As part of our weekend at the 2010 All America Laughter Yoga Conference, a series of spontaneous public events was sponsored by The Levity Project, a non-profit organization whose goal is "creating social change through public acts of creativity, laughter and celebration. The Levity Project has sponsored events all over the country, and Albuquerque was ripe for some fun!
First, about 100 of us converged on the downtown Albuquerque Trader Joes, where we all entered the store anonymously and began to shop. At a signal from the coordinators, everyone began to dance in the aisles, engaging with customers and staff and simply having a blast. Many customers and employees seemed to enjoy the fun, a few going out of their way to say that we had made their day, while others said, "Who are you people?" and "Please come to my workplace and do this!"
The young man in the green t-shirt pictured below was just one of several customers who happily joined the fun! (Can you find Mary in this photo?)
Next, we walked into a crowded outdoor shopping area and began a "Laughter Party" on a street-corner, putting Hawaiian leis around people's necks and inviting them to laugh with us. Cars stopped, people laughed along, and it was ten minutes of pure unadulterated laughter.
The family pictured below wandered by the laughter party and got right in the spirit of things.
Finally, small groups of volunteers wandered the streets, stopping random passersby and saying "You are amazing!" with gusto. Most people seemed to greatly appreciate the sentiment, although a few appeared slightly apprehensive about being accosted by anywhere from 4 to 10 strangers loudly affirming their amazingness. Still, it was a fun social experiment that went off without a hitch.
The Levity Project creates many events that are quite similar to "flash mob" events that have been well-documented on YouTube and elsewhere. The founders of the project feel that bringing laughter, play and celebration to the streets is a means to world peace, personal change and an improved sense of connectedness. Feel free to visit their website and contact them if you'd like The Levity Project to come to your town, or if you'd like to play along!