Recommended Reading Soundtrack: MountainTop by Bedouin Soundclash on Album “Light the Horizon”
Recently I found myself engaged in my annual hiking tradition of tackling a 12,600 foot mountain called Santa Fe Baldy here in New Mexico. As I was rising higher and higher in altitude up this beautiful giant that holds a special place in my heart, my inner rock star was on repeat with the song Mountain Top by Bedouin Soundclash. Over and over again the words cycled “Up on the Mountain Top!” while I grew more and more out of breath. I even ran into an older gentleman whistling Chariots of Fire (his own inner rock star was clearly on a different plane), which sounded as loud as my first Alpine speaker system in my very old college VW Rabbit because the mountains are enveloped in a profound quietude at 7:30 in the morning, but it could not overpower this punk rock motivation.
Climbing a mountain, in the isolated wilderness as nature buzzes along in sync with the sunrise for 14 miles gives you a lot of time to be alone with yourself- your mind and all its delusional perceptions. It became a metaphor for my life, as it often does, and did in the very song by Bedouin Soundclash. We are constantly moving even when we don’t want to, toward a horizon colored in disaster and joy. The sky can be mucked with clouds and thunderstorms but that horizon still exists beneath the cover. Our mind can be rattled with aggravation, depression, or anxiety- but life just keeps buzzing by and we have a choice to either go along with it, or let it push us forward kicking and screaming.
Oh, There You Are Peter
A few days after my hike, the news regarding the death of Robin Williams struck my heart as it did do many others in this world. I know that much of our planet has been writing about it, talking about it, dedicating time spots in television with some of his most memorable movies. But I can’t help but express my own sadness about his passing. I didn’t know this man, but I felt like I did. I grew up with him and his improvisational genius. His smile became a permanent fixture in my heart from the scene in Hook when he begins to remember his inner Peter Pan, his truth (Click Here to Watch!).
Life’s challenge to remember our joy can be like climbing a mountain and never reaching that beautiful view promised to you by all the hiking guide books. Yet, he helped me remember it all the time! In fact, there were times where I myself wanted to let go of this life and would lay in my bed crying, wishing that I no longer had to endure the forgetfulness that comes with being human. But I would put on Hook and remember that amidst the struggle of my mind’s demons there was something inside me that recognized itself in the people around me (even when I wanted to shoot the television when the miscast Julia Roberts came on screen as Tink- nothing against you Ms. Roberts).
I think about how his world as a celebrity must have been so strange. Always having to put on a face for people when he might have felt desperation inside his heart. It is so easy for us to play the part of someone else even when we might not want to go there. But when the cameras were on, he was so good at it! And I believe that all of us are pretty darn good at it. We’ve been programmed to forget who we are and why we are here.
Your Fantabulous Light on the Horizon
But you know what, Mr. Williams? You helped me remember- because you struggled with it yourself. You helped a lot of people remember and that was your gift to us. Over the weekend I had the unique pleasure of getting to spend a few days with my niece and nephews on the east coast. Aladdin was on, and so was Mrs. Doubtfire. I saw my niece light up with laughter at age 5 when she saw Mrs. Doubtfire’s fake boobs catch on fire while cooking for the first time. I had the opportunity to talk to her about the fantabulous joy you brought to so many people’s hearts, and will continue to bring with what you’ve left behind for us to bear witness to your soul’s gifts, the light on the horizon.
With all that I am, I shall continue to be inspired by you and hope that I can bring others comfort much in the way you brought it to me. Sometimes we may feel lost, but if we can just remember the Peter Pan that we truly are in what we share as human beings, we have a chance at seeing the joys of Never Never Land even when we are experiencing the life of another human being toiling away in our cubical. Your generosity can only be described as that light on the horizon that we see so often and linger in its beauty. “You are a sky full of stars.” Thank you.