18 – Once upon many times

18 – Once upon many times

Becoming a Humanitarian Clown has changed my life. Today’s post is about how my personal life has been renewed by opening my heart to the world.

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These weeks as Christmas time/Hanukkah is upon us, I ponder what I have achieved in my life. My feelings are a mixture of amazement and forgetfulness. Sometimes it seems as if I am at the bottom of a ravine: looking up the sides of a humongous mountain, I feel a strain at the back of my neck and out of breath when considering the immensity of the journey still ahead. And yet, at other times, I sit down and contemplate the road I’ve travelled. That’s when I get amazed.

How could I have forgotten? Just before leaving for India I felt I had reached the bottom of my barrel. I felt I had emptied it of all my past, all my traumas. Yes, I still had bucketful of tears to cry for healing to complete itself, but I felt I had said it all. I also sensed that right under the bottom was a pure light of joy, love and happiness. It was just there, out of reach! I couldn’t understand why I was stuck inside a barrel! In any case I had forgotten about all this as I left on my Humanitarian Clowning mission.

In India, as I opened up, shared and discovered unconditional trust, cracks started to appear at the bottom of my barrel. Through these openings a light filtered in and there came a soft-spoken realisation: ‘I am a good man!’ I wept at this gentle revelation. Something so simple had a deep profound impact. Once opened, there was no closing of the gap, ever again. It tasted so sweet and had the freshness of an early morning sea breeze! It was grand! My bottom was about to crack open! Yet, tears of sorrow came as my journey in India was nearing its end. I was scared of losing this new feeling, this new self I had just experienced. Days later I was gasping for air as the plane lifted up. I have since been holding my breath in hope.

A month was about to pass and I had to let go. I was turning many shades of red as I was choking on stale air, and in danger of suffocating the ones dearest to me. Letting go is hard to do, and hardest when it’s close to the heart. This was one more hurt, one more heartache, one more knot in a long line of painful twist and turns. And yet this time it felt different! Not all was lost. I felt something new. Something that transcended the pain: ‘I am a good man’! The light had remained and was shining through as Faith. I now had a Faith, an unconditional trust in me: ‘I was a good man’!

I remember

I had gained some new perspective. Now I could look up the mountain, and I could also look down and appreciate the path I had travelled. I saw that my experience in India was a follow up of what was set in motion in Guatemala. There I had learned to accept my vulnerability, accept my ‘self’ as I am. Accept, so to speak, what was ‘inside the barrel’. Again, I had barely started to live it that I had to leave right in the middle of the process!

Now I could see further down the road. Sometimes I had to step over fallen trees (expectations), other times getting wet crossing a stream (relationships), or jumping over some crevices (crises). Looking back, it feels as if I had been carrying a heavy backpack (or barrel), being weighted down each step of my journey. I now understand that progress came when I felt I couldn’t go any further, when I thought I would fall off a cliff or I fell to the ground, getting bruised on the sharp rocks of self-judgment. Pain had become my motivation for making changes! I now realise that each change came at the cost of giving up part of who I was.

I now looked down a year ago, when I decided to leave work. Two years ago with the passing of my father, five years, ten years… I see happy moments, sad moments. I see dozens of the most amazing people who came into my life: lovers, healers and friends who held my soul and helped me heal and forgive. Over the years I have left so much behind that I have forgotten how much weight I used to carry. It took a new crisis to remind me of the many challenges I already overcame. Yes, sometime the best thing to do is simply to sit down and enjoy the view.

It’s time to come home

Resting by the barrel, I can now appreciate where I have been, what I have left behind, and ask myself: where do I go next? Then it hit me: I am actually sitting outside my barrel! For the first time I can see it under a new light: the light of Faith radiating through it. I no longer need it, it is empty and the time has come to leave it behind.

But what was it made of? I feel it is made of all the unspoken rules of conditional love, along with the physical threats to my life had I dared to speak up. It is made of Silence and the Laws of Total Compliance (Resistance is futile). As a person I could only manifest myself through them. It may have spurred me into becoming a visual artist and a musician. Through these non-verbal forms I could live out my passions. I still remember in my first art class how I declared: ‘I have nothing to say’.

English also became my surrogate parent: I used it to free myself from my censuring ‘French mother tongue’. Humor became my lifeline as I embraced Saturday morning TV cartoons and collected comic books. The absurdities of Monty Python and Benny Hill became beacons of hope for an alternative reality. Today, as I have chosen to give love as a Humanitarian Clown, I see all of these skills coming together as one!

Choices and changes

As I reflect on my journey; I feel it was not so much the emotional emptiness nor the physical pain that distressed me the most: it was the sentiment of never having any choice. Looking back I realise that positive changes came as a result of either making or giving choices; never from burying my heels into the ground or imposing unspoken rules.

I can now embrace change! The unknown and unexpected are becoming a source of pleasure as I am looking forward to choices! As Captain Janeway of Star Trek Voyager often said: ‘There must be another way!’ I now have acquired the freedom of making choices. Back in India, the light came as I consciously made a first choice… Am I a good man, or not? I choose: I am! And in this light, I am finally home.

As a Humanitarian Clown this is what I can now give to the world, the freedom to choose! As Viktor E. Frankl wrote so beautifully:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”  Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Peace to you all

Guy  ‘A Good Man’ Giard  ( aka Citizen Clown :0) )

Thank you for sharing in this part of my journey!

”May the Farce be with all of us!”

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I invite you to follow all my Amazing Adventures by subscribing to this blog, and please join my Facebook page: The Amazing Adventures of Citizen Clown Fanpage.  Share with your friends and on your Facebook page, this is greatly appreciated!

Love xxx

17 – Maria

17 – Maria

There are not enough words to express how my heart has been transformed by Maria. Yet this story wants to be shared; so I will try to make you live her story, our story.

maria 2 ti

Where do I start?

