Happy Mirth Day - Robin Williams Birthday

I nominate July 21st as "Mirth Day" in honor of the birthday of Mr. Mirth himself Robin Williams.

Happy Mirth Day Robin!!!!

For those who have had a chance to read "Hacking the Afterlife" you know that he made a couple of appearances in the writing of this book.

I was at the Premiere of the film "The Giver" when Jeff Bridges was told on his way to the red carpet that Robin had died.  I was sitting in the movie theater in Manhattan, and overheard someone behind me say "Mrs. Doubtfire died."

Jeff gave a moving and tearful tribute to his friend. (both at the premiere and later at a press conference)

Later that evening, as we approached the after party at the Tavern on the Green, "Radioman" appeared outside the venue.  (I had met him on the film "Salt" - he's a legend in Manhattan film circles, as he shows up on his bicycle, carrying a radio, and parks it to see stars come and go from the set.)

But Radioman is a doppelganger - kinda like a twin - of Robin Williams.
RadioMan and the original RadioMan

So it was startling to see Radioman on the way into this event.  Because he looks like Robin in an odd way. And if you saw the great film that Jeff and Robin did together - The Fisher King - it was as if Robin was channeling Radioman while playing his part. 

Robin channeling his inner RadioMan

So it felt - for all intents and purposes - as if Robin was in the house for that premiere, and at the after party as well.

Then a day or so later, I was in a post office on the upper west side of the city, and was in a long line of unhappy people.  When I finally got to the front of the line, this woman behind the counter looked immensely sad.  I sad "Are you okay?"

She looked up at me.  "I can't get over Robin William's passing."  

Sometimes I find myself in the oddest places, hearing the oddest sentences, and have this zing in the back of my neck that feels like I'm meant to be standing in this very place at this very time.

I said "Well, I'm a filmmaker, I met Robin, know some of his friends, and have been making a documentary about what people say under deep hypnosis.  And they say consistently, no matter what their background or gender that we don't die. That we live on.  That our spirits continue on, and that we are fully accessible to our loved ones whenever they think of us.  So consider that for a moment - that the laughter that Robin gave you still exists, and you can access it and him at any time if you just focus on him."

The look on her face was priceless. She froze for a full ten seconds. It was as if I was speaking directly to her soul.  She looked in my eyes as if seeing a human being for the first time.  She said "Thank you for telling me that. You have no idea how much I needed to hear that today."  She took off her glove from her mailroom hands and shook mine.

I said "You're welcome, but it's not me saying that for your benefit.  It's likely coming to me from someone you love, or perhaps Robin himself."

So when I finished my book "Hacking the Afterlife" it was already over 600 pages.  I started chopping and slicing out chapters, stories.  I tried hard to stay with what had to be in the book - and even then it's really long.  But the story about Robin had to go.  After all, it was more about me than about him.

And then while I was interviewing medium Jennifer Shaffer, she suddenly announced "Robin Williams is here."  I thought - "Oh, she must have heard from one of her clients about him, or was thinking about him."  I said "That's nice.  Why is he here?" (That's my standard question to Jennifer.)
Did you know him? (She generally runs into people that are related to the people she's talking to, or sometimes people she's met.)

She said "No, he's here because of you. Did you know him?"

I thought about it. "Charles Grodin too me to a dinner at Gore Vidal's house; it was Penny Marshall's infamous birthday party with Carrie Fisher.  I sat at the same table as Robin, he was quiet and extremely polite.  Later I wished I had engaged him more, we both took classes at the Harvey Lembeck workshop - his appearances are still legendary.  I spent time lunching with his pal Jonathan Winters over a movie role - those lunches and his stories were epic.... but not really, no." (How's that for a sentence full of name drops?")

She said "He's here to talk to you... something about a chapter in your book.  There's a chapter missing in your book. He wants to know why you took him out of your book?"

Well knock me over with a feather.

I wracked my brain - had I said something to Jennifer about cutting him out of my book? Had I blabbed about it on a post on Facebook? Had I...had I...... at some point you just have to stop asking and start listening. No, I'd never mentioned that my book was too long and had cut him out of it. And yes, he showed up a number of times after that one as well.

I said "Oh. Sorry. Okay, I'll put it back in." 

So in honor of his birthday, here is the amended chapter that is in the book "Hacking the Afterlife."

“Let’s nominate July 21st, Robin Williams' birthday as “Mirth Day.”

"I don't have a candy company, or a card company, it just popped into my head on his birthday. “HAPPY MIRTH DAY.” It's a day where you try to make people laugh, and you get credit for doing so. You don't have to make merry, make out, but you do have to make mirth.

David Letterman ran a tribute to Robin after his passing, where Robin was shown throwing his head back, roaring like a lion with laughter. David had said something that allowed him to release that laugh which included a kick back of the head, chin pointed skyward, his legs stretched out - literally roaring. 

I urge everyone to take Robin's death not as an example of someone who is depressed who did themselves in, but as someone who gave us something to learn from. Because he's not dead. He's just not here.

Suicide is a tricky subject. I can only weigh in on the Flipside research. We all choose to come to the planet to learn and teach lessons; we are not here by mistake or happenstance. Each has their own path and journey, each has a myriad of reasons how they choose to experience the journey here or for exiting the stage. 

Once we wrap our minds around the fact that we don't die, or in this case can't die, then the matter of our leaving the stage is one of logistics. Do we judge an entire life or performance on how an actor leaves the stage? 

"Yes, I loved the play, the first and second act were great,but you tripped as you came off stage and that I cannot forgive. Two thumbs way down."

