The suicide of Robin Williams hit me hard. It has shocked me and served to spur me into action. I don’t profess to have the exposure and lifestyle of Robin Williams, yet throughout my own career in the Arts industry, it has fascinated me that the people I feel most aligned with and connect to on the stage or screen, are often those who report to have been suffering from anxiety, phobias and/or depression.
As an artist I share the impulse to investigate what makes people tick, am a deep thinker and a person whose art demands that I pay attention to what matters to other people. I have certainly experienced the roller coaster ride of self esteem within an unpredictable industry and as an empathic person I do feel the collective pains and worries of the world, sometimes losing sight of what is mine and what I am picking up from others.
For the most part, it has been the strength of my spirituality that has provided the pathway to put things into perspective and enable me to make use of the incredible foundation of skills, tricks-of-the-trade and proven techniques applied by artists to perform and illuminate an audience, that has in fact been my saving grace. I have a lot to be thankful for.
I have worked in the Arts Industry for thirty years and have taught acting, life skills for recovering from the debilitating impact of bullying, and more recently amalgamate my skills in ‘The Heart of Public Speaking’ training, where a safe and supportive environment is established to support people to speak their truth at any time to any audience.
In my teachings I often refer to a conversation Helen Mirren had during an interview with Michael Parkinson. Michael said something along the lines of, “you artists, you’re all touchy-feely, and feel things so deeply; don’t you find that a bit indulgent?” Helen Mirren’s response was brilliant, she indicated that “If that’s the label you give it, then thank God we are, for it is the artist who is willing to go to those deep, dark places within and present them on screen for the direct benefit of others”. And I would add to this that the artist who ‘suffers for their art’, is displaying a willingness to go to those places to provide a service to humanity.
Throughout my life I have been labelled ‘too sensitive’ and ‘over emotional’ by those who have disconnected from their own pain and being unresolved and ill-equipped to manage it, they project their pain and fears onto me. I have lived with this understanding, knowing that when we disconnect from our hearts, we create a breeding ground for distortion.
It is with conscious intention in the wake of Robin Williams death, that I am compelled to take action and be of service in this regard. I begin here on the platform of social journalism by speaking out, speaking my truth and see where it leads.
© Patricia Herreen 2014