A few days earlier I had just celebrated my 55th birthday, November 4th, with my new extended clown family! As a Humanitarian Clown I had joined a merry band of international lovers of humanity in India; each one of us dreaming of a creating a better, more caring world; a world where no one would be left behind. On the actual morning of my birthday I was awoken to find 100 multicolored balloons placed in front of my door!!! What an amazing pleasure!

ballons

What a special day this was to be! Banners, balloons, cake splattered all over my face, nothing was spared to make this the best day ever! Never had I received such loving attentions! I was blessed! The days that followed I was filled with a deep-hearted soulful feeling of joy, and I would share these gifts of love I had received with the children in hospitals and orphanages. My mission was well underway.

Hot, thirsty and hungry

I met ‘Maria’ on a hot sun-charring day, typical of my journey in India since we had arrived two weeks earlier. I had set out one morning with a fellow clown to explore the chambers and rituals of the Vellore Fort Temple. It was beautiful inspiring spiritual food for all the senses. This particular day was a scheduled rest period for us Care Clowns; a day for resourcing, to integrate the many emotions we had been going through.

As we walked through the busiest, noisiest and most polluted streets of the city, we decided to take an overpass crossing the main artery. There we came across a beautiful woman sitting alone by herself on the stairs. Most people wouldn’t see her. Most people would just call her a beggar and dutifully ignore her. But as we walked up to her, we kneeled down to connect, to make her visible again.

As we sat with ‘Maria’, we sang, we talked, we gave her love and warmth. There wasn’t any poverty or disease for us, she was this beautiful woman. We brought her food, water, flowers, we prayed with her. She gave us smiles, tears and even prayed for us, thanking us in her most precious way.

Most onlookers ignored us, a few were curious and stopped, and I think one or two actually thanked us for what we were doing. The language barrier didn’t help, but between the three of us there was no barrier. Time stood still.

After many caring exchanges and hugs we eventually parted, carrying this encounter deep within my soul. Something within my heart had been stirred as I recognized parts of Maria in me.

One is the loneliest number

In everyday life I would never have dared to stop and sit down with ‘Maria’. As a Humanitarian Clown I was able to give care as part of a group, as part of an organised mission. But by myself I still didn’t feel ready. I still felt scarred and scared. I had yet to heal and learn that I was a good man. True, I was already on a world mission of giving love, and yet, there was still one person I couldn’t give to: myself! How could this be?

I had been lonely most of my life… Lonely with my family, lonely at school, lonely in my relationships. Solitude is often called the disease of Modern Civilizations. How can we today, wifi-ed and concentrated in mega-cities, be so alone, feeling lost in a bag of skin? We each have our stories, our origins, our roots, or lack there off. Sadly, we are able to function in a community of … loners… to a point… And then there are some who can’t and fall between the cracks, outside, alone in the streets. So many Marias around the world.

I almost became a ‘Maria’ myself. She and I share many common pains. Luckily, I’ve found a way back, away from loneliness towards warmth and open heartedness. Still, everyday remains a challenge, old habits die hard. At least now I have found faith, hope, kindness and the care of others like me, whom I guess may have also experienced both sides of the story. Being out of love and crossing over to giving love makes me feel part of a  larger humanity. It gives me the chance to partake in one of life’s most beautiful gift… the gift of love, and in turn, to share it around today.

Thank you Maria, thank you all my fellow clowns in India and in Guatemala. You are all part of my journey, reminding me where I came from and showing me where I am going. Today I’m opening my heart to myself, and in so am able to give the greatest gift of all: love. I love you all.

xxxxx Guy

groupe

Guy  ‘A Good Man’ Giard  ( aka Citizen Clown :0) )

Thank you for sharing in this part of my journey!

”May the Farce be with all of us!”

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I invite you to follow all my Amazing Adventures by subscribing to this blog, and please join my Facebook page: The Amazing Adventures of Citizen Clown Fanpage.  Share with your friends and on your Facebook page, this is greatly appreciated!

Love xxx

16 – A Tale From India

16 – A Tale From India

I’m back!!!

Back in Montréal, Canada, that is! What a beautiful amazing experience care clowning in India has been, and still is as I am carrying it inside me. I’ve been overseas for more than three weeks, living away from my little family (bless their hearts) while I was being reborn in a new family of 20+ clowns.

If you haven’t tried it yet, there is no other experience like it. Getting together with like minded souls, with the aching desire to create a better and more loving world. As a child I didn’t like what I saw in the world around me, poverty, violence, suffering… I never dared to dream that one day I could make a difference. As a Care Clown, or Humanitarian Clown, I do, one person at a time, one group at a time. I come into a person’s life, and in a way, I never leave them and likewise they never leave me.

In the coming weeks I’ll write down some of the stories of the new souls I now forever carry within my heart: Aspini the young singing Gypsy of Mahabalipuram; Maria begging in an overhead staircase in Vellore; Sebastien my adopted homeless dog in Chennai, and so many others.

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My new Indian Clown family

I dream of India

But first more about me. I had never dreamt of going to India before…. maybe yes as a Fantasy, but nothing realistic. And then I left my job and jumped head over heels into the Laughter Yoga world. One thing leading to the other I ended up last march with Dr Patch Adams in Guatemala. I came back from that first experience a transformed man. I was told it would change my life, and it did, so much so that it literally turned my life upside down. And for the last six months I was living, holding on to a dream that had lasted but for 10 days. As I said in a recent lecture on my upcoming trip to India, I felt I had just lived through ‘La traversée du desert’ : an achingly dry spell.

Turning 55 November 4th in India also became symbolic of making a major life change; that not only was it possible but I also wanted to inspire others to make changes in their lives. This is now My Worldwide Care Clowning Mission. What I didn’t expect is that no truer words would be coming out of my mouth. As the expression goes: Be careful for what you wish for as you will most certainly get it!

So as I said I had been living my life upside down for the last six months, so I didn’t expect much of a change in India, just a deepening of what I’ve already been living. But I was more than wrong, my life has flipped over once again, which brings me back down right side up this time. Both feet solidly planted on the ground I no longer need to hold on to Guatemala or India, for these are my life now. The dream is now my reality.

