Asbestos Gelos

I love the Greek phrase, asbestos gelos. I just recently found it while rereading Homer’s Iliad and it became my “phrase du jour” for many jours!  When I mentioned it to friends, there were several speculative comments about what it might mean. Even though these were good guesses, I must tell you that it does not translate into “jello made from asbestos,” it is not a Christmas carol, although someone pointed out that it can indeed be sung to the tune of Adeste Fidelis, and it is definitely not a curse or a spell cast by Harry Potter.

Asbestos Gelos (as-bes-tos yay-los) literally means “fireproof laughter.” I like that. Homer used it in reference to the laughter of the gods; it was unquenchable laughter…laughter in the face of fear and adversity.  How cool is that? It has long been said that he who laughs…lasts, and I believe that is true! I like to think of fireproof laughter as a spirit of joy and hope that transcends hardship and woe and offers promise in times of tribulation. It isn’t about being goofy and laughing in inappropriate situations, but to me, it’s about refusing to be robbed of joy and not allowing other people or a set of circumstances to suck the hope out of your soul!

When I think back on the missed opportunities in my life, they usually happened during one of my “fearstorms.”  I always refer to interFEARance as being the cause of many of our problems. It happens when we lose confidence, joy, hope and our footing….then we fall. I like to think of asbestos gelos as happening when our fear and joy collide and we decide to choose hope instead of despair.

I am a worrier, so I have taken to calling upon asbestos gelos when I feel myself begin to slide down Negativity Hill. When I say the phrase, my mind conjures up a super shero character with AG on her chest, head thrown back in laughter, shaking a fist at a cloud of doom and shouting “I laugh at you!”  Sounds silly, but it makes me giggle and it shifts my brain gears.

I don’t believe that we were meant to live with a spirit of fear and timidity…we are supposed to access joy and laughter at every opportunity. So I challenge you to make “asbestos gelos” part of your vocabulary. And try saying it with an accent…it sounds even better!

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