now a Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce member.
I developed “Music, Movement and Laughter” sessions to be held in assisted living facilities. The staff at Emeritus in Oceanside is especially supportive. They join in when they come near our group. The joy on the faces of the participants is contagious.
Everyone who lives with stress can benefit from frequent mini vacations filled with LAUGHTER.
I wrote my 7 Teasers to Get You Out of Bed little book to help people with the first challenge of their day. I hope it will get into the hands of people who may be uncomfortable attending a laughter group. Testing out laughing at home may help them laugh more at themselves and at Life.
The LLH website will act as an activity communication center, primarily focussing on events happening in the San Diego County area. Web links will take you to sites with uplifting messages and other laughter activities. ENJOY!
There are opportunities on every page and post of this site for volunteers to comment and share their stories.Laughing Linda LeVier Founder, Linking Laughing Hearts