patti smith’s (+ ancient chinese) smile therapy


We had just finished writing the post on Laughter Yoga when we remembered an interview punk rocker Patti Smith gave to The New York Times Magazine.  She outlined her personal “smile therapy,” evolved to ease the pain of a rough life.

“Do you ever feel lonely?” the interviewer asked.

“Sometimes the pain still — the loss of my brother, the loss of Robert [Mapplethorpe, a close friend and mentor], the loss of my husband, even the loss of my children being children — we can access a lot of things that cause pain. This might seem really funny, but when I feel like that, I make myself smile,” she answered.

“How do you do that?”

“I just sit and physically make myself smile. Because sometimes it makes you laugh, and then you go, ‘All right.'”

We mentioned laugh-and-smile therapy to our editor-at-large, David Saltman, who also happens to be a teacher and long-time practitioner of Tai Chi and Qi Gong.

“In fact”, he said, “there are many practices in Tai Chi and Qi Gong that involve an ‘inner smile’. My teacher used to say, ‘When you get up in the morning, clean your heart with laughter.'”


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