Laughing Down the Moon

Table of Contents

Cover

Title Page

Copyright

About the Author

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four

Chapter Thirty-Five

Chapter Thirty-Six

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Bella Books

Copyright © 2013 by Eva Indigo

 

Bella Books, Inc.

P.O. Box 10543

Tallahassee, FL 32302

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, without permission in writing from the publisher.

 

First Bella Books Edition 2013

Bella Books eBook released 2013

 

Editor: Katherine V. Forrest

Cover Designed by: Judith Fellows

 

ISBN: 978-1-59493-388-2

 

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

About the Author

Until now, Eva Indigo’s writing has been somewhat closeted, even though she has not. By day, Eva Indigo teaches high school students about literature and writing, but by night she reads, writes, and runs—sometimes all at once.

In her recent history, she has helped to deliver lambs on the pasture; has developed a love of travel, thanks to her French wife; has earned a PhD in education out of curiosity; and has rescued several incredible companion animals. Ages ago, despite being very misplaced, she investigated the U.S. Army from the inside out as a member of the military police. After eight years, she found that she didn’t like polishing boots, would never shoot anyone, and didn’t understand what the war was all about anyway.

Now Eva splits her time between the woods around her cabin and her home in Minneapolis, unless she’s fortunate enough to find herself running the hills of Ceyreste, France. It’s in these places that she looks forward to un-closeting many more novels.

 

Spell for a Book Dedication

 

Light an indigo candle to honor another new beginning.

Scent your pages with cinnamon incense.

Sip something warm, sweet and mysterious.

Curl up in the corner of your couch.

 

This book is dedicated to

You

with the gentle moon held in your heart

and

deep magic flowing in your veins.

Acknowledgments

I must acknowledge and thank Catherine Friend, Katherine V. Forrest, and Cath Walker for their patient editing. I also thank Catherine Friend and Melissa Peteler for letting me farm-sit at Rising Moon Farm so that I could write surrounded by happy sheep. With unconditional love, I thank my wife, Florence. She is a self-proclaimed non-reader, yet she smiled as I followed her around the house reading my entire book aloud to her, and when I stopped, she asked for more. If I might be allowed to thank a place, I thank Bearheart Pond for feeding my writer’s soul.

Chapter One

Laughing Half Moon

It was hard, but I did it. Right in the middle of a half moon pose, I managed a low rumble of a laugh. A few people in the laughter yoga class craned their necks to glance at me, but they didn’t join in. Too shy?

Determined, I chuckled toward my navel during a very relaxing downward dog pose. No one joined me, but the magazine article said that people would chime in with their own laughter as the spirit moved them. Sometimes the first few laughs were infectious, and the whole room would rock with guffaws, trills and giggles. Other times the laughter might start slowly like a thunderstorm moving across the plains, a bolt of laughter here and there with quite a bit of time passing before the skies opened with the downpour of hilarity. From downward dog into chair pose and then into mountain pose, I let the chuckles continue as I arched my back and stared into the yoga studio’s ceiling, wondering why the Y didn’t paint it a more soothing shade. A stark white surface pocked with dark gray and black divots created the sky that covered us all as we flowed through the poses of my first laugh yoga class.

“Let your feet become one with the earth below you,” the instructor advised through the microphone hooked over her right ear. “Dig deep into your world. Feel at one with yourself and everything that is around, beneath and above you,” she said.

I laughed heartily to let her know I appreciated her words.

My attention was drawn to the young woman on my left as she let her arms fall to her sides, looked hard at me, scooped up her yoga mat and marched across the studio to unfurl her mat nearer the mirrors. It was important to feel your spot, I knew, and she must not have been feeling it next to me. No worries. I tightened my long dark ponytail and concentrated on my breath. At the direction of the instructor, I eased myself into the chair pose.

I started to think about last week’s meeting with Dr. Browning, the psychiatrist I had consulted. Dr. Browning didn’t think I was depressed, but what else could explain my recent experiences? My life had become lackluster. I suspected I
was
depressed. This diagnosis wouldn’t be exciting, decadent or glamorous. It would be, in fact, just sort of…well, it would be just depressing, no pun intended; however, a proper diagnosis of depression would at least offer me a point from which to address the way I’d been skimming life’s surface lately. Although Dr. Browning had said she wouldn’t be sure until the screening had been evaluated, she said she believed I was experiencing the normal ups and downs of life. Why was I hoping for a dismal diagnosis?

