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I Suffer Too (a tribute to Robin Williams)


Brad Williams

The death of Robin Williams this week has come as a great surprise. Who would of thought that such a brilliant comedian, humanitarian, loving, gentle and successful person could be in so much pain? The death of Robin has certainly caused me to look more deeply into my own patterns and the way I mask my suffering through comedy and smiley faces.

To the public I am sure I come across as always being positive, but this is far from the truth.  Watching and supporting my wife Celeste grieve the loss of her father after he committed suicide three years ago opened up a well within myself of deep feeling, suppressed grief, un dealt with emotion and forgotten pain. Her journey taught me how to be more vulnerable, open and in tune with my own emotional body and for this I am grateful beyond words.

There are days that getting out of bed is a big effort and there are other days where I feel like I am in a thick, dark cloud and all I can do is lay on the Earth and let the heaviness ooze out of me. But I don’t see this as depression, bi-polar or anything else. It is life and more and more I am at peace when waves like this hit me. I believe we come here to experience the full spectrum of emotion and if we look at the world outside of ourselves there is so much pain and suffering. It’s hard not to feel.

It’s true, I suffer too.

DepresyonI have a mother who lives with horrible pain in her body and there is nothing I can do about it. I have a brother who wants nothing to do with me and two incredible nephews who I never get to see. I owe money to people I care about and there are still months where I find it challenging to stay on top of things. I have epic battles with self doubt  and I can hear a loud voice in my mind that tries to convince me that I’m a loser and there is something wrong with me.

This is not a rant, a complaint or competition because I know there are many people who suffer far more than I do. I just want to open up, be honest and put down my mask of who I think the world wants me to be. It does not serve. These are the lessons I am growing through right now and perhaps by sharing them openly it might help another to work through their challenges too. I imagine if we were all more open with how shitty we actually felt instead of saying we’re “fine or good,” then perhaps we would see less amazing people take their own lives and maybe we’d have more compassion for the grumpy assholes of the world. Maybe if we all opened our hearts and shared what’s true for us we would experience less loneliness and more connection.

We may not all share the same political views or see life through the same lense. But one thing we do have in common is that we all have pain inside us that needs to come to light and be loved.

I have had more than a handful of friends who were incredibly gifted and seemingly happy go-lucky people who committed suicide and it saddens me to see one of my favourite comedians and actors go this way too. As I have dipped in and out of my own low tides I have learned something very valuable that I will share with you now.

Make yourself a Lifeline List. What this is, is a checklist of things you can do that you know can help pull your head out of the sorrow or suffering because when you’re in it, it can be very hard to see the light switch in the dark.

Below is my Lifeline Checklist that I use in my dark hours:

[  ]  Meditate (when I’m really down and out I put on one of my audio meditations to guide me practice)
[  ]  Deep breathing (I will set a timer and do 5-10 minutes of power breathing to clear my energy)
[  ]  Lay on the Earth (grounding is one of the most powerful ways we can recalibrate our energy)
[  ]  Write in my journal (a prayer, gratitude list or forgiveness letter are common entries)
[  ]  Walk in nature or go for a long hike without my phone
[  ]  Sleep
[  ]  Go golfing
[  ]  Hydrate (often times dehydration is a big part of feeling clouded and crappy)
[  ]  Get a coaching or healing session (asking for help has been big for me)
[  ]  Go do a reBirthing breath session (the most potent form of healing I know)
[  ]  Allow myself to be held and nurtured by someone I trust (usually my wife)
[  ]  Have a big cry, scream, sound healing session to get the energy out of me
[  ]  Exercise, dance, sweat, move the body
[  ]  Do ceremony (go to a sweat lodge, tobacco prayer offering, etc…)
[  ]  Listen to the voice of pain inside of me and ask what it needs to feel seen, loved and heard
[  ]  Have a bath or jump in freezing cold water
[  ]  Be in the company of a good friend

By doing the things on my Lifeline Checklist I can usually pull myself back into balance. Sometimes it takes a lot of effort, but it is always worth it. Gratitude has probably been the most important lesson I have learned in my life (and am still learning). Even during the super difficult painful experiences I do my best to say thank you to life. In fact, thank you is my go-to mantra in life. No matter what happens I do my best to say thank you. This allows me to release my resistance so I may be open to the blessing that life is offering.

My own suffering has taught me to be kinder and gentler to myself, as well as with everyone I meet. It has also taught me that feeling crappy is okay and that being my own best friend is the greatest gift I can give myself because as we saw through Robin Williams’ passing this week, we can have millions of people love us, but if we don’t love ourselves none of it matters because we won’t let it in.

Thank you Robin Williams for making me laugh, for making me cry, and for inspiring me to have a sense of humor through the journey of life.

I celebrate you and all the joy you have brought to the world and the legacy your work will continue to bring for many generations to come.

To my reader, thank you for coming this far. If there is anything you would like to share, please do it in the comments section below. If this has inspired you then please consider sharing it with your friends. Perhaps someone you know needs to read it.

Wendy Foster says August 13, 2014

So great, Brad! and nice to see you acknowledging, Nancy. I could share a whole book on this subject, starting with my father’s suicide, my own personal experiences, and the heart-breaking stories of several clients over the years. Being vulnerable in our sharing is true strength. Love you guys!!!

