February 4, 2014

Finding Rebirth in the Wake of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death. ~ Melissa Ramos


“I think you should be serious about what you do because this is it. This is the only life you’ve got.”

 ~ Philip Seymour Hoffman

I read this quote by #PhilipSeymourHoffman and I get chills at the irony.

He was by far one of my favorites in Hollywood, being an incredible actor who had the uncanny ability to give birth to powerful characters that I believe few in movieland could do as well.

While his death is nothing short of tragic, I think it’s important we look to his death and give birth to new ideals of love and understanding.

Give birth to questioning our addictions and outlets at every level.

When we think about addictions many of us may think about alcohol or drugs, but addictions run far deeper. I see patients who struggle with past memories and current beliefs about themselves and mask their issues with addictions to food.

Truthfully? Many of us do. We stuff our hatred, anxiety and sadness with cookies and chips to fill a void, or shot gun our serotonin if only for a second to be distracted.

Because addictions have faces of all kinds, and they certainly don’t discriminate. They may grab hold of the entrepreneur who will sacrifice everything because they are addicted to a vision so they’ll stop at nothing to “get even,” even if it means losing sleep.

So we must give birth to questioning our own addictions and begin making an action plan on setting boundaries so that we may develop our own freedom from it.

Give birth to identifying what roles we play within our own lives to cover up who we really are underneath it all.

Many of us when asked how we’re doing when we’re upset will reply, “I’m good!” Yet whether we just don’t feel like getting into it, or feel like our struggles would impose on another, we are nonetheless hiding.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is just another example of this.

For one, I never wouldn’t have thought he had an addiction to heroin. The calm façade he portrayed on screen gave way to an impression that most of us had of him off screen.

So, let’s take this death and question how we really feel on a day-to-day basis.

What mask are we hiding behind? Can we speak to someone, or journal to find healthy outlets and start living authentically?

Give birth to the realization that whether it’s a person in the spotlight or your next-door neighbour, everyone has their own set of scratches, and at times these people do break.

One of the reasons we begin to feel depressed, sad or inferior is because we compare ourselves to the illusion of another. That person might be a celebrity, or the person next door.

But what we fail to realize is that all of us have our struggles.

So seeing another tragic death of a creative soul should make all of us realize that we all have our own bags to carry. And before the comparison game kicks in, realize that no one is above or below us and we’re all equally just trying to figure it out.

Give birth to being grateful to those around us for the little things and the big things. And let’s open our ears to being better listeners; at times this can be more powerful that speech.

Silence can be one of the most awkward things, but providing the space for others to be heard rather than feeling the need to fill it with our own words can be powerful.

Let’s face it, for most people it’s easy to talk all about ourselves, but being present for someone can make a huge difference in their day.

The next thing is gratitude.

Every time I hear of a death, I’m born with a newfound appreciation for those close to me in my life. So when I heard about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death, I was reminded of all the creative souls in my life that constantly inspire me, and gratitude was reborn.

So who could we be grateful for who maybe could use a “thank you,” or a hug? What little things have we been missing that we could pay more attention to?

The difference in our day and the impact we can make in others just might surprise us.

And lastly, if anything occurs from this death—let’s appreciate our own gifts and crack open our hearts to let others in; remembering to reach out because we’re truly never alone.


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Assistant Editor: Kathryn Ashworth/Editor: Bryonie Wise

Image: courtesy flickr

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Melissa Ramos