"You're only given one little spark of madness, you mustn't lose it." -Robin Williams 

This isn't a video of Robin Williams, but you should watch it. This is +Pat Metheny, and yesterday was his 60th birthday. The two best concerts I've ever seen were both Metheny, and the third best spot is currently reserved for the next time I see him. Somehow, the mourning of the loss of Robin, and the celebration of Pat felt more connected to me than just in a temporal sense. Both are one of a kind, both are geniuses, both have felt more in day of their life than most will feel in a lifetime. 

And it's that, that made me realize what it means to be an artist. Most of us spend our lives running from real feelings, afraid we might get hurt. You can't just turn on one half of your heart, so we close out the light, for fear of letting in the darkness. Artists decide the light is worth the darkness, and the let their hearts really feel things. It's their job to experience the real, unconstrained life for us– and tell us what it's like. And we love them for it. They help us feel the thing we wish we were brave enough to feel on our own.

Watch this video of Pat, it's my favorite performance of my favorite song of his. Seeing it live is a feeling that will never leave me. There is no part of himself that he isn't pouring into this performance. Every note is the most important thing he has ever done. Every feeling he's ever had, all the darkness and all the light, is channeled into this performance, so that you can feel it too. Most people would be lucky, to one time in their life, feel something as real and powerful as what he feels every time he picks up his guitar. 

Robin Williams was the same. He opened his heart to the full spectrum of emotions, so that he could give them to us as a gift. It's been troubling to hear a few wayward commentators call his actions "selfish", as if he owes us anything; when the reality is likely that he gave us so much of himself that it cost him his life. So many of my favorite films, I loved because of how he made me feel; and so many of my performances are because Pat showed me what it means to play with your heart. I owe so much to both of these guys, for being bright shining examples of what it means to be an artist and to share raw humanity with others. I'm light years away from their greatness, but at least I know which direction to go and have their light to guide me. 

RIP Robin Williams. And rip on, Pat Metheny! 
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