Can’t take India out of me

While my dreams became a reality, my reality turned into dreams! India started to feature more predominantly in my sleep during the last days of our journey in Chennai. Since my return home my dreams have gotten even more vivid and colorful. During my first midday naps I took due to the jet-lag; I would wake up convinced I was still in India, and the confusion would reign as I tried to make sense of my surroundings, evoking a mixture of happiness and sadness all within a very deep emotional fog.

Last night’s dream was the strongest so far, my fellow clowns kept appearing in an out of a very confusing scenario, where the aim was to live out every experience and fantasy amongst straw Indian houses. It was a very cinematic, full HD, 3D dream in full color. I woke up feeling satiated, having had a full on if not exaggerated Indian experience. India and my fellow clowns are now truly within me.

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The beautiful children in India

My journey is for you

As witnessed in my dreams, changes happen through heart to heart connections. In India, as in Guatemala, I was blessed to connect so deeply with my fellow clowns that the change process could naturally happen. In Guatemala I had learned the new experiences of vulnerability and compassion. In India I came to experience full out trust and total abandonment of my doubts and fears. I cried as I let go of hurtful lies about myself I was forced to believe as truths since my earliest childhood.

Finally cleared of my self-hatred, I also cried when I could finally start accepting the good I had come to censure. My lonely heart was now slowly filling up with past friends and family members, along with the appreciation of random acts of kindness from strangers. As I sat by the beach, watching the sunrise over the ocean waves, I cried at the beauty of life and at the gift I had just received. I could finally admit, out loud, that I was a good man. I was reborn.

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I was reborn in India

Today is the best day

As I write these words, my heart aches to see my family in Amsterdam. I lived and studied in The Netherlands between 1987 and 1991. There I fell in love many times, discovered the real meaning of friendship in my direst hours, and had my first taste of being me. Amsterdam was a stepping stone to whom I’ve become today, to all the friends I meet, to all the Clowns I love, and to all the orphans and lonely people I’ve come to hold in my arms.

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My Dutch family in Amsterdam

This is a good example of how life works: I had to go to Guatemala, take a turn to India to be able to finally come home to my family in Amsterdam. This first blog on India is dedicated to them.

Today is the best day, “Now is my best moment…there is no other moment” as would say my friend and mentor Lenny Ravich. This is my gift to you as I embark on a new journey. I invite you to come along for the ride, share it with friends and family. Together we are creating a better world!

Guy  ‘A Good Man’ Giard  ( aka Citizen Clown :0) )

Thank you for sharing in this part of my journey!

”May the Farce be with all of us!”

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I invite you to follow all my Amazing Adventures by subscribing to this blog, and please join my Facebook page: The Amazing Adventures of Citizen Clown Fanpage.  Share with your friends and on your Facebook page, this is greatly appreciated!

Love xxx

15- Conférence Clown Humanitaire

Comment Changer Le monde un rire à La Fois!
How To Change The World One Laugh At A Time !
¡Cómo Cambiar El mundo una risa a la vez!

Publicite MOTS

Vendredi 3 octobre, de 19 h 30 à 21 h

Clown humanitaire résidant dans le Sud-Ouest, Guy Giard raconte son voyage au Guatémala où il a accompagné le célèbre Dr Patch Adams en mars dernier. En préparation de sa prochaine mission en Inde, venez découvrir comment on peut changer le monde un rire à la fois, dans des hôpitaux et des orphelinats, mais aussi dans la vie de tous les jours avec le yoga du rire. Une conférence pleine d’humour et d’émotions!

Entrée libre
La conférence est en français

Centre culturel Georges-Vanier
2450 Rue Workman, Montreal, QC H3J 1L8
Téléphone :(514) 931-2248    Metro Lionel-Groulx

De plus chacun recevra gratuitement un nez de clown! ,
grace au généreux don de la fondation Néz pour vivre.
nez pour vivre logo

 

 

 

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How To Change The World One Laugh At A Time !

Oct. 3 , 19 h 30 to 21 h

Humanitarian clown living in Montreal, Guy Giard recounts his trip to Guatemala where he accompanied the famous Dr. Patch Adams last March. In preparation for his next visit to India , discover how we can change the world one laugh at a time, in hospitals and orphanages, but also in everyday life with laughter yoga . A humorous and emotional presentation!

free admission
Please note the lecture is in french
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¡Cómo Cambiar El mundo una risa a la vez!

El 3 de octubre, de 19 h 30 – 21

Al residir clown humanitario en Montreal, Guy Giard cuenta su viaje al Guatémala donde acompañó al célebre Dr. Patch Adams en último marzo. En preparación de su misión próxima en la India, venga para descubrir cómo se puede cambiar el mundo una risa a la vez, en hospitales y orfanatos, pero también en la vida de diaria con el yoga de la risa. ¡Una conferencia llena de humor y de emociones!

Entrada libre
Tenga en cuenta la conferencia es en francés

 

george-vanier 2

 Centre culturel Georges-Vanier
2450 Rue Workman, Montreal, QC H3J 1L8
Téléphone :(514) 931-2248

Thank you for sharing in this part of my journey!

”May the Farce be with all of us!”

signature

 

 

 

I invite you to follow all my Amazing Adventures by subscribing to this blog, and please join my Facebook page: The Amazing Adventures of Citizen Clown Fanpage.  Share with your friends and on your Facebook page, this is greatly appreciated!

Love xxx

14 – Joy to the world, Part 4

Joy to the world, Part 4

My Oath to you!

In this 4 part series I want to share with you how it came to be that Love and Humanitarian Clowning became my life’s purpose.

  • Part 1 covers the transition period that lead me to leave for Guatemala with Patch Adams.
  • Part 2 is deciding for Guatemala and the annual AATH Conference in Indiana
  • Part 3 is how my experience in Guatemala turned my life around
  • Part 4 is on Citizen Clown in Montréal and my upcoming trip to India

I will conclude this 4 part series with my Oath to you, wishing to inspire more love and growth for all Humanity.

