At a recent family event, my husband’s 7-year-old niece snuggled up to me on the couch and began to laugh and giggle. (It’s our thing…you could say I create a giggle safe zone.)

She notices my necklace of a French horn pendant.
She asks: “Why do you have a trumpet on your necklace?!”
Me: “It’s a French Horn, another type of musical instrument. And I used to play it.”
Her: “You did?!” And giggles ensue. “YOU’RE an instrument!”

She pauses, smiles, and says, “Aunt Julie…The Laughing Instrument.”

A catalyst for positive change

To be a catalyst for positive change, positivity, and to lovingly encourage laughter and joyful giggles….that is who I am and will continue to be. Being loved for the joy I bring to someone else truly lights up my heart.

The joy of being present is truly a gift we can give each other.

With all of the zen, be-in-the-moment, mindfulness sayings and practices available, it’s easy to get lost in just the words of “Be in the present moment.” Yet, being present—truly present—with another person is where magic is created. Allowing the authentic sounds of joy, tears, laughter, and sorrow to emerge and stay for a while connects us to others on a pure, non-judgmental level.

When I was welcomed with open arms by my husband’s family six years ago, I still wondered whether that love and acceptance would come to an end…Because it almost always ended that way in my family of origin.

When I occasionally tell stories about my family, stories of deceit, being criticized and shunned almost always come to the surface. Being uninvited to Thanksgiving, being left out from deciding what to do with our mom’s jewelry after her passing, and being constantly criticized can make a person build walls around their heart. That is what I had done.

Choosing joy and happiness

I Shall Choose Joy and Happiness

Instead of treading in waters that end up drowning me, I shall choose to walk and skip on land with my head held high. I will no longer drown in the sorrow of others’ insults. I shall continue to stay above it all—with my head high above the painful waters.

I happily and graciously accept my new title, “The Laughing Instrument.”
The loving and playful interaction with my niece reminds me of the person I want to continue to be—one who creates a fun, joyful, safe, loving, place for others—whether they’re 7 or 77 and anywhere in between.

Instruments of joy

I will continue to be the instrument of joy, laughter, happiness, and peace.

I encourage all of you to toot your own horn of greatness. Find those who love the sound of your song. Who will snuggle next to you and add their notes of joy.
And, if you find and engage with those who can’t or won’t hear your song, may you seek and find your audience, your orchestra, your tribe.

Blessings to you all, you wonderful music makers.

About the author: Julie Ostrow is the First-Ever American Laughing Champion and Humor, Laughter, and Improv Coach. She coaches groups and corporations how to use humor, laughter, and improv techniques to improve communication, connection, and creativity.


‘We Are The Positive Psychology People’

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