The Laugh-Fest is almost upon us (May 13-15) and the excitement keeps building! (register here) We have an impossibly wonderful group of presenters this year who will be bringing our YES! theme to life. I've been highlighting many of them here at the blog. Today, I would like to introduce you to the incredible Judith Hitt.
Judith Hitt has a background in Nursing, Music and the healing arts. In 1995, she hosted Patch Adams to come to Vermont to give a presentation on the role of humor in health and healing. From that time on, she was hooked and is a firm believer in bringing humor and joy into our lives, on all levels. Judith is also an ordained Buddhist Lama and Director of Saraswati Bhawan, a Buddhist organization in Lansing, Iowa. She teaches workshops and retreats on meditation, yoga and healing worldwide, and is on the faculty of the International Harp Therapy Program. She will lead a "Yes Breath" meditation on Friday night. Here's my interview with her.
JUDITH: I love the idea of being a Laughing Lama! When you invited me to participate and lead a meditation for the LaughFest, I just felt it was a great opportunity to connect with others who wish to bring joy into the world and in other people's lives. And—it is in my own backyard! How could I refuse?
LAURA: You and your husband lead retreats at the Saraswati Bhawan, a Buddhist organization and retreat center in the hills above the Mississippi River in Lansing, Iowa. Through this work, what have you learned about the importance of retreats?
JUDITH: In our tradition, retreats are an essential part of our practice and training. There are many kinds of practices and many levels of training. In a nutshell, retreat gives us a chance to look deeply at the inner workings of our minds—which includes our thoughts and emotions, and the repetitive habit patterns that keep us bound to this cyclic existence. In retreat, we are better able to connect with our true nature, which often becomes obscured in the stress and busyness of our daily lives. By learning how to tame the 'monkey mind,' as we like to call it, and untangle the deeply ingrained habit patterns of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; we become freed from our repetitive negative habits, and are better able to respond to life in a way that is beneficial to ourselves and others. Rather than just 'reacting' out of unconscious habit patterns, we can respond with wisdom.
LAURA: Indeed, learning healthier thought patterns is a goal of this laughing retreat. I understand that you have designed a creative “YES-BREATH” meditation for us to play with following the gigantic Laughter Yoga session we’ll enjoy on Friday night. What can werom this experience?
JUDITH: It will be a wonderful opportunity to integrate and settle all the beautiful laughter energy from the day. Breath is life—we say 'yes' to life every time we inhale. We will breathe in the connections, love and joy that we experienced during the day, and bring it deep into our inner being, holding it like a treasure. We will use movement and sound with our breath to settle the energy into our inner being as a way to conclude our day and prepare for rest.
LAURA: It sounds truly magnificent. What fun it will be to share this experience with one another. As you know, the theme of the Laugh-Fest this year is “YES!” It is about affirming life, living joyfully and saying yes to all the things that bring us into that space of abundance. In your own life journey, how has saying yes been important to you? What insights would you like to share?
JUDITH: 'Yes' means to have confidence. It is the ultimate antidote to fear. It is our fears and hesitations that hold us back from experiencing our lives to the fullest and from living our true potential. By saying 'yes' to life, to what comes our way, we more readily enter the present moment—free from past conditioning and fear of the future unknowns. By saying 'yes' in any given moment, we enter the flow of the divine, the universe, as it unfolds before us. We become fearless, joyful, and open to new possibilities.
LAURA: YES! And now Judith, can you tell us what your hopes for the Laugh-Fest are?
JUDITH: To have fun and to connect with others in a meaningful way!
LAURA: Me too! I know we will do so. HA HA HA!
|Judith Hitt (front row left) at the Lansing Laughter Club|
Please join the Laughing Lama and the rest of the fabulous presenters and laughers at the 4th annual Laugh-Fest of the Midwest May 13-15, 2016 in Ferryville, Wisconsin. You can register here! Remember that you can do Saturday only or choose to stay in the Frontier Village should you wish to attend at a discount. We are want you there! YAY!