There was a vortex created with Robin Williams passing yesterday. A vortex of pain that some souls will choose to dive into. (There’s a phenomena that exists that when a famous person commits suicide there is usually a rash of copycat suicides across the country.)
I felt that vortex open up and try to seduce me as well. My Achilles heel has always been suicide. It is something that has been handed down through the generations. The latest victim in my family, after my father took his own life, was my nephew Jason who took his at the tender age of 35, just a few years ago.
Jason’s death was like a sucker punch to the throat. It made me feel so vulnerable to the Siren’s song of suicide. She is so seductive.
The lure of ‘no more pain’ is hard to resist when the internal agony has been going on for so long and it seems there is no end in sight. I have experienced that pain in my own dark times and I have fought with the Siren myself. Three times.
Three suicide attempts. Pills always. (I’m a wimp after all.) Waking up after each attempt was a nightmare. I had so wanted to end it all, end the pain, the shame.
Yesterday, when it called out its song I was firm. I would not look upon its face. I would not be seduced. Because, this time, when I heard her voice, I heard another voice rising up, a stronger, more powerful pull. In that vortex of the pain, there came a rush of hope and compassion and love.
It was as if the hole created by that vortex (that felt like a rip in the fabric of the cosmos) was filled up with the love of every young lover, of every mother for their child, with all the love that ever existed and would ever exist.
That feeling of love just wrapped itself around me. And in return, I just wanted to wrap my arms around the entire world and give it a great big gigantic hug.
I wanted to hug all the pain away. I wanted to hug it so hard that it would know it’s loved. I wanted to hug it so that anytime it didn’t feel worthy or lovable or enough it would know it’s a lie.
Yesterday, I wanted to become the North America Hugging Guru like Mata Amritanandamayi who’s called the Hugging Saint. People stand in lines for hours waiting just to experience her arms around their sweet, fragile souls.
That’s what I want to do.
Hug the world enough so it responds just like my sweet little nephew, Louie, does. When he falls, he just wants to crawl into his mommy’s lap (and if I am lucky, mine) and when he’s all hugged up, he will happily run off to play forgetting all about his fall.
That’s the kind of hugs that are needed on this planet. With each other. Hugging the pain away. Hugging the hurt right out of us. So we forget the hurt we inflict on one another and instead, go off and play and remember the love and who we really are.
Yesterday, a memory came flooding back as I was thinking about becoming Hugging Saint Rhonda. When I was shooting “Starting Over,” random strangers would approach me and ask, “Would you hug me? Like you do with the girls on Starting Over?”
I would always be surprised but would always reply yes.
And I never let them go. Hugging them until I could feel their shoulders relax and their breath become grounded and centered. Then, and only then, would I release them from my embrace.
Sometimes there would be tears. Other times a smile. But always a thank you.
That’s how I want to hug the world. It’s the way I want to hug the person in front of me when they ask me so simply, “Would you hug me?”
Robin Williams offered me a hug today. And I grabbed it. Thank you for filling the world with love and laughter and light, sweet Robin. You are a Saint in my eyes.
The world is tough enough. The world is hard enough. Hug the people you love today. Hug the people you work with today. Just hug one another. Let’s take care of one another.
It may be the thing that saves us.