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A couple of days ago, I received an email from a self-help cancer site. It was well-written, well-intended, but it seemed to be missing something. The article was about restoring joy which often in this post-cancer state can be very challenging.

It suggested that one concentrate and focus on those many positive items we all have in our lives - home, family, friends, the beauty of Nature, music, etc. - and thus, be filled with feelings of joy. At least for me, the joy I feel thinking those thoughts doesn't stick with me for long.

Luckily, I have been bitten with an infectious Indian laughter bug. Being infected with the rare organism,madanus katariasis, results in what is known as the "Hohohaha Syndrome" which can literally move you from motion to emotion. What does this mean in less scientific terms? Hmmmmmm, let me see, how can I explain?

There are many beautiful candles in my home - not only are they fragrant, but several are also embedded with a variety of gorgeous flowers. I can look at them, appreciate them, but only when I light them, do I receive the FULL benefit of their candle beings. All of my life, I have been surrounded not only with beauty, but also with wonderful friends and family who have added so much to my life; however, my "fire" needed to be lit before my true brilliance and joy could be realized. For me, being infected with the "laughter bug" accomplished that.

It forced me to tell my body to laugh (the motion) which eventually, over a protracted period of time, fired up my inner candle, thus releasing my joy (the emotion). The strange thing about this syndrome is that it infects in a powerful, insidious way. I must tell you, during the entire incubation period, my personal life was a huge mess - there was very little to laugh about, let alone feel happy about; however, as the "bug" kept biting me, I laughed....and laughed....and laughed. The more I laughed, the better I felt and the better I felt, the more I laughed! What a vicious cycle!

The syndrome often leaves me feeling light-hearted, as well as occasionally a bit light-headed. I sleep deeper, have a much more laid-back attitude about life in general, often have an inexplicable desire to laugh out loud for absolutely NO reason and often do so while driving. I feel upbeat most of the time and rarely succumb to severe bouts of depression as was the case prior to contracting this disease.

Now that my inner candle is burning brightly, it allows me to see vividly the beauty all around me. Some days I feel I would like to wrap my arms around the entire world and give it a good squeeze! Amazing what an infection such as this can do to a mind and body.

Got joy? It's never too late to become infected!

O what is laughter?

What is this precious love and laughter

Budding in our Hearts?

It is the glorious sound

Of a soul waking up!


- Hafiz...