Time to go home

It was now time for goodbyes. I felt weary of all the feelings I lived, and yet, I felt an inner peace ebbing out of me. Rob was my brother, I knew that, and Jerry was… well you’ve got to meet him, he’s unique! Some of my clown friends stayed behind in Antigua. We were sad to leave them. The rest of us regrouped around the table for our last communal supper. Jerry, Rob and Chappo were exchanging puns : ”What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t come back? …..  A stick !” Then came a surprise chocolat cake from our new adoptive Mom, Francesca, and all our cousins, Nilo, Francesco and Marcelino of the Posada Belen Museo Inn: cake and song! So loving and wonderful!

After supper we sat in a circle for one last group sharing led by Ash and Pedro. In those few minutes, I had the chance to get to know more personally many of my fellow clowns. You see, I was still a shy person, but now I could accept it and share that I was scared and awkward with relationships. I now felt in a safe place. Sadly, gently we said our goodbyes as some of us were leaving in the middle of the night. The next day as the morning sun rose only a handful were left. Rob and I shared a cab. We talked about what was waiting for us back home, exchanged our best memories, hugged and went our separate ways. It was over… But as if by magic, at the last moment, as I was boarding the plane, I heard someone calling my name! I turned around and there she was: Carmen, the sunniest Mexican Clown I know. One last hug, one last smile, I turned around and boarded. The door closed and off I went.

Flying home

I felt sad leaving, and excited at the thought of coming home! I would finally see my lovely daughter and wife. I was now a clown. I was filled to the brim with love and humor, so now, I did what came naturally: clowning in the plane. I was still dressed mostly as a clown; I would only need to put my nose and flowered hat on to reveal my true identity.

I smiled at everyone as I settled in my seat. A man was taking picture of his wife, so I offered to take one of them both. They were extremely pleased! I took out my puppet Jackô, put on my hat and nose, and asked him to take a picture of me with a poor innocent girl sitting in between our rows of seat. Everyone laughed and it set the tone for the rest of the flight. I only wished I had Jerry’s smiley heart stickers, they are an amazing icebreaker. I felt limited to how much clowning I could do before becoming just this strange guy.

Jackö came out of the bag to surprise this young innocent lady!

Jackö came out of the bag to surprise this young innocent lady!

Later I asked the stewardess about the free drinks a fellow clown mentioned. Well it was true, but only in first class! Then again, since I made her laugh, she said she would give me anything I wanted! Off she went and came back with two free drinks tickets! Being a clown does have its perks! Not only that, but when she brought my beer she deliberately placed the can on the ticket, twice!! So that I kept these two tickets and they will be good for my next flight in april…. How cool is that!

What happens in Atlanta doesn’t stay in Atlanta!

When we landed in Atlanta I had a fourteen hours overnight layover at the airport. I had decided I was going to sleep, somehow, in the terminal. I’m always ready to try out new experiences (and now I know this is something I would not want to repeat!)

As I got off the plane I walked towards the border patrol agents. They were all dead serious, so I didn’t dare being too clowny; I was still dressed very colorful. As I walked around, I noticed that being clothes this way made everybody else looks brown or black, muddy and drab. I was still in a happy mood (two beers and colorful clothes will help!). Being in Atlanta I was singing ”Georgia” to myself. When it was my turn to talk with the agents, she and her colleague were mildly amused that I came from Guatemala as a Humanitarian Clown. I mentioned Patch Adams, but to no avail, the name was only vaguely familiar to them. I proceeded to put on my red nose and my wonderful flowered hat! Now came the most beautiful smile and laughter. Suddenly their eyes light up! It was magic! We joked so much that their supervisors, from another desk quite far away, shouted: ‘Hey, guys, quit clowning around!’ which was hilarious! It became contagious! So in good humor she gave back my papers and off I went, once again convinced by the power of clowning! I’m sure they’ll have a story to tell back at home.

Tired, lost and confused, I made other people smile and laugh while asking for directions. I finally found Floyd the bus driver who would bring me to the right terminal where I would spend the night. Floyd appreciated the work I was doing as a clown. He many times underlined how I should come back to Atlanta and: ”do it for the kids in the park.” Floyd was as tall as Patch, a big black clean shaven imposing Atlanta kind of guy.. he means business. As I sat in the bus I started a conversation with an oriental women with a Paris tagged bag. She was a sales rep for Delta travelling the globe to pitch for the airline. She liked my clowning, and pointed me in the right direction as we arrived at the terminal. I asked her if I could give her a hug, and again clown magic made its work! I then proceeded to hug Floyd! Oopps that was a BIG mistake as he almost slugged me down! I hadn’t asked him before… My advice, unless you want to be clubbed to the floor: Ask first!!!!

So as a clown I brought joy in the plane, at the border patrol, in the bus, and it wasn’t over yet!

Eat, sleep and be merry in the twilight zone!

Now comes one of the most memorable part of my journey: After settling all the basic luggage and gate information, I walked over to the food court and ordered some warm meal. As I waited, the cashier at the counter started calling for a ”Brian”. No one was getting up. ”Brian?, Brian?” Dressed as a clown I started to call for Brian myself, and was joined in by two guys sitting further away. We all called for Brian! It became a big joke! Somehow there was a confusion as ”Brian” had picked up my order and I was left with his. Having finally resolved the mystery and gotten my supper, I asked to join the other the two other fellows.

Constantino and Alexander were two slender and well tanned young men. They had just passed a week at muscle beach in Miami. We talked and joked as they were overjoyed that I was a clown. Of course, they had to have their pictures taken with me. So I happily obliged and put on my full costume. As we discussed, they found out there was more to this clown than meets the eye, so the conversation got friendlier and more relaxed. They also had the longest layover and were also stuck here.

Now comes the fun part; we started to invite other people from the food court to join us in our craziness. If they looked lonely or bored we called them over. We got a brother and sister, Tim and Diana, who had missed their flight to Las Vegas and San Francisco. As the conversations went on I made sure that we laughed a lot. I made ridiculous comments about why we were here, why’d they missed their plane, on and on. It became a real Monty Python sketch. The sillier and more absurd the better. We learned they were Vietnamese and they were both nail stylist, which is funny in itself! My two friends were actually brothers from Germany. Now as if this wasn’t enough, we invited a young girl sitting close to us. She was a young Argentinian architect waiting to be picked up by friends of a friend whom she never met before. So the skit became that she was the most intelligent one of all of us, and how was it possible that she would get in a car with strangers while we were all friends and family here? And it went on and on and we had a ball. As the night went on other strangers came into our circle of laughs. I eventually said my goodbyes with lots of hugs and went happily looking for a couch to spend the night. This will be the subject of another post (I mean that dinosaur skeleton did look pretty mean!)

