A Lesson in Dying

Balance in the arts, reflections on Robin Williams.The arts are a taxing occupation. It is a way of life that has no beginning or end for those that dive into its wonder and unknown.

Today, I mourn the passing of actor and comedian, Robin Williams, who took his life at the age of 63. A man known for his lightening speed wit and energy was also on a continuous and public journey of balance. Many in the arts struggle with balancing the highs and lows of creation, collaboration, and audience praise/criticism. It is a roller coaster inside the heart and mind that often has no clear path.

What do artists do when they are in need of balance? How do we, in the community, in the education of art, support and teach self-care? Often the exterior of the artist has been all that people gravitate towards. And being so convincing in their persona, in their belief in the art, the artist’s inner struggle is often masked or overlooked.

It reminded me of a classic monologue in the comic, Watchmen:

Mourning Robin Williams. Balancing artistry & self-care. http://creativelyindependent.net

I want to take this moment to remind us all, myself included, to actively practice self-care and vulnerability to ask for help within our ensemble. Listen. Empathize. Show compassion for the individual paths all of us are forging.

Here is a clip of Williams’ portrayal of the doctor and humor advocate, Patch Adams. A beautiful speech honoring death and comedy. It was striking to see in this clip another great loss this year, Philip Seymour Hoffman. May their soul rest easy now. Thank you for all you have given us to enjoy and learn from. You will both be missed greatly.

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