Clowning and therapy Part 1: In the Beginning / Pull My Finger
I’m calling this clown and therapy part 1. Do I have plans for a part two yet? Not so much. And clowning has been such an important and impactful part of my life, I can’t imagine stopping at a single post. Especially given that I’ve challenged myself to write every day.
With that in mind, I’ll begin with something that underlies everything I do as a therapist. Over time, the ideas first introduced here will be expanded upon and supported with current research in neuroscience, positive psychology and Gestalt principles and practices.
Oh dear. I guess I just committed to multiple posts on clowning and therapy.
Though not personally religious, I like how the technology of religion attempts to explain the unexplainable. I especially love a good ‘Why are we here creation myth’. The book of Genesis is a particularly fun one for a clown.
Shame, guilt, inadequacy – technology for social control. Original sin? Original folly.
With all due respect to those who use the Abrahamic traditions as a technique to make sense of existence, I think the book is out of date and inadequate for my understanding of the world. As such, I have the arrogance to have come up with something that suits me better.
With that in mind I offer you all a clown’s creation myth:
In the beginning there was nothing… or there was everything. Everything and nothing were together united in a singularity.
That doesn’t make any sense
Said a voice from within or without. It’s quite difficult to make sense out of a singularity, out of everything.
One thing’s for certain, It’s crowded in here said Adam… I can’t tell my ass from your elbow
Or your rib from my tibia, chided Eve … That’s because it’s not your ass. Or your elbow. All are one ya knucklehead
Eve baby, pull my finger…
Adam! Come on. Are we really doing this again?
C’mon Eve, Pull my finger.
At this time Eve made the first mistake…
Wait a second… Wasn’t there a snake in this?
There was no snake. There was nothing. Just Adam and Eve and the singularity
And Adam was a big goof. And Eve fell for his stupid little joke. She pulled Adam’s finger.
Adam farted loudly. All creatures in the singularity? They laughed together at the same time.
Wow. said Adam, That was a big bang of laughter.
Wow said Eve, That sure was.
Hey! We’re no longer one said Eve.
Give me my rib back said Adam.
We’re tearing apart! Everything is expanding! cried Larry, This has to stop – someone do something quick!”
But Adam and Eve just kept laughing.
Who the heck is Larry chirped Eve
Dunno replied Adam, ignore the dude.
We have to do something or who knows what will happen said Larry creating fear – though its’ gravity still wasn’t enough to stop the expanding universe.
But Adam and Eve just kept laughing
Knock it off you two – this isn’t funny – you should be ashamed of yourselves, said Larry creating even more gravity though still not enough to slow the expansion.
Larry began to growl and gnash. Eve clammed up. Larry bit Adam. Adam howled in pain.
What did you do that for Larry?
Make things right Adam.
No problem Larry, I’ll fix things right up. Pull my finger.
Larry pulled Adam’s finger. Adam farted again. Eve and Adam laughed even more. Larry tried to bite Adam again. Adam changed forms so Larry couldn’t find him. Larry chased Adam all over the universe. Each time Turtle found Coyote he was greeted with a familiar refrain: Pull my finger. And each time Adam asked Larry to pull his finger, Larry fell for it. Enraged with Adam’s shape shifting pranks, Larry devised a clever plan. He invented death to trap Adam in one of his forms. He almost caught him too, but Adam was alerted to Larry’s plan by Eve. From then on, Adam transformed – but never completely – just enough to trick that hapless Larry…
The Big Bang was the first joke. Levity is irrational. It can not be measured or studied. And. It is the prime mover. The force that causes the continual expansion of the universe.
As a therapist? Life is absurd. We understand how gravity works. It’s rational. We measure it. Levity? Irrational. And it’s what has kept me going even during the worst experiences of my life.
Levity? It helps us bounce back. Laugh at ourselves and the absurdity of existence.
Despite, or maybe because of the seriousness of my work. I keep my search for levity, for lightness always nearby. I’m a psychotherapist. And always a clown. Pull my finger…