Tag Archives: Wisdom

The Wild Comedian Breaks Free

How Comedy Can Transport Us Beyond the Walls of Conformity

I loved the first season of Amazon’s, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. For me, it is timely historical fiction at its best. It features the story of a woman in the 1950’s who starts to question the tightly wound structure of her reality after her husband unexpectedly leaves her. Throwing herself into the world of stand-up comedy, she finds she has a natural talent for it.  Her first two times in front of the microphone, she gets arrested for obscenity but it is really because she went beyond the bounds of where society felt safe. On the show, she becomes friends with Lenny Bruce, comedy’s pioneer crusader for seeking truth outside of society’s comfort zone. Lenny helped pave the way for the wild men and women who dared to laugh at the elephants and asses in the room.

Comedians have the prerogative to laugh at what we hide behind. They are the ones that get to speak truth to conformity and fear.  The wildest comedians have a driving ambition to break out of all constraints.

I remember watching John Belushi on Saturday Night Live and in Animal House, and feeling that he might actually be able to explode right out of his body.

Comedians like Mel Brooks were my first heroes.  They brought a zaniness to life that seemed to expand its possibilities for me.  By the time I was in High School, I actively declared, “Normalcy is a fallacy!” I had caught the same bug that prompts the comedian to go beyond boundaries, to discover a larger, less confined space in which to dance.

The wildness of many comedians, conventionally, has been associated with alcohol and drugs, which can break down walls of inhibition. There is a labyrinth of defenses that we have built around us, not only individually and culturally, but historically as a race.  So, while the conventional means of breaking down a few barriers seems to work, part of us may yearn to find another way to go out past our collective defenses.

Jim Carey started off as a wild comedian, who seemed like he could turn his body into rubber and bounce off the walls into another dimension. After making the film, “Man on the Moon,” about Andy Kaufman, another comedian who pushed reality to the edge, Jim went on an odyssey to learn how to transcend societies’ corral.

Recently, I watched Jim’s 2014 commencement speech at the Maharishi University of Management. It is well worth watching. He is still his animated best, but has come to a calm place within that is not limited by his physical form.

Jim Carrey’s Commencement Address at the 2014 Maharishi University of Management:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V80-gPkpH6M

Jim then grew the long beard, that has become associated with philosophers, gurus and seekers. He began to risk sounding insane while talking to the paparazzi, declaring that he didn’t exist, that he was just another character, like the many colorful characters in his 40 films.

“I played the guy that was free from concern so the people who watched me would be free from concern.”- Jim Carey

Jim is identifying, not as a “Me” but as the energy that animates all things.

“It’s a play, it’s a giant field of consciousness dancing for itself. “

“We all long to belong, and the truth is, we do. We already belong to the wholeness within us and every living thing. The plethora of groups, communities, circles, families, here on our planet are like flowers, they allow for variance of taste to offer us the opportunity to connect to the beauty that we are.  However we connect to this wholeness, the joy lies in our ability to celebrate it within our interactions.”

“The effect that you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.  All that will be left of you will be what was in your heart.”- Jim Carey

I am grateful for the drive that continues to play with reality and wake us up from complacency. Waking up to the richness of being, provides so much to rejoice in. I am especially thankful for the bouquet of interactions that I have with everything around me, especially you. This certainly is a wild ride that affords us the chance to literally laugh our asses off.

 

 

 

 

Bringing our Love-Fear Paradigm to the Table

A Thanksgiving Opportunity

My wife Julia and I were recently driving in Manhattan. While in gridlock traffic, we looked left and noticed a glowing electric sign that was hanging in a window that read, “Right NOW is all there is.” We slowly moved along and a block later, across the street, a painted window read, “Love what you do.”  As we inched forward, we started laughing as we finally noticed the truck in front of us had an insignia, “Trust”, painted on the back.  It was a beautiful synchronous moment, where we realized that our environment was reaching out to us.

We have driven on this street, several times but never saw the signs on either side because we are usually racing to get somewhere. Traffic in SOHO is never predictable and we are often generally concerned about running behind. Yet, the difference this time was, as we drove, we were listening to a book that was aligning us with love and engaging us to be more present.

Fear and love, being the two motivating forces at play in this reality, create a co-existing paradigm, similar to the particle-wave principle of light. Light is both a particle and a wave, depending on how we observe it. Similarly, being in a state of fear or love, shifts our focus and changes our environment.

.

In the midst of chaos, we have access to a pervasive calm.  What streams through us, moment to moment, is a love that offers us insights. Love can transcend the fear-based projections which motivate violence and suffering tending to dominate the world.

Both fear and love support us completely. If we are fearful, then the universe provides us with endless reasons to maintain our apprehension. If we are grounded in love, then we are able to recognize or find strength and inspiration, even in the midst of gridlock traffic.

The custom of gathering together for Thanksgiving is an opportunity to demonstrate this Love-Fear paradigm. It is all too familiar to allow dread of awkward interactions to pave the way for passive aggression, political declarations, outbursts of judgement followed by toxic silences.  With a determined intention, we can also decide to be present and align ourselves with love and gratitude. Despite all of our fearful quirks, the love we embody is worth bringing to the table. With that love, we can look past one another’s faults, and the factions we find ourselves in, to strengthen our bonds. It will also help with our digestion.

Whether you are gathered around with family or friends, or find yourself in solitude this week, may love be present. Happy Thanksgiving and a love-filled feast!