Cole is a clown.
He studied to be a clown at the Clown Conservatory in San Francisco where I am on the teaching staff.
He spent the last year traveling the world. Occasionally he would send out an email about his wanderings…but not frequently. So I was surprised to see him a week ago at the Clown Conservatory.
“You’re back”, I said, giving him a big hug.
“Yes” he said with a smile “I’m living with my parents for a while, laying low, I’m taking a break from performing”
I asked him what he learned in his travels.
“I learned how to survive on sardine and bread.” It sounded like a joke, but he wasn’t laughing. “I did a lot of busking [street performing] and learned a couple of things.” he offered. “ You have to persevere. Some days your act just won’t work, even though it worked yesterday…but you just have to keep going.”
“And”, he continued “it’s not good to busk when you’re starving…it’s okay if you’re hungry, but not if you’re starving.”
We looked at each other in silence.
A few clown students walked in the door and Cole was swallowed up in hugs, smiles and laughs. And he was gone.
I’ve been reflecting on that conversation quite a bit.
I admire Cole and all the students who commit their life to the pursuit finding group laughter. And I admire the courage it took for Cole to step out into the world with a few juggling balls, a red nose and a pratfall.
Life offers us lessons all the time. But we only get them when we’re ready for them: when we are listening and want them.
Thanks for the lessons Cole.