I let out a giant guffaw straight from the depths of my belly, just like the laugh yoga article recommended. The way I’d been feeling lately was the reason I was here giving laugh yoga a go. Patrick, one of my oldest friends, had given me the article he’d come across in the
Star Tribune
. He’d recognized laugh yoga as something that was perfect for me. I was willing to trust him because he knew me better than almost anyone. He’d seen me through a long line of botched attempts at relationships and was still nursing me through this failure with my ex-girlfriend, Mickey. Patrick thought the laugh yoga might be more uplifting than anything Dr. Browning might prescribe. He had even gone out of his way to locate a class at the Y and buy me a new, deep green yoga mat. I hadn’t the heart to tell Patrick that I already had a mat, but since it was collecting dust and probably housing a few families of mice in the garage, I welcomed the new mat as a happy beginning on my journey out of this funk that had enveloped me over the past year.

Patrick helped me become a Y member just yesterday. I was anti-gym but decided to give this a chance. I was surprised to find myself looking forward to the class this morning, so perhaps it was indeed just what I needed. Normally, because I have always disliked working out, it would have been doomed to go to the bottom of my to-do list. If someone told me that people-watching, eating Almond Joys and drinking red wine at Calhoun Beach counted as a workout, I’d never do it again. Seriously, the whole notion of working out took the fun right out of any activity. I was beginning to feel that way about my career as well.

Unfortunately, freelance writing had begun to resemble a job, work, rather than a career. The topics I was writing about seemed to pale in comparison to those I used to cover, even though there were no discernible differences between them. A few years ago the topics were fascinating. Now they were mundane. I was able to muster more enthusiasm to brush my teeth than to crank out an article. Perhaps I was burning out on writing. I let loose a loud haw-haw to chase this thought from my mind. This was really beginning to grow on me. I smiled more deeply as I heard another woman echo my laughter. Finally. I could already feel the benefit of laughing away bleak thoughts.

Did the instructor really just shush somebody? Or was that an almighty exhalation from a nearby yogi? At any rate, my mind focused on moving from warrior one to the triangle pose. I swiped at my sweat-soaked bangs and pulled down the elastic of the almost unnecessary shelf bra in my yoga top as I moved into the next pose. I pretended my next exuberant laugh was shooting straight out of my upstretched hand and aimed at the boring ceiling. I’ve read a bit about yoga and eked through enough yoga DVDs at home to know that the goal of yoga was to stop thinking mundane thoughts and focus only on breathing and the body. Okay, but banishing thoughts with laughter was proving to be good medicine. The next time I came for this class, I would concentrate solely on not thinking. I’d concentrate only on breathing and belly-laughing. It was weird that so far only the one woman had joined in, but that article had said that everyone should feel comfortable laughing at her own time. Perhaps this was an especially somber group today. It could be that they were all feeling the grim chill that had descended overnight. Whatever. I was feeling pretty good.

The instructor directed us into the smiling cow face pose. I wasn’t familiar with that one, so I glanced over at my neighbor to my right. She was sitting up and folding her legs, one over the other like logs on the corner of a cabin. Ouch. I tried to copy her, stacking one knee over the other while sitting back on my sit bones. Good luck with this one.

“Let your face fall naturally, unclench your jaw and let ease flow through your eyes,” the instructor crooned.

What? In this pose? I didn’t think it was possible for ease to flow anywhere, let alone through my eyes. What did that mean anyway? I looked over at my neighbor who stared at me and then raised her eyebrows high. I raised my eyebrows back at her. Is this what “flowing ease” was? Or maybe this was the reason it was called smiling cow face. Made sense. It did feel good to raise my brows high, but my legs wouldn’t do what they were supposed to do. I unclenched my jaw, but kept my eyebrows raised, so that I at least had that part of the pose correct. After a few more excruciating seconds of smiling cow face, the instructor directed us into child’s pose—one that I was especially good at—and had us stay with our foreheads pressed to our mats for several moments. While I was communing, head down, with my yoga mat, I slowed my breathing and let out one more long, soft laugh. All this laughter soothed and energized me at the same time—incredible because it had been some time since I had felt energetic. As I eased myself back into the corpse pose, I realized the feeling was a welcome change.

“Namaste,” the instructor said, and rose and bowed at us.

What? Was the class over already? The instructor sounded like she was eager to be somewhere else. We had gone through all the well-known poses, ending with a series of relaxation postures…was it really over? Why had only one other person laughed? I looked around the dim studio while the other yogis busied themselves with rolling up mats, putting on socks and shoes and drinking water. No one looked around in bewilderment like I did. In fact, everyone looked down except one woman who looked across the studio toward me. I couldn’t be sure if she was looking at me, so I smiled, still feeling the warmth of all my laughter. Her expression didn’t change at all. I watched as she tucked her black chin-length hair behind her ear. She had rolled her mat and slung its cord over one shoulder, holding the cord taut across her chest with one hand. Her other arm was bent at a ninety-degree angle in front of her. She was standing stock-still. Waiting, I guessed, for her friend who eventually took the woman’s free arm and walked with her toward the studio door. They bent their heads together to discuss something that made them both smile. I looked down at my mat as they walked past me; I didn’t want to be thought rude for staring.

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