My new friends Tim, Diana, Maria, Constantino and Alexander all clowning around!

My new friends Tim, Diana, Maria, Constantino and Alexander all clowning around!

Morning came….  I got many inquisitive looks with my colorful clothes, but tired as I was, and having no stickers to give, I wasn’t up to much clowning. Yet, after admiring a wondrous sunrise, I felt my happiness recharged and boarded the plane with a big smile. Near the end of the trip Clown magic happened again! A passenger seated in the row directly in front of me decided to take a picture of the back of the plane. He held his camera facing backward to subtly take a snapshot; without looking into the viewer. As I’ve taken the habit of having my clown nose around my neck all the time, I hurriedly put it on and did this humongous smile and happy hands salute. He hadn’t seen me! So I waited and watched in glee as he uneventfully started to review his photos. I think he literally jumped out of his seat when he saw my picture! With a wonderful glowing smile he turned around and we introduced himself. His name was Hugo and he was a Chilean engineer (yet another Hugo, as in my first flight to Guatemala!) I asked if he would in turn take a picture with my camera, which he did! Clowning bring the best out of everybody!

Home

Finally, after hours of travelling, I was landing home. My family was there to greet me, but, sadly, it didn’t go as expected. I felt something was missing, or out of place. We walked through the winter snow, got to my sister’s car and drove away. Reaching home, I opened the door to the apartment. Everything seemed familiar, and yet, different, foreign, as if out of sync. I felt as if I had been away for six months, while for my family, it was actually all of ten days. Nothing had changed for them. But for me, after living an intense immersion of love and happiness, all had changed. We had to recreate a new equilibrium. Tears, hugs and laughter ensued. They are all part of the clowning healing experience.

Who was I? Had it all been just a dream? Luckily, a newspaper columnist called me the next day : Patch was coming to town and she wanted a description of my trip. Later a television research assistant from MAtv called me to set up an interview. Still, most important of all, was Facebook! Christy, one of my sister clown, kept us all together as we all interconnected and got our ”Clowns on The Facebook …;-)” group going. It wasn’t a dream after all. I was still part of the Clown Family. Rob, Jerry, DeeDee, they were all there lending a helping hand and a shoulder to cry on.

I couldn’t dress with in my usual clothes! I tried, the waist line was fine but not the head space. I was a different person, I was a humanitarian clown.  I now wear my bright colored clothes everyday in the streets of Montréal! Bright red foam noses in my pockets, camera in hand, I’m always ready to bring joy. Citizen Clown was in gestation. I phoned around hospitals to see if I could clown here, but it got complicated as I would have to go through a Doctor Clown association called Jovia. Meanwhile for three days I gave music improvisation workshops at a primary school dressed in full clown colors! Patch would soon be in town.

When he finally arrived I was just about to leave for my first ever Annual AATH Conference. I was also booked for a Sea Shanty concert at a local cultural center.  That show was excellent! I’d put on my Shantyman costume…. Arghhh for Captain Guy! It was a great success and everyone had a ball! Eventually I was able to meet with Patch for a full 30 seconds, and those 30 seconds confirmed that I was where I belonged. Having appeared out of the blue, it took him a few moments to reconnected with me, and then he shouted my name : ”GUY!”. We looked each other in the eyes and hugged. At loss for words, I could only thank him for changing my life, at which he replied : ”No Guy, you changed your life, you did!”. Very wise words from a very loving man!

 Wonderful Patch in Montréal: ''No Guy, you changed your life, you did!''.

Wonderful Patch in Montréal: ”No Guy, you changed your life, you did!”.

Lenny and the Association for Applied Therapeutic Humor.

Patch, Lenny, Barbara, Mary Kay, Maïa, Harald, Julie, Olga, Bron, Kathy, Douglas, Naum, Pam, Wendy, Ricky, Albert, Linda, Liliana… There are so many people who were like Socrates: my Midwives: ”My art of midwifery is in general like theirs; the only difference is that my patients are men, not women, and my concern is not with the body but with the soul that is in travail of birth….. all who are favored by heaven make progress at a rate that seems surprising to others as well as to themselves, although it is clear that they have never learned anything from me. The many admirable truths they bring to birth have been discovered by themselves from within. But the delivery is heaven’s work and mine.” I was in the process of giving birth to myself. (Plato’s Theaetetus)

As I went to the AATH Conference I wore my full Guatemala Sunday Best Clown attire and greeted everyone with a big smile and a hug. I felt I was now meeting all my Cousins, Aunts and Uncles after leaving my Guatemala Clown Family behind. I had never experienced such a feeling. Laughter was redefining my world view! I became camera happy and started to transform into Clowns every participant I would encounter. I discovered the meaning of the word ‘Selfie’! It became a sort of a challenge to see if I could get a photo of every member wearing a foam nose! The best compliment I had was when many told me they felt I had been clowning for years. It was literally just a few weeks! The expression ”you’re a natural” was often used. Still feeling insecure, those words were just what I needed to hear.

I shared a lot of Clown Energy as I ''Clowned'' my new family at the AATH!

I shared a lot of Clown Energy as I ”Clowned” my new family at the AATH!

As the days passed I made many new friends and met some of my donors for my Guatemala fundraiser. I finally saw Lenny, my mentor, my Godfather. Lenny Ravich is the author of the bestseller A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Enlightenment, and the namesake for the ”Shalom” scholarship I received to attend the Humor Academy. I had seen his videos on YouTube and befriended him on Facebook. As we met, we got starry eyes and had the longest, warmest hug! And so it went during the whole conference as we hugged and hugged each time we met. I declared him the best male hugger of the AATH (Karen was the best woman hugger).