Kary Michaels says August 14, 2014

Thank you my friend! <3

Susan Wight says August 15, 2014

Hi Bradley,

Yes, thank you for sharing this where you wrote: “This allows me to release my resistance so I may be open to the blessing that life is offering.”
I have found this to be true as well. And when I go beyond even saying ‘thank you’ and I also allow, surrender and embody what life might be teaching me in any given moment, I find it allows new awareness of hidden thoughts creating suffering through judgment and resistance to life, and then by allowing, it brings realization of the presence and energy of Infinite Spirit within. I’ve come to know that any time I’m trying to get rid of something, it’s ego trying to fix ego….I haven’t found ego fixing ego to ever really work. But when I surrender, not as a technique, but truly let go, then things shift in ways my mind could never have imagined.

I feel invited to be more real and honest by reading your post…not as in dumping my story on others, but just being real….telling the truth. Thank you for that Bradley.

I love your list. It’s a good one! Bless you for sharing.

Namaste, Susan

    Bradley Morris says August 15, 2014

    I appreciate what you’ve said here and even more-so appreciate your commitment to share yourself with authenticity and courage. What a beautiful gift that will be for others to receive (especially yourself). Here’s the the next steps my friend. Thank you for reading and sharing your beautiful insights.

Julie says August 15, 2014

I visited with my 24 year old son yesterday and I realized that something that came from this last act of desperation by this wonderful man was to tease out such similar feelings, particularly from young men. As a society we raise our poor sons to believe that ‘big boys don’t cry’. As a whole society we ignore and hide this pain and I am very grateful to Robin Williams, to you Bradley and to all of us to just recognize and ‘be’ with the darkest of days. My own belief is that despair, like quicksand, deepens when we struggle in it. To lie on the earth and allow it, with a checklist, is a wise idea indeed.

Do you live in Victoria Bradley? Or Canada? Just wondering!

    Bradley Morris says August 15, 2014

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and appreciation Julie. Indeed it is challenging for young men to express their emotions authentically and be vulnerable without the fear of being called a coward or p#%&*y. I hope more young adults will be able to stand in authenticity and I feel like for those who are ready hiring a personal life coach, councillor or psychotherapist is a great way to go. Safety is key.

    As for location, I live on Salt Spring Island close to Victoria. Love it over on the SSI! You?

Lisa says August 15, 2014

Dear Bradidude & Cowabungites,
Thankyou for sharing, thankyou

Erika Andersson says August 24, 2014

Thank you for sharing!
It’s really brave of you to be yourself online. I wish I could be that brave, show my face and tell my story to the whole world. Maybe I will one day :)

Right now I feel the need to tell you something about my life. This is something I have been thinking about for a long time.. It’s about family. I know most people praise their family. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I hate my own family. I know they have their struggles and all that but..
My parents are egoists. They put themselves before us children. They have “never been wrong” and it’s always someone else’s fault. We children had to take their blames and their responsibilities. But I didn’t understand this when I was younger. I thought it was my fault and I wasn’t worthy of better and all that.

My parents say all kind of bad stuff about others and the world because they see the world as a dark place. And when one of us children isn’t around it isn’t unusual for them to say nasty stuff about that person. They pit us children against each other, especially our mother. I have realised she does this to look good. I mean, she makes someone else look bad, even her own kids just to look good. She does this all the time. She wants to be at the center of everything. When I bought my first dog she did everything to make him love her more. She played with him and gave him meat and other desirable things while I had to do the practical stuff. She made sure the love and affection would be hers but she never ever admitted it. It was my fault or I was just imagining it. Like I have imagined she wasn’t there for me when I grew up. My oldest sister cared for me most of the times, my mother even tried to make our relationship seem unhealthy. I only had my sister back then so without her I was alone. Oh, I have seen this pattern over and over again.. Our parents weren’t there for us and no one else was allowed to take their place. And it was always something wrong with us. When we tried to tell them something was wrong or got angry about the way we were treated, they just laughed at us, humiliated us.
And my father.. I realised recently that he is a control freak type 2… Maybe my mother is something similar? She is just better at disguising it.
We children have always wanted them to get a divorce, but no. I think our mother stays with our father because he is bad in so many ways and it makes her look good. And maybe he stays because he thinks he doesn’t deserve better?
This isn’t meant as a rant, I just felt the need to tell someone and my confession here is I have always wished I had other parents. A mother who doesn’t tell me I should stay with an emotional abusive man because “I won’t get anything better”. A father who protects me.. Parents who care and put my needs before their fears. Parents who show me I am worthy of the best and I am lovable. It would have been so much easier that way.
I know I can give myself love and I now know I’m worthy of a better life but it has been a long way and I have felt so lonely.

For everyone who hasn’t supportive and truly loving parents. You arn’t alone. And it’s not your fault your parents weren’t there. It’s not your fault you were born in that family.
You have the right to not love your parents. They are humans too and it’s hard to love every person in the world, especially when they hurt you over and over again. No matter their reasons, it doesn’t give them the right to treat you wrong.
You have the right to express the pain and sadness you feel and You deserve all the love and happiness.

Thank you for reading <3

Lori says August 24, 2014

Thank you for touching our souls, letting us share our sorrows, and helping us heal.
I shared your article on Facebook and tweeted:

“This writer points out so many of my feelings that I felt the whole entire week or so after Robin William’s death. We have grown up with him, laughed with him, and been challenged to help others because of him. And; if you DO relate to this, I hope this writer challenges you as his words have challenged me.”

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