Laughter in a Locked Ward


There’s a moment from a handful of years ago that I think I will remember my whole lifetime. A deeply courageous, very pregnant woman I knew was experiencing a profound and dangerous bout of depression, likely fueled (or perhaps deepened) by pregnancy hormones.

Somehow, through the wickedly convincing messaging of depression saying everyone – including her toddler, including her unborn child – would be far better off without her, she was able to find that sliver of wisdom that said, “This isn’t real. This isn’t truth. This requires support.”

She checked herself into in-patient care.

Her husband agreed to give me one of the daily allotted hours of visit time. After my bag was thoroughly checked, we took the vetted snacks to a room full of vending machines and square tables where we munched and chatted. There were tears; that was no surprise.

And then there was laughter.

I can’t recall a word that we exchanged or what sparked our giggles. What I can recall vividly was the way our laughter grew and seemed to fill the tiled room in which we sat, the way it seemed to seep out of the open doorway and into the sitting area beyond.

There is room within us and between us for all of it:

For the laughter and tears.

For the fear and courage.

For the hope and desperation.

All of it.


Chomp & Chat was particularly robust last week as people settled into their first week of social distancing (at least, those of us in North America). That space was filled with laughter, too. There’s room for you and your laughter and your complexity there, too. Join the community for that and more connection.

For a wider variety of free, online events, connections, and energies, check out The Breathing Spaces, a collaboration of coaches, teachers, and facilitators. I’m hosting a meditation on Tuesday nights and a dance party on Friday afternoons.