Laughter Workshop

Jacek standing in the dining room and Paulina sitting in the living room
Jacek Golanski & Paulina Wątor

Jacek & Paulina

Jacek & Paulina are vibrant, brilliant, and inspiring minstrels of fun, creativity, and examined living. They hit the noise of Los Angeles and the traffic of CouchSurfers coming and going here at Runaway University Los Angeles (RULA) after spending 10 days in Silent Meditation up in Sequoia, CA.

Jacek’s knowledge of psychology and his ability to present just the right experimental result relevant to a conversation is impressive.

Diverse, and Gracious Dining

With so many diverse Students, Faculty, Staff, & Visiting Scholars passing through the halls here at RULA, one of the constantly negotiated topics is diet. The majority of Rulans are enthusiastic carnivores. Yet there are also many vegetarians, vegans, pescatarians, and people who don’t eat pork. Paleo diets and kosher diets. The list goes on. So what do you do when you want to walk down the street for some Hong Kong Style Dim Sum? Or when your dessert topping contains whipped cream? Or your boba contains honey. Or, more to the point, a generous Visiting Scholar (CouchSurfer) prepares a delicious meat dish to share with everyone?

Jacek, a vegetarian, has the most elegant solution I’ve heard. He won’t order meat or buy meat or in any way “create a demand” for meat. He respects animals and wants to treat them well. But when a host offers him a meat dish that’s already prepared, well, people are animals too, and he wants to respect them too, so he happily accepts their offer.

Jacek in my dining room leading a group of CouchSurfers in a Laughter Workshop
Long-time “Laughter Workshop” leader Jacek Golanski leading his first “House” Laughter Workshop

Laughter Workshop

Jacek’s been leading his amazing Laughter Workshops for some time now. When CouchSurfing in America, one host told him about “House Concerts” and so he asked about doing a “House Workshop” when he visited “Casa Glenn”. Casa Glenn was the name of the RULA Campus back in 2015. Jacek’s Laughter Workshop was the very 1st RULA Course offered here, and it was part of the foundational inspiration for Runaway University.

Getting a campus (house) full of Visiting Scholars (CouchSurfers) to be in the same place at the same time is a lot like herding cats. The original plan was to have the Laughter Workshop first and then Soojeen’s Community Donut Making after. We wound up flipping the order and had a really fun Laughter Workshop. And an awesome Korean Donut experience too!

Johanna & Celeste laughing
Johanna & Celeste laughing

It Feels Good to Laugh

Jacek interspersed small bits of information with different laughter exercises. We started by trying out “fake” laughs and a number of other partner and team laughter exercises. One of the “funny” things is that even “fake” laughter feels pretty good. And if you fake laugh with a partner or two, it seems to turn into real laughter pretty quickly.

Here’s a description from Jacek’s Laughter Workshop website:

Laughter Workshop is a set of simple exercises, each of which ends with laughter – sometimes subtle, often uproariously, but always flowing deeply from the diaphragm. Participation in the activities does not require any preparation. What is needed is only a little bit of confidence, courage and a lot of curiosity.

two people juggling indoors as 2 more watch them
Jacek & Celeste juggling as Johanna & Daleen admire their mad skills!

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  1. Pingback: Jacek Golanski - Glenn Zucman

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