At last my path was becoming clear : First came Naum and Madan Kataria who had given me hope at the Laughter Yoga Conference in Toronto; then came Patch and my Humanitarian Clown Family who gave me the space and love so I could give birth to myself; and finally Lenny and my new AATH Family were paving the road ahead for my new life, showing me where my future could lead me. I was now ready to become Citizen Clown!

Citizen Clown

Being enrolled as a first year student of the AATH Humor Academy, I asked myself how could I best contribute to the growth of humor in everyday life? I was already walking around the city, noses in my pockets, always ready to ‘Clown’ a friend or a stranger. I also wanted to tell the stories of the amazing people I met; to share how beautiful and magical their clown transformation was. Out of these feelings was born yours truly: Citizen Clown. My mission : To bring joy and laughter through the transformative power of clowning.

I am now making plans for my next Humanitarian Clown trips. I had promised my Fabrica de Sonrisas friends that I would learn Spanish and come back to Guatemala. This time I will be taking my wife and daughter along! The three of us clowning together. I feel this is the biggest gift I could ever give my family: to share with them what I discovered and to make it a family mission. A legacy to inspire and that we could leave behind.

Finally, I discovered Tim Webster and his Humanitarian trips to India. As with my first trip to Guatemala, something clicked in me. I have this amazing opportunity next November to clown for three weeks in Tamil Nadu, visiting hospitals, orphanages, nursing homes, tribal villages and much much more. It’s crazy, it’s overwhelming, it’s scary, it’s another challenge for my wife and daughter, it’s beyond my wildest dreams, it’s beyond my imagination, and yet, when you know it’s the right thing to do, you just do it! So I’ve started to learn Tamil, one of the oldest language on earth, and set up a Fundraiser to make it happen. You can help me get there by donating at the top of this page, or read the full details by visiting my fundraiser page : Give Guy Giard Clowning in Orphanages in India

Joy to the world, my oath to you!

What a journey! It seems like a lifetime. I have been reinventing my life for the past year.

As a child I’ve always asked myself: ‘How is it possible that we send people to the moon while half the planet is starving?’ Today, as I will be celebrating my 55th birthday in India, my dream of changing the world is becoming a reality. I have now chosen to dedicate the rest of my journey on this earth to giving love with Humanitarian Clowning.

My wishes are many: I wish that Citizen Clown becomes an inspiration for everyone to live out their passions. I wish to become a living embodiment that change is possible at any age. And I wish that my writings and my speaking engagements finds those hearts and souls that needs to be healed. I propose that as Citizen Clown I will be your arms as I walk around this earth giving loving hugs and care. I wish to be your ears, your eyes and your heart, to tell your stories, and to make this place a better home for all our childrens, young and old, of this world.

This is my oath to you.

Peace

Spot the Clown in this wonderful picture of Romanian Choir La Muse!

Love is the transformative power of Citizen Clown, here with the Romanian Choir La Muse!

Thank you for sharing in this part of my journey!

”May the Farce be with all of us!”

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I invite you to follow all my Amazing Adventures by subscribing to this blog, and please join my Facebook page: The Amazing Adventures of Citizen Clown Fanpage.  Share with your friends and on your Facebook page, this is greatly appreciated!

Love xxx

 

13 – Joy to the world, Part 3

Joy to the world, Part 3

My Oath to you!

In this 4 part series I want to share with you how it came to be that Love and Humanitarian Clowning became my life’s purpose.

  • Part 1 covers the transition period that lead me to leave for Guatemala with Patch Adams.
  • Part 2 is deciding for Guatemala and the annual AATH Conference in Indiana
  • Part 3 is how my experience in Guatemala turned my life around
  • Part 4 is on Citizen Clown in Montréal and my upcoming trip to India

I will conclude this 4 part series with my Oath to you, wishing to inspire more love and growth for all Humanity.

Air Clown

For the last few weeks I had borrowed books on the fear of flying at the library. As I read I felt more and more prepared for my journey. The day of departure finally arrived! I dressed up as a clown and made my first public appearance at the airport. Remember that so far my aim in life was to be invisible. I was daring to change, believing in what I was doing. I had a 2 hour connection in Atlanta coming up, which slowly melted away as the attendants kept announcing delays for our departure. So much for keeping calm. As we finally boarded, 2 hours later, I raised many eyebrows as I walked down the aisle : ”Who’s this clown?” they must have been thinking, literally!

It was a small airplane, one passenger to my right, the aisle to my left, and two more seats on the other side. I got my Fear of flying book out, my photos and my letters ready, and tried to relax as my neighbor totally ignored me. I listened to some relaxation music I had prepared, and practiced my  slow rhythmic breathing exercises. As we lifted off I reviewed the science of aerodynamics. I felt calm; all in all I’d say it went very well.

The flight attendant enjoyed my smile and costume, and as we chatted away she offered me double drinks and snacks. I was on my way!

I met warm and wonderful father and son Payasito Chisguetin and Chisguetio in the streets of Guatemala.

I met a warm and wonderful father and son Payasito Chisguetin and Chisguetio in the streets of Guatemala.

Luggage anyone?

Across the aisle was this very talkative young man who would later become a life saver: Hugo. He left Guatemala 15 years ago to live in Montréal. He was going back to visit his relatives. Very friendly, we had an enjoyable talk. He was worried about making our connection. When we did finally land we literally had only a few minutes to catch our second flight! We were separated as I had to wait for my on board luggage, I then started to look for my departure gate. I was at gate 4 and had to go to 24, not too bad I thought. So I started to walk, then jog, then run like crazy as the distance between the gates were humongous! Atlanta airport was immense!

Now call me crazy or not, you have to imagine a clown running in the airport! Remember those nice extra drinks the attendant gave me? Well, I didn’t go to the bathroom in the airplane, so I did the unthinkable! (No, I didn’t pee in my pants… ) I stopped at the washroom and relieved myself! Having a mixture of relief and dread, I then stepped up my run to finally see a flight attendant desperately waving her arms towards me. I sprinted the last 50 meters, my on board luggage barely touching the ground. We both let out a big sigh of relief as she finally closed the door. Pfew, made it! The second flight was better than the first, my stress was gone. I was in my seat and I could now relax.