We tend to write reviews on how an actor exits: "A belt, a plastic bag, a box of pills" and ignore those who are checking themselves out with each cigarette, each shot of whisky, each time they drink and drive and/or text. 

Are they any less "guilty" of choosing the manner of their death than others just because it happens to be a slow lingering exit? We applaud those who managed to stay on stage until the last breath, surrounded by loved ones and wag our fingers at deaths we don't applaud, whether Robin or a child in a wedding party taken out by a drone.

We've all got a myriad of exits and entrances behind us, and ahead of us - suffice to say it’s up to us how we manage them. Again, the research shows that we don't die. That each life is a sacred, precious choice, that we come here to learn and teach and love for many reasons, and the manner of our passing has roots in our own path and journey. 

Robin is ok, he's fine, he hasn't gone anywhere - he's just not here or visible to us. And that's a damned shame because he lit up the stage, made the entire planet stand laugh, and there's nothing more healing than laughter...."

When I finished writing "Hacking the Afterlife" I thought "Who can I send this out to for a foreword?"  Gary Schwartz PhD offered to write the foreword to "Flipside: A Tourist's Guide on How to Navigate the Afterlife" - my pal Charles Grodin (who introduced me to Robin) wrote the foreword to "It's a Wonderful Afterlife" volume one (Galen Stoller, a young man who has crossed over, wrote the foreword to volume two from his place "over there.")  

But when it came to sending the book around to people, I had this funny idea:  "Why not ask the people who appear in the book for book quotes about the book?"

I had no idea if that was possible to do.  But the idea made me laugh.  I sat down and wrote out a list of all the people who appeared in the book via different interviews; Edgar Cayce, Prince, Amelia Earhart, etc... and Robin Williams.

I know how crazy this sentence sounds.

But if you've read my books, you'll know how logical this idea is.  

"Why not?"  If it's true that people are still accessible on the flipside, perhaps they have an opinion about the work.

And I was fully prepared to write whatever they said when asked "do you have a quote for my book?"  They could have said "no," or "don't be ridiculous, I can't read your book from over here" or whatever else they might say.  I sent a list off to Jennifer Shaffer, and she took each name, sat down and "honed in" (as she does in her work for criminal justice cases across the United States) and asked them that question.

With Jennifer Shaffer and George Noory
Coast to Coast AM radio
"Do you have a quote for Richard's book?"

Since Prince and Robin Williams appear in the book, they’re naturals to ask if they have a quote for the book. Jennifer sends me a file where she asks on her cellphone; “Is there anything Prince can say about why people should or should not should read this book?” “He says “They should read it if they want to fly.” (Jennifer laughs and asks “To the moon?”) She says “Robin Williams came in and said “That’s mine!”

(The other quotes are in the book itself. But this is the one that she said from Robin Williams and its reprinted here verbatim.)

Robin Williams

Jennifer: I first want to say happy birthday to you, Robin (It’s his birthday as we write this.) Do you have a quote for Richard’s book, a direct message to your fans and friends?

“I have only two words; “Love… Love.” 

Jennifer asks, “Love all?” 

“No, love Love.” He says “That’s the key ingredients for happiness; love the love. Find that. In everything that you are. 

Whether you are in hell (metaphorically speaking) or in your prison cell, (physically speaking); find the truth. Love is God’s connectedness, love is God, it’s every single one of us, even if we can’t hear it. 

Love… Love. And then send it to everything. 

(An aside from Jennifer, who gasps) Oh my gosh, the sun just came through my window, my heart’s pounding.  I said "Is that it, Robin?" 

He says “No; that’s everything.” 

"Wow that makes me want to cry. Thank you."

He says “Tell Rich I’m here for him. He says tell him that I’ll surprise him.” 

She asks "When?" 

"He’s going to visit this person, he’s going to visit this person and then this person is going to come to you; that’s how you’ll know. 

He just winked. 

He says “Tell Rich it’s exciting: the matrix, the connections, God…” -- it was so interesting when he said that -- and now he says “nanu nanu,” and just did like a little thing on his head, over and out. 

(He said) “Until now.” (A play on the parting line “Until then…”) “It’s Over and yonder.”

(A pause. Jennifer continues:) Robin showed me a record. 

“The record is your lifetimes. Playing over and over and then sometimes we scratch the record and then we have to get a new record.” 

He’s showing me how in this lifetime he scratched it and he left, and (then) you come back as like a CD or a Walkman. And then we end up all virtual. 

(RM note: I think he means at the end of all of our lifetimes. Each lifetime is like a variation on a theme, like music on cylinder, on vinyl, on digital – variations on each them we choose as our lifetime, and eventually we become that recording in a virtual way.) 

"The music keeps going, our souls keep going, that was such a great thing he just gave me – we’re all records, sometimes we scratch, sometimes we get broken, eventually we just live on to more instruments more human bodies..." 

"I love the way he shows me the Walkman, the cd player, then we go virtual… for millions of people."

And you are that right now, Rich - you’re now the virtual .. you’re not the record player anymore, or the record, you’re now in the virtual, you’ve made it, and you’re sending it to everybody else. I commend your thoughts and love who you are and thank you and love to both of you.” 

He showed me a pebble of some sort, he showed me a rock: “He’ll know what that means.” 

"Something with rocks" Jennifer says.

"All right, bye." 

(RM: Note - I have a collection of rocks from around the world – world’s cheapest souvenir, but reminds me instantly where I found it. I have one on my desk and my eye went straight for it.)

Here it is. The rock on my desk. I held it up and listened carefully...and this is what came to mind:

"Rock on!!!"

Rocky Rockoon

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