I’ve been talking to dead people since 1974, consciously. I may have done it before thinking it was just an internal conversation. Now though, it’s pretty commonplace. Sometimes it’s my mother acting as my cheerleader, offering admiration and encouragement when I become frustrated with a project. Sometimes it’s someone I’ve never met in this lifetime. The more I acknowledge the spirits and honor them, the more often they contact me.

A couple of weeks ago, I sat down to compose a new piece for my monthly epistle. While contemplating what it might be, I heard from a friend’s father, a well-known songwriter who died a few years ago. First, he had the following message for his son, “I left because the laughter was gone. Remember to laugh, to lighten up. Laugh. World events are moving more in a negative direction as we become more negative, serious and depressed. Laughter heals, lightens the load, keeps us in the present moment and prevents us from taking ourselves too seriously. You’ll never get out alive so laugh, lighten and love. That’s all there is, and life’s too short not to.” Second, he asked me to make this epistle about laughter and its importance.

Following his directive, a question surfaced, ‘When was the last time I laughed?’ One night a few months ago, Elliot and I watched The Hustle with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson. In one scene, Rebel asks Anne her thoughts regarding faking orgasm. I turned to Elliot and said, “I’d never fake an orgasm; that’s like giving a trophy just for participating!” The words were out of my mouth without passing through my brain. Elliot and I burst into hysterics laughing; we laughed for days.

Laughing is contagious. The scene in Mary Poppins where Ed Wynn is on the ceiling and Mary is summoned to get him down, I laugh and sing along with them, “The more the glee, the more I’m a merrier me!” Try to sing that without a smile on your face — not possible.

Even the renown Mayo Clinic touts the healing benefits of laughter. When you start to laugh, it actually decreases your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure. It reduces stress improving your mood and your immune system. Laughter helps you connect with others and lessens depression and anxiety. It increases your coping mechanisms and allows the body to release its natural painkillers. Laughter is the best medicine. It’s a smile having an orgasm. Are you smiling?

Yesterday, my anger arose during a phone call with a large company. After hanging up and returning to this writing, I started to laugh at myself for holding on to something that didn’t even need to be done. Laughing at ourselves is another gift. It allows us the opportunity to shift our perspective and realize the insignificance of our worries and upsets.

Thank you, Robert, for your timely words and your lyrics that will remain with me always.

“The more you laugh, The more you fill with glee
And the more the glee, The more we’re a merrier we”