It occurred to me as I am planning my St. Patty’s Day dinner, that my American born Chinese father introduced me to this custom of celebrating this day with a corned beef dinner and all the fixings- the boiled potatoes, the carrots and peas, the cabbage…. and that food plays such a big role in our lives.

Food not just to sustain and nourish me but to add joy to each day and serves as a bridge to cultures and flavors, spices, discovery and adventure. I enjoy eating alone but it’s much better when shared. (Same thing with laughter!)

Whether I am celebrating western holidays, religious celebrations, the Asian New Year, National/International Awareness Days, birthdays, anniversaries, memorials, silly commercial holidays, the fact remains that we Americans love to celebrate and when we do, everyone is welcome. We have the most generous hearts of all. That’s why people feel drawn to coming to America. Big helpings, free refills, super size me, come on down!

My cultural background is a hodgepodge of American Chinese, SwissGerman, Italian, French.

hodge·​podge | ˈhäj-ˌpäj

Definition of hodgepodge

: a heterogeneous mixture : JUMBLE

a hodgepodge of styles

The description can take on a negative connotation but I prefer to see it more as being positive. I am a grateful hodgepodge. I feel fortunate to have such a mixed heritage.

As I am horrified to hear the latest news update of a hate killing, six Asian women being hunted down and shot in Atlanta, my heart is breaking for the Asian community. As a half-Asian, I am shocked, outraged, fearful for hatred directed towards the Asian and other communities, especially since the pandemic. These are crazy times and I see lots of reckless and irresponsible behaviors. In politics, racing/impatient drivers on the highways, anger and fear and frustration. When will we all have access to the Covid-19 vaccination? How long until we can hug each other and travel again? (Patience Laughter, We can get through this Laughter.)

Don’t get me wrong. I am not proposing that laughter will allow our problems and all the injustice to go away. There certainly isn’t an easy fix. However, the type of laughter we do in Laughter Yoga helps us to let go of the stress and tension we are feeling. It allows us to stay resilient in the face of adversity because we are being proactive and allowing ourselves to work through the situation with soothing laughter, rather than letting the rage and feelings of helplessness build up. Once we have downshifted from that stressful state, we are able to think more clearly and find better solutions.

Recognizing that we are still so divided in the USA, we have such a long way to go for us to heal- yet again. Let us not forget the turmoil, the losses, the injustice but let us not overlook the little nuggets around us that can help lift us up and allow these small joys into our hearts.

Don’t stoke the fear, feed the joy. The hunt for a four-leaf clover will take you outside into the green and who knows what you might discover along the way? Even if you don’t find it, it was worth the search. It’s not the final destination, it’s the interesting journey. Just keep your eyes peeled for the unexpected delights. Deep breath in and out.

I am thinking about how many people are wearing green today, regardless of their culture and upbringing. People like me, who just want to focus on connecting in a good way. Coming together over a meal, remembering past celebrations with loved ones, allowing ourselves the pleasure of just having fun again. Let’s remain hopeful by allowing ourselves to savor and become more playful.

Cheers to you and to your goodness!

Love & Laughter,