In Search Of … My Inner Clown
When I studied clowning at Omega Institute in 1981, I met my inner clown. In fact, the second morning I was there, our class was playing the children’s game, Statues. Wavy Gravy, the teacher, twirled us into statues. We froze and he came around to guess who we were. I had an unusual experience when I froze and everything seemed dark, and I saw an inner picture of golden arches. Then it felt like I burst forth from a tiny seed and slowly appeared, shyly, as a violet. I felt very fragile and a little shaky. When Wavy Gravy came around and asked, “Who are you?” I answered, “Shrinking Violet.” He was a man of heart and realized I had had some kind of an experience. He said, “Violet, my favorite color. Welcome!” and gave me a big hug.
In the afternoon of the same day, I took the class again. This time my statue was tall and strong. When Wavy Gravy asked who I was, I replied, “A mighty oak tree!” He said, “Wonderful! I’ll carve my initials in your bark.” Wavy Gravy was a magical person and we played children’s games the whole week. It was all about the inner clown and how to play and have fun.
My second week of clown classes was as disappointing as the first week was exciting. The teachers were a team of three clowns and everything seemed flat and un-alive. I finally made an appointment with one of the teachers and asked her what was going on with the three of them. She revealed that the three of them were splitting up as a teaching team and had to finish out the summer. She apologized. Maybe I learned a lot that week, too, as humans seem to learn by contrast, but it certainly wasn’t fun.
When I got back home, I discovered that learning about my inner clown with Wavy Gravy was quite unique. Wavy Gravy is a nationally known clown. He was hired for crowd control at Woodstock, and at other gatherings of youth at rock music concerts. Someone recently sent me an article from a Yoga magazine that he was living in a commune off the grid.
Teachers in clown troops mainly taught make-up, wardrobe, skits, making clown props, acting and typing you as one of four clown types. I was typed as an August Clown — the one with huge feet, a wig, and the butt-end of all jokes. Even the tricks you’re trying to pull on another clown WILL backfire on an August Clown.
My inner guidance gave me my name of Reverend Absurd, and the TAO Humor Center (Totally Awesome and Outrageous) as the Humor Center I would be facilitating. I realized that my clown was born on that morning when we played statues, which was August 11, 1981. I celebrate Reverend Absurd’s birthday every year. and while my older sister was still living she would call or send me a clown birthday card every year.
Our Humor Center was on Vacation Lane, but I did not realize right away that we were located between the Pentagon and the CIA. I did know, though, that I was being taken on some great adventure!
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