I need to lighten up. I realized this after talking with a friend of mine who was telling me about the yoga class she’s taking. At one point, she asked me if I’ve ever done yoga.

“You should take a class,” she said. “I think you’d really enjoy it.”

Actually, I have taken a yoga class. It was years ago, and I continued it until the day I got hit at a stoplight on my way to class. I don’t hold it against the yoga class that I got rear-ended, but the accident left me with a lot of pain in my neck and shoulders, and put me in physical therapy for several months. Since some of the yoga exercises involve the neck and shoulders, I didn’t think it was a good idea for me to continue doing them. Still, I enjoyed the class while it lasted, and I even wrote a column about it shortly after I started taking it.

I told my friend this, and asked her if she’d like to read the column. She said, “Absolutely,” so I emailed a copy of it to her when I got home.
Although it’s been more than ten years since I wrote that column, it’s still one of my favorites. In it I talked about joining a yoga class even though “Yoga” was the correct answer to a trivia question I had answered recently that asked, “In what type of exercise do you stand on your head?” I also mentioned my apprehension about the lotus position, which I thought could more accurately be described as “the pretzel position.” And I pointed out that if God had wanted my feet and thighs to be that close to each other, he wouldn’t have put the femur – the longest bone in the body – between them. (If you’d like to read the whole column and you didn’t cut it out of the paper ten years ago, you can find it on my blog, www.findyourburiedtreasure.com/blog).

“You should write funny more often,” my friend said the next time I saw her. “That column was hilarious.”

That’s when I realized that I’ve been getting awfully serious lately, at least in my writing. Understandably so, I’d say, considering some of the things I’ve been writing about, which have included some pretty serious topics as well as some intense observations and powerful insights.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t be fun.

Most of us are aware that laughter is the best medicine, and that happy people are generally healthier than those who wallow in their stress and sadness. Humor helps, and humor heals. Plus, it almost always feels better to laugh than to cry – not to dismiss the therapeutic benefits of a good cry when grief, sadness or frustration becomes overwhelming.

So I’m going to try not to take myself – or my writing topics – too seriously from now on. This doesn’t mean I’m going to start doing the literary equivalent of stand-up comedy, or that I’m going to treat any topics irreverently or disrespectfully. It just means I’m going to look a little harder for the humor in the things I write about and the way I write about them.

Who knows? I may even decide to go back to yoga class and try once again to get into the lotus position. That would definitely be good for a few laughs!

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on January 19, 2012.
© Betty Liedtke, 2012