Hours later as I walked off the plane the heat and humidity hit me! I had just left snowy Montréal in one of its coldest winter in decades. I met up with Hugo at the carousel where we expected to pick-up our luggage (which of course with our 10 minutes layover in Atlanta was unthinkable) He explained our situation to the baggage handlers and got our missing tickets filled up. Hugo then generously offered to help me find my awaiting driver in the lobby. Without a word of Spanish all of this would have been a nightmare! Finally I saw someone holding up a sign with my name on it. I gave my new friend my first official clown hug, and off I went in the middle of the night in the streets of Guatemala City. I had done it!

Posada Belen Inn

After an half an hour ride the driver stopped in front of an old dusty facade. Stepping out, he reached is hand through the iron grid covering the front door and rang the doorbell. The windows also had bars on them. The door opened: Francesco welcomed us with a big smile and gave me the keys to my room. Exhausted, with no change of clothes, I gratefully accepted and proceeded to make myself at home. I was looking forward to meeting my new Facebook friend, Clown Rob, with whom I had chatted since a couple of weeks prior. That would have to wait though; now was the time to sleep.

I woke up in the morning with the sounds of chatter. The staff was sweeping the inside court, and the cling clang of dishes made me sense that they were setting up for breakfast. I cleaned myself up, a quick shave, had a drink of water from the pitcher they had kindly prepared and opened the door. I first met Francesca, the owner, who made us feel like our mom, welcoming her sons and daughters, and there, at the breakfast table, sat Rob. He looked me in the eyes, took me in his arms and gave me a big hug. I was discovering the spirit of Humanitarian Clowning: hugging with love and purpose. There are so many many more stories to tell: how I first met Emily, Chappo and Pamela, Carmen, Dee Dee, Christy, Margaret and her sister Lori, Jerry, Judy, Sara, and on an on. They were my new sisters and brothers of my Clown Family. But this would make for a 20 page part 3 post, so I’ll have to save those for later.

International Clowns unites with the Guatemala Clowns of Fabrica de Sonrisas!

International Clowns unites with the Guatemala Clowns of Fabrica de Sonrisas!

Needless to say I had never been in such a community of loving and happy people. We came together as a group by the amazing Ash, and the soft-spoken Pedro. Their devotion to bringing us here, making sure that everyone was well taken care of and listened to, was nourishing. I learned with them that we are giving care and love, and we need each other, and that we were always there for each other. Later I would meet the amazing Clowns of Fabrica de Sonrisas. These hearts giving teams of Clown Doctors would welcome us like cousins when we arrived at the hospitals and the orphanages. They could help us translate if need be and we went together to cheer the children,patients and staff alike. I love them.

Here comes Patch

Patch is as big as his heart and devotions are! And that is an understatement as he stands nearly 2 meters tall. He cares for everyone, he cares for his mission, and is passionate in seeing through his dream:  building the Gesundheit Institute. For this he has been travelling the world  care clowning and relentlessly giving lectures. He was welcoming us in his vision of world love: ‘The Love Revolution” as he calls it.

Christy, Patch and I are doing the typical Patch nose greeting!

Christy, Patch and I are doing the typical Patch nose greeting!

He was born in May 1945, and I in November 1959. I always felt I was born a few years too late, just after the Hippie and Flower Power era. I never felt I belonged in our modern society, and in Humanitarian Clowning I suddenly found a community where I could belong. A year ago I started my journey with the world of laughter yoga and it lead me to where I am today: Care Clowning! Each step of the way I had to go beyond my comfort zone. I had to leave my fears behind. Each time I dared close a door, dozens of new energetic loving inspirational people appeared on my path. As the saying goes: ”When the student is ready the teacher will appear”.

July an amazing brave young girl who had a heart operation. Love her soul

July an amazing brave young girl who had a heart operation. Love her soul

Each day as I was clowning with my new family I felt I was living more of my life. Remember the 5% to 95% ratio I wrote about in part 1 of this series? In Guatemala this totally shifted: I was now living and giving my best 95% of the time. I had achieved beyond my wildest dreams what I had hoped for! But for this to happen I had to learn my biggest lesson: being vulnerable.

All of me

I already described in my previous post 9 – Life is an adventure  how anxious I was at my first clowning experience, and how Emily was there to help me welcome and reconnect with myself. As the days and visits progressed, I found more support from Rob, Dee Dee, Nilo, Ash and the others. Being with the kids gave me the opportunity to give more and more of myself, each day opening up my love like the petals of a blossoming flower. And then on a Wednesday morning I met Yorbely. She changed my life!

Here I am with Yorbely and Jackô

Here I am with Yorbely and Jackô

Yorbely is a 8 year old child in the Valley of the Angels Orphanage. There I met Daniel and dozens of other young children, all smiling and full of joy. They welcomed us with a big ceremonial song, we were all moved by their kindness. Somehow Yorbely connected with me as soon as we started clowning, and she stayed by my side most of the time, playing Patty Cake Patty Cake, giving away stickers, dancing, running and just being silly with my puppet Jackô. Noon came and we had to break for lunch. Yorbely didn’t want me to go, so I took her in my arms and walked around with her a bit. I told her we’d be back right after lunch so we would catch up again later. I let her go, she had a glowing smile on her face, and that’s when it happened!

As she walked away, I was overcome by sadness and a big lump in my throat. Teary eyed I though that this young wonderful happy spunky child was an orphan here, and that there was nothing I could do about it. I could go back home, with friends and family, but she was just going to stay here. It made me so sad, but what could I do? Nothing! I saw and accepted my powerlessness and vulnerability. I felt I could give her something, me, fully and wholly; be available for her, while giving her humor and pleasure at the same time. At that moment I became a Care Clown!

Coming back that evening I discussed my thoughts with my friends. Rob talked about compassion, for her, and for me. That night I cried in my bed as I finally gave myself these two feelings: compassion and vulnerability. I never had the space for them before. This was new for me. The next evening after supper I opened my heart and shared my life’s story with everyone, as I never had done before. They looked at me thankfully for my vulnerability, they hugged me; I was home.

