My wife and I recently spent some time with some REALLY COOL folks in Switzerland and France. Between countries, we took a train into Paris. My wife studied there for a semester while she was in college. She stayed with a couple who hosted foreign exchange students.
They are professional clowns.
When we got to Gare de Lyon, the wife of this couple came and met us at the train station. She took us to a food spot. We had about 2 hours before we had to head out to our next destination. It was fun for my wife to catch up with her and their production company that teaches clowns how to clown.
As I was listening to their conversation, I heard this very interesting quote:
As clowns are learning to be clowns on stage, women speak more and act less. Men are more physical.
It kind of made sense in the moment. I mean, the clowns I know are the same way. And funny clowns that are dudes are pretty physical. A lot of grunts and gyrations, but not much verbal communication. The ladies are conversational. They listen and talk you through the clown comedy.
I mean, am I right? Or am I right?
This got me thinking outside of the stereotypical boundaries I have put around clowns in my own head.
Are clowns people too? Do they have the opportunity to function like everyone else? I think so. So I should give clowns the benefit of the doubt.
The natural expression of a female clown is a certain way. The natural expression of a male clown is a certain way. Does this apply to normal humans as well?
After our stop in Europe, we had the privilege of taking a quick trip to the Mountains of Montana.
I know…that’s kind of redundant. Especially if you know French.
One of our events, besides being blown away by the beauty and size of Big Sky Country, was riding, being cramped in the back-back seat of a Chevrolet Suburban. I’m six feet tall…
Another, more important, event was going trout fishing. We had a guide who taught us how to cast and reel and fish…for trout.
There was something about that experience that will stick with me. In the first hour of our eight hour trip, I was completely frustrated. I was almost done with this whole fishing thing.
I began to have recollections of when I went fishing at a lake or pond and waited. And waited. And waited.
Except this time, I was waiting to get my line untangled from itself. I was done.
We stopped the boat and got out. I got to stand in the river. I got to train and practice my technique.
And the fish were biting.
I finally found the technique of this whole trout fishing thing. I found enjoyment. I found success. I had a second of realization of where I was. I was in the middle of a river, throwing a weighted fly in the water over and over again, and I was bringing fish in.
We got back in the boat.
The fish continued to bite.
I found a rhythm.
I ended up catching 16 fish that day. Not that I’m competitive or anything…
I could have fished for the rest of the day until it got dark. Why was that? What happened that changed from the morning?
We all like to workout, right. Go to the gym. Get sweaty. Get fit. Stay healthy. All that stuff.
My wife loves to workout with a close friend of ours.
They have a warm-up time before every workout they have together. Their warm-up consists of conversation. Sometimes for hours. Then they go through some difficult exercises together, talking the entire time.
The workout doesn’t happen without the “warm-up.” I mean, they could workout without a warm-up, but it wouldn’t be the same. Sure they would get sweaty, and fit, and healthy.
But that’s not really why they workout together.
It’s to get to know each other and catch up on each other’s lives.
But what do trout and workouts have to do with clowns?
A Red Nose for Fishy and Sweaty People
Seeing clowns as unique expressions is important, whether conversational or physical.
I was also able to experience a unique expression of a male in the wild of the mountains and rivers of Montana. It was wild! It was difficult! It had a twist of discovery! I came into a completely other part of myself. What a glorious discovery of my identity! I discovered more of who I am through this journey in the mountains. You could say I came alive in a way I never had before.
My wife comes alive every time she is able to have a conversation with someone she is connected with. Whether it be a a warm-up for a workout, or a deep conversation over a coffee, she is able to be more of who she is as she communicates and shares deeply with someone. That is when she is most alive.
No clowning around, we all have our places where we are most alive. Some of us know where these places are. Some of us don’t.
There is something special about being alive. There is something more about living from a place where we are most alive.
May we discover this place of Life, from where we can live and be most alive.