Reflection Masthead
Issue 112 - Robin Williams - August 2014

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Memorable Quotes 


       Wizard:"You know what music is? God's little reminder that there's something else besides us in this universe; harmonic connection between all living beings, every where, even the stars."

 Chris Nielsen: "A human life is just a heartbeat in heaven."

     Good Will Hunting: "Real loss is only possible when you love something more than you love yourself."     

       Jack: "If you're ever distressed, cast your eyes to the Summer sky when the stars are strung across the velvety night. And when a shooting star streaks through the blackness, turning night into day, make a wish, and think of me. Make your life spectacular. I know I did."

       Patch Adams: "All of life is a coming home. Salesmen, secretaries, coal miners, beekeepers, sword swallowers, all of us. All the restless hearts of the world, all trying to find a way home."

Past Issues


2-Creating Sacred Space

3-Leaving Footprints


5-Ordered Life

76-Vanier Visit

87-Wondrous Fear, Holy Awe

91-Crater Lake



101-On Reflections 

102-Morning Moments

104-Into Self Into God

107-First Home

108-NBA Championship

109-Not Nice

110-On Freedom 

111-Electronic Dependency

Link to all past issues 


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Fragile Against the Darkness
       There are several magazines on my shelves that date back 25 years. The one with the cover photo of Robin Williams is a keeper because Williams, in this photo, is very alive - not the hyper-energetic comedian who has you guffawing at his antics, but the Robin Williams who is 'awakened'. I can see it in his eyes. It is probably no coincidence that this 1989 magazine photo was published just before his movie Awakenings (1990) was released. My hunch is that as Williams took on the movie character of British neurologist Oliver Sacks, the scientist who awakened catatonic patients, Williams himself was opened to the consciousness stream we call "awakening" in the spiritual life. The next year his movie, Fisher King, (1991) was released. (In mythological language, the Fisher King is the archetype of the wounded feeling function in masculine psychology.) Those years, 1990-1991, seemed to be a pivotal transition in Robin Williams' life.

        When we are awakened, we commonly become aware of our inability to find true joy, worth, and meaning in life. The subsequent psychic journey is the path we choose in our quest for fulfillment. Unfortunately, Williams trod the path of mind-altering substances as a buffer against the darkness. He was a genius. And like many geniuses, his psychic core was extremely fragile. The more he came face-to-face with the darkness of depression, the more fragile his genius became.

       We all struggle in varying degrees with the darkness and with our shadow until the darkness is redeemed by light. Psychologist Carl Jung said, "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human experience is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being." In our collective grief at the loss of such a brilliant entertainer, let us be inspired by the light shown through his life - the genius of creativity, spontaneity, and improvisation; the genius of acting, voice representation, and character portrayal; the genius of versatility, achievement, and brilliance. Robin Williams, the twinkle in your eye and the light of your life will always shine. Rest in peace.

                                                     --by Jan



The Wrestler

After interviewing Robin Williams in 2010, British journalist Decca Aitkenhead wrote, "He seems gentle and kind - even tender - but the overwhelming impression is one of sadness."

While he kept the rest of us laughing, Williams wrestled with the demons of loneliness, substance abuse, and sadness.  Robin Williams was a wrestler - literally. He was on the wrestling team in high school, and played a wrestler in his first major film success (The World According to Garp, 1982). Watching the wrestling scenes, there was no question that Williams knew what he was doing. For his role as a teacher in Dead Poets' Society (1989), he consciously modeled his character on John Campbell, his high-school history teacher and wrestling coach.

The Book of Genesis tells the story of Jacob, wrestling with an angel.  Although Jacob prevailed, he walked ever after with a limp. Robin Williams was also scarred by his psychic wrestling. He limped, but he also laughed, and he never lost that kindness, that tenderness.

In a blog post after Williams died, Sue Campbell, his wrestling coach's daughter, writes of Williams' "decency and kindness" to her father at a later time in life, when her father was wrestling with his own demons.

Robin Williams was quick to mock the pretensions of anyone. But he was never bitter, never mean. Aware of his own woundedness, he was gentle with the wounds of others. 

                                                 --by Bill 


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Sincerely,  Bill Howden & Jan Davis
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