TO OURSELF LET US BE TRUE: The Clown

THE CLOWN

He was the life of every party.
A master of movement, illusion, and words.
He brought merriment and laughter to people.
But to him life was meaningless and absurd.

People came from afar to see him.
He grew more popular over the years.
When they looked at him they saw smiles.
In the mirror he saw sorrow and tears.

One day he asked himself, why am I alone?
How can this truly be?
“Stop, said a voice inside him.
For once please listen to me.

Take off the wig, the costume must go.
All props must be tossed aside.
Lastly, the painted face must go.
From me you cannot hide.”

“Who are you strange, voice?
This is the only life I know.
I bring smiles, laughter, and joy to all.
There are no tears wherever I go.”

“Tis not true, my friend,” said the voice to him.
“Your tears have brought me to you.
Although you think you are unworthy of love.
I say that you deserve it too.

I have watched you perform many times.
You do it so very well.
But after the curtain call is over,
you crawl back into your shell.

For many years you’ve been lonely
despite uplifting words that pour from your heart.
Now you yearn for Love’s tender embrace.
You need more than amusement, laughter, and art.

With humor and jest you’ve created many moods.
Without experiencing that of which you spoke.
When you cried they laughed, how could they not?
Life to you has been a big joke.

Now you have changed, you believe there is more.
You are ready to experience, to feel.
I am here to help you, dear friend.
To show you that Love is real.”

“What must I do? O, voice, please tell me I pray.
From these chains I wish to be free.
Listening to you gives me great hope
that Love will come to me.”

“Listen carefully, gentle man, to my message.
To see behind words is your task.
Experience their truth instead of their form.
And you will have that for which you ask.

Risks you must take, exposed you must be.
You must reveal your fears.
As frightening as it is to reveal your deep self.
When you do then others come near.

Not all will come some will hide behind words.
Like you, they feel it safer to run.
But one day they will reach out to Love.
I tell you my work is never done.

I bid thee adieu” said the voice to the man.
Now you are ready to trust.
Risks you will take, some pain you will.
But I promise Love will be just.

In offering your gift, the gift of yourself.
You will lose, but you will also gain more.
You will take the chance, you will be alive.
You will step on Heaven’s shore.

“I understand,” said the man.
“You are great master who came to this earth.
The voice of one who lived long ago.
And taught people about rebirth.

You never died, you were never born.
Alive you have always been.
Alive am I and love am I.
This is your promise now and then.”

“Yes,” said the voice today is your day.
Sadness and sorrow shall soon part.
Help others to feel they are not alone.
Through your wisdom, love, and your art.

“Thank you,” said the man, “you may now go
so we both can work at our pace.
A clown I am, but a different clown.
There will be no more paint on my face.”

by Michael Dennis

I have always loved clowns as most children do. Yet I always felt a sadness stirring somewhere deep in my soul when I would see them. Then I heard that song that says, "laughing on the outside, crying on the inside" at a summer performance in musical theatre and I began to view clowns a bit differently. One day a few years later my muse gave me the poem "The Clown."

“The Clown” has probably affected me more than many of my other writings. I would read it over and over again, and bask in its message. It was like I had been waiting all of my life for someone to tell me that I had permission to be me. That I did not have to don the costume and masks and act out superficial roles in life. I would think of the Greek axiom, “Know thyself” and Shakespeare’s famous quote “To thine own self be true, and thou shalt be false to no man.” One of my favorite pop songs is “The Need to Be” sung by Gladys Knight where she sings “To fulfill the need to be who I am in this world is all that I ask.” She goes on about not being able to pretend and says that she can’t wear a mask.

Discovering who we “truly are” is a life long adventure and process. One must be willing to go inward and meet all the many inner characters and get to know them as a part of this journey if one is to truly know “self”. This is both a very challenging as well as exciting endeavor to engage in. It takes courage and much honesty to come to grips with our dark side as well as our light side. Accepting our vices, addictions and weaknesses of character is as important in our life journey as accepting our strengths, talents and abilities. We cannot know “self” if we do not look in the mirror with eyes willing to gaze upon “self” as it is. We also need to face self with a willingness to challenge our vices and weaknesses that would deprive us of living fully and partaking of the wonders and treasures that our soul has to offer. We have to be willing to make changes!

Reading “The Clown” would cause me to reflect on this “new becoming”. I was filled with a sense that “a new me” was being born. Though I was not sure who this “new me” was to become, the anticipation was exciting and gave me something to look forward to daily. I would think about the biblical passage, “You must be born again before you can enter the kingdom of Heaven”. Though it would be some years before I had a strong sense of personal identity and self, the dream and hope of self actualization and finding “Me” never left. Although finding self in some ways seems abstract and evasive, I still had the desire to achieve this, and the faith that convinced me God would find me a college was just as strong. Well, there were some bad days when it wavered, but on such days I would pray for it to return.

One day I was looking in the mirror imagining that I fully knew who I was. I pictured myself as very content and satisfied with who I am. Amidst the confusion and all my problems, I dreamed of welcoming and embracing my own individuality.

I intuitively sensed that this would involve embracing the funny clown and the sad one as well. Life is full of ups and downs. Yin and Yang. Day and Night. It's called duality and polarity. May we all find that balance where peace and equanimity replace inner turmoil and conflict and may we enjoy the many gifts, mysteries, magic and wonder that life has to offer.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Dennis (513) 281-5696 - author Halfway to Heaven, Dawn's Kiss, a collection of nearly love 200 poems that explores the many faces and facets of Love, and Morning Coffee With God, coming out from Ozark Mountain Publishing in early 2010. Cincinnati, OH. Profile: Psychic, Spiritual Medium, Author as seen on Fox, CBS, Jerry Springer, heard on MOJO, MIX, Q-102 radio in Cincinnati, Michael Dennis offers a variety of Psychic Readings to meet your needs. He offers In-Person, Telephone and Email Readings. To order his books or to book a Psychic Reading please contact him directly. Please visit his website at www.mikethepsychic.com for more information or email him at paxomnis@aol.com