“Goodnight Awesome, Weird People!”
That is what I heard the other night while a group of us were leaving a local pub known as the Pattaconk 1850 Tavern. If you have not been to the Pattaconk and live in Connecticut, you are missing out. Located in Chester, one of the coolest villages this side of New Haven, the Pattaconk 1850 has been serving up cold beer, tasty pub food, and laughter filled memories for centuries. I think. I honestly don’t know the history of it, and a tourist review of it is not what I came here to do. Suffice it to say, it’s charming as hell and the vibe is good. Monday night was no different. We were there post wake toasting a dear friend’s father who passed away on November 19th. My in-laws were regaling me with hysterical stories of their friend, his family, and their antics. As we sipped Guinness and dove into chicken wings, our laughter was raucous and apparently infectious enough to grab the attention of a lovely, but innebriated 20 something year old woman. She stumbled down to our end of the bar and told us we were so funny, she wanted to join in the merrymaking. That would have been alright, except she had a bad habit of holding onto my brother-n-laws leg and shoulder to steady herself. I was amused, his wife wasn’t. She asked for a light, but we couldn’t accomodate. I actually was interested in hearing her story. Why she was drunk on a random Tuesday and floating around the Pattaconk, a smoker without a lighter? People fascinate me. Their stories. Where they come from. The choices they make. How their life unfolds because of those choices. I knew she had one. Unfortunately, no time to chat. We had paid the bill, it was late, and we had a funeral the next day to get up early for. As we got up to leave, I noticed a guy had swooped in to help out her lighter needs, and the two of them proceeded to follow us out of the bar. As we walked away from them, I heard her yell behind us, “Goodnight You Awesome Weird People!” All four of us burst into laughter and nodded in agreement. Yep. We ARE weird. Driving home, we continued the laughter over our encounter, and other stories about long gone days of misspenth youth.
That laughter is not uncommon in my group of friends. We are really silly. We travel to places to find ghosts, Bigfoot, Nessie, fairies and ren faires. We make up innane stories about, well, everything. None of us watch sports. Our gatherings usually have a theme (lately in honor of dead rock and roll stars) and the music is loud, the wine good, and the comaraderie deep. We are blessed. We know this. That night out, even though on the heels of a wake, was no different. But death always makes me think. And this time I was thinking on how our laughter was a real reminder of a good lesson I continually learn.
Try not to take this life too seriously.
I’ve always been a deep thinker. Usually traversing daichotomous thoughts. I chase meanings and sources. I believe in all possibilities. I dwell on our eventual deaths, and how sweet that makes life. I meditate. I wonder. But of all these things, nothing has ever intrigued me as much or as long, as the art of laughter.
I came from a fairly diffused family. They weren’t much for practical jokes, antics, or silliness. I was certainly the most animated of the bunch and though I amused them, they always let me know when my weird sense of humor or zany choices crossed the line. It’s what led me to find my own tribe of quirky, quick-witted folks that I could fit in with. Think Rudolph and Herbie singing “We’re a couple of misfits” and you get the picture.
Laughter is brilliant medicine for all things. Proven now by science in the last decade, it can ease any number of mental and physical ailments. Those who love to laugh and find life’s weirdnesses amusing knew this long ago.
That drunk girl made me laugh.
In my fifty decades retrospect, I saw a thread of taking life too seriously at times. How I reacted to perceived attacks. How I beat myself up for not becoming the person my family thought I could be, should be. On my fiftieth birthday, I made a pact to not do this going forward. Let’s face it; life can be a little shop of horrors. We don’t have control over all of it. We can only control how we respond, how we feel. Maybe if we lighten up a bit and stop taking each other’s every word so seriously. – we can get some true healing done. Healing would mean more peace. I think of the news armchair watching the insanity of others and responding to it with anger and disgust and how that seems no way to live day to day. I never do this, but I know many who do. I can’t help but wonder why anyone would want to engage negative feelings ongoing?
My Alchemy group has embarked on a 10 month long study of the Tree of Life from the Kabbalah spiritual pathway. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a Judaic mystery tradition that revolves around manifested personality aspects of Source and how that plays out down here on earth for humans. I am intrigued by it’s occult connections to tarot, secret societies, and alternate human history theories.
The key ingredient to understand in Kabbalah is the recognition that the Source not only affects us, but that we affect the Source. Highly different than “One God to Rule Them All” traditions. Kabbalah is the source of As Above, So Below, So Below, As Above. There is an ever flowing into and out of energy between our actions and Source actions and vice versa. In a nutshell, this means when you get angry at yourself, or another, or when you impose harm on yourself or another, you are hurting the Source. Like punching a baby in the face, if that helps you visualize. On a positive note, when you help, love, laugh, care, or be kind to others, you are kind to Source and in essence, giving Source a hug. The more we love each other, the more we love Source, and the more Source loves us back, helping this world feel a lot more harmonious.
People often wonder why God/Source/Divinity has forsaken us – I hear that alot in circles that follow monotheistic traditions. Where is “God” in all this horror? Well, I challenge us to wonder where are WE in all this horror? Basically, what we do affects Source and how Source behaves. We create the universe and Source. We forget this. Worse, we aren’t taught this. Mystery traditions offer the root theory that what we manifest outside of us, is what is present inside of us.
Good to remember we get choices. We can choose how to perceive, we can choose how to react. That is a specialty of human existence. We can choose to feed the darkness or feed the light. We can’t complain about what life looks like down here, if we carry darkness in our actions and feelings.
The woman who called out to us at the Pattaconk that night, I love her. She saw my little band of merry makers as we are. Awesome. Weird. People. She was just unhibited enough to say so, and make us laugh. For a moment, strangers and friends joined in a a really happy moment. If there was a Source listening, I hope it got the joke and felt the joy.
Laugh Often, right?