Patrick Murphy Welage has trained with Dr. Madan Kataria, Steve Wilson, and Sebastien Gendry. He has given Laughter Yoga classes, workshops, and retreats in some of the 44 countries where he has traveled and/or lived, including Ireland, Italy, India, Thailand, Ghana, Zambia, South Africa, Australia, and the United Sates! He also teaches Theology and Philosophy at a university, and he has over 40 years experience working in issues related to Social Justice, Peace and Justice programs, and Service Learning programs and semesters. He also facilitates workshops on Forgiveness and the Healing of Memories. Patrick is a seasoned internationally celebrated speaker, trainer, and teacher, who has been identified as one of the senior figures in the international Laughter Yoga movement!

Patrick lived and worked in Sarajevo, Bosnia for six years, directing an academic service learning project and working for both NATO and the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights (UNHCHR). He remembers "living in a war zone was a life-changing experience, especially at a time when the country was beginning its slow healing and reconciliation process. I suppose that I did not fully realize at the time that I was also healing from an internal war within myself, and so it made sense to begin that process in the context of a community struggling to do the same." 

The time in Bosnia set the stage for Patrick to continue his work, both professionlly and personally, in other countries, including Saudi Arabia, Thailand, India, Peru, the United States and especially South Africa. Patrick shares "post-Apartheid South Africa has given the world the best (although not a perfect) model of moving toward peace, truth, reconciliation, and the possibility of forgiveness." Under the brilliant leadership of Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and so many others, South Africa created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a national project. Out of the many people and projects contributing to the new "rainbow nation" of South Africa, Patrick was drawn to Fr. Michael Lapsley and The Institute for Healing of Memories. Patrick reflects that "Michael's story is so powerful precisely because he took his own pain and suffering, which became a metaphor for South Africa, and he transformed it for himself and for others. Now, due to Michael's work worldwide, others have modeled the process of moving from victim to survivor to victor. Every person can learn from this!"

Still, with all the madness of human pain and struggles, with all the insanity of the world's addiction to "consumerism, convenience, and credit," and with all the intense international traveling, Patrick realized that he had allowed his heart to be broken open to the reality of the world. Something was missing. And so, somewhere along the line (actually, it was in November, 2002) Patrick was visiting the ashram and tomb of Avatar Meher Baba in India. It was there that he discovered the gift of Laughter Yoga, a gift that he integrates into every aspect of his life and shares with others. Patrick celebrates "Well, who ever would have thought?!!! Today, I still teach and work with social justice issues and deal the the 'yuk' of the world; and I get to travel, meet the coolest (and warmest!) people on the planet, and laugh!" In addition to Laughter Yoga, Patrick continues teaching classes in Theology, Philosophy, International Studies, Service Learning, and Theatre Arts in both graduate and undergraduate programs. He continues to give workshops and retreats on Forgiveness. He continues to travel. And, he continues to laugh!

Sometimes people ask Patrick about his religion and his politics. He openly replies, "Ha, Ha! My religion is 'all of the above!!!' As Gandhi wrote in 1908 'Religions are different roads converging to the same point. What does it matter that we take different roads so long as we reach the same goal?' Now, as for politics, Ho, Ho, Ho!, I like to say that my politics is 'none of the above!!!' Mother Teresa wrote in 1982 'In these times of development, everybody is in a hurry and everybody's in a rush, and on the way there are people falling down, who are not able to compete. These are the ones we want to love and serve and take care of.' So, you see, it is all about creating a simple, sane, and peaceful world. My friend Desmond Tutu said 'Peace involves inevitable righteousness, justice, wholesomeness, fullness of life, participation in decision making, goodness, laughter, joy compassion, sharing, and reconciliation.'" 

When Fear and LOVE meet…..Face to face in the middle…..Forgiveness is born. 
Peace begins with a smile. 
Laughter is a practice of non-violence. 
The rest is easy~

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