What began as a personal mission to find the healing powers of magic and performance art, has taken a turn into the anarchy of expression found only in the upside down world of the clown. In 2012 I closed a loop by seeking out the source of inspiration I found early in my nursing career from the Patch Adams movie. I wrote Patch a letter to share with him the impact his movie had on me back in 1999, when my mother and I spent one of our last afternoons together watching his movie. She was diagnosed with lung Cancer only a few weeks prior, and she wanted to spend her last days in HIS hospital to have fun with the time she had left. She wanted me to go work for Patch, and be a funny nurse.
Patch replied to my letter soon after I sent it, and invited me to join him on a clown mission. I accepted his offer and we journeyed to work in distressed communities in Costa Rica as a humanitarian clown. I was super jazzed for the opportunity to work with the real Patch Adams. “Chase your wildest dreams!” Patch said, closing his letter. I did, and continue to value that heartfelt charge. It remains a potent mission statement for compassionate people. As a care clown, I dug deeper artistically as I experienced Patch’s clown philosophy in action. I found how clowning was a universal way to express love to a hurting world. The care clown mission work showed me how to energize my passion, and revealed to me why performing art was a joyfully human way to connect with suffering people.
Every aspect of performance is a gift given from the heart of the performer through the hard work of developing skills to express it. Music, comedy, poetry, magic are all gifts to be given to others. The performer, the caregiver, and the clown are all simply trying to love the world, because the artist inside them understands we are all in need of it. When I found my clown, I found a source of courage and abandon to give of myself more honestly. Clowning opens up a new world for the artist. Everything is an opportunity to connect and play!