Remembering Robin Williams – A True Gift to Society

There’s a place for problems; there’s a place for joy, but there’s always a time where we can fit laughter in our lives.  Robin Williams was a man who touched millions of people around the world.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Photo courtesy of Flickr

He made us smile and even made some of us cry.  His talent was one of a kind, and always surprised us with his bold, off-the-cuff humor and superb acting.  But, he was a true gift to society. He made people happy no matter what problems people were facing. Just turn on Mrs. Doubtfire or Patch Adams and your mind will be so intrigued and focused on him, away from everything else that may be stressing you in this world.

Robin Williams and U.S. Army Lt. Gen. John F. Campbell laughing away.  Photo courtesy of Flickr

Robin Williams and U.S. Army Lt. Gen. John F. Campbell laughing away. Photo courtesy of Flickr

Williams wasn’t just an entertainer – he was our medicine – a medicine that cost nothing, a medicine that saved people’s lives because he showed us there was hope and enjoyment in life, especially for the folks who thought they had nothing else to live for.  He filled a void. In his personal life and career, he broke out of the normal parameters in society and celebrated that it was okay to be ourselves and to take risks.  He demonstrated that we need to be open minded about how we perceive the world, especially since all of us come from somewhere different. In a speech in Dead Poet’s Society, Williams’s character, John Keating, professed, “I stand up on my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.DeadPoetsQuotejpgWhy is it that we are taught that the only way to heal or to be happy is by taking a pill?  We are looking in the wrong place.  Pills may help in some cases, but there are alternative solutions right in front of our faces, like taking the time to laugh or spending time doing simple things like soaking in a bubble bath. Having a good laugh releases endorphins in your body.  This biological hormone provides your body an opiate-like effect, reduces stress, and enhances our sense of well-being.  Robin Williams was trying to tell us something – You don’t need drugs to make you happy!  Just laugh!

Robin Williams as Mork in the late 1970s sitcom, Mork & Mindy

Robin Williams as Mork in the late 1970s sitcom, Mork & Mindy.  Photo courtesy of Flicker

He demonstrated to the world how to relate to people, especially when he played the role as Patch Adams (based on a true story), who was a doctor who practiced medicine, focusing on laughter as part of relationship building with a patient, which is not the traditional way of practicing medicine.  Almost everyone in the world who has seen any of Robin Williams’s performances or knows him personally has been relieved of stress for at least 2 hours.  He improved people’s lives.  As Williams said it in Patch Adams, “Our job is to increase health.  You know what that means? That means improving the quality of life, not just delaying death.”  Farewell Robin Williams – Let us embrace the gift you have provided us.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Photo courtesy of Flickr

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