Back in my room, alone, I cried some more as my stay in Guatemala was coming to an end. Crying for leaving behind my new found friends and family. Crying from having just discovered a new kind of love I didn’t know about, something I would come to know later as a Brotherhood. As Rob said: ”Guy, you’re my brother now”.

Rob and Emily, two of the amazing clowns that forever changed my life.

Rob and Emily, two of the amazing clowns that forever changed my life.

In part 4 I’ll tell you what happened when I came back home, joined the AATH Conference, the birth of Citizen Clown. my upcoming Care Clowning trip to Tamil Nadu, India, and so much more! See you there!

Thank you for sharing in this part of my journey!

”May the Farce be with all of us!”

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I invite you to follow all my Amazing Adventures by subscribing to this blog, and please join my Facebook page: The Amazing Adventures of Citizen Clown Fanpage.  Share with your friends and on your Facebook page, this is greatly appreciated!

Love xxx

 

12 – Joy to the world, Part 2

Joy to the world, Part 2

My Oath to you!

In this 4 part series I want to share with you how it came to be that Love and Humanitarian Clowning became my life’s purpose.

  • Part 1 covers the transition period that lead me to leave for Guatemala with Patch Adams.
  • Part 2 is deciding for Guatemala and the annual AATH Conference in Indiana
  • Part 3 is how my experience in Guatemala turned my life around
  • Part 4 is on Citizen Clown in Montréal and my upcoming trip to India

I will conclude this 4 part series with my Oath to you, wishing to inspire more love and growth for all Humanity.

Writing to Patch Adams

As I was doing more and more research into the history of laughter it became crucial that I get an interview with Dr Adams. Heeding his YouTube invitations I sat down and wrote him a first letter. Meanwhile, I was getting more amazing contacts with beautiful people in the laughter universe such as Corinne, Steve, Sebastien, Linda, Dr Madan Kataria, etc. I felt I was on the right path!

Finally, one day, a postcard arrived in my mailbox. It was from Russia: Dr Adams! I looked in awe and disbelief. I felt I was holding a piece of history in my hands. As I deciphered his handwriting he wrote about his missions and schedule. He loved my project, but was extremely busy travelling from one continent to another. It would be quite impossible to get an interview with him unless, unless….. I joined him on one of his Humanitarian Clowning missions!

Have you ever felt that life was pushing you in one direction and you were the last one to know about it? I was basically clueless…

Wow, I'm so happy! I just received the postcard from 'Patch'

Wow, I’m so happy! I just received a postcard from ‘Patch’

Oh, oh! Life’s about to change…

In a way it was obvious I had to go. It felt like a childhood dream come true, and yet at the same time, I was full of apprehensions. Doubt, anguish, fright, name it I was feeling it! Who was I to go and live such a venture? How dare I? And what about my wife and daughter? How would this affect them? Us?

I started to ponder the idea and discus with friends. Many of them had a good laugh! ”Are you serious?” In their eyes it was so obvious I would be going! They said it was so ”me”. Clueless as I was, I nevertheless pressed on and talked about it with my wife. Ten days of separation didn’t seemed much to me, but for her, after 15 years of marriage and having never lived by herself, I might as well be going to the moon! Many discussions ensued, at which point, bless her soul, it became obvious even for her that in the grand scheme of things I had to go. I was still the last one not aware of it.

I weighted the pros and cons, the what if this and that? And what about…. and on and on and on… In the end it all boiled down to taking a decision. My father had passed away, I was mourning his absence in our lives, and that was that. Life just was. I started to feel that, in the end, when death comes calling, there are ultimately no good or bad choices: there are just string of events. For once in my life, for no reason whatsoever, I would just have think about myself.  What did I want? I didn’t know at that moment that thinking about myself would be the most unselfish act I would ever do!

costume clown Guy

As fate would have it, I just walked in a second hand clothing store and there it was…. my twaid jacket!

Dare to dare

So I dared! And I dared to dare! I am going to Guatemala to do Humanitarian Clowning with Dr Patch Adams! And then, suddenly, all sorts of magic coincidences started to happen. As soon as I let go of my fears, hundreds of new loving people connected with my life. My whole aim in life up to that point was to be invisible, never to be seen or heard, never to ask anyone for anything. Now in a 180 degree turn fashion, I decided to set-up a crowdfunding campaign! My sister gave me a hand, and through my Fundraiser I reconnected with friends I hadn’t heard off in years. Love was just pouring in.

You know the expression : When it rains it pours! It couldn’t have been truer! As life would have it, some of these new friends were also members of a humor association called AATH (Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor). Patch used to be one of their members. One thing leading to another, I decided to become a member, then I decided to attend their next Annual Conference, which came just a couple of weeks after my return from Guatemala. Lastly, I decided to enroll in their Humor Academy level 1. All these decisions within a couple of weeks!

Toronto, Guatemala, Indiana… the last time I had traveled was 25 years ago when I studied in The Netherlands, and then Paris where I later met my wife. Suddenly my life was about stepping on the gas at every turn, living fully the gift I had been given. My head was spinning!

Guatemala here I come!

I was scared of flying! To deal with my fear I thought about the orphans and the children I was going to help. I had printed the words of appreciation from my donors and read and reread them. They believed in me more than I did; their words warmed my heart and brought tears of hope. If only they had known how much they were helping me in my journey. I also prepared photos of my wife and daughter and would clutch at them if we hit turbulence. I had to sprint to make my connection, lost my luggage….there are many more stories to tell but I’ll save them for later.

My puppet Jackö looking at the clouds flowing under the wings on our way to Guatemala.

My puppet Jackö looking at the clouds flowing under the wings on our way to Guatemala.

In part 3 I’ll tell you how I had to make due without luggage for three days, about the Posada Belen Inn where we stayed: and heart giving Rob, Emily, Christy, and so many other amazing Humanitarian Clowns….

Thank you for sharing in this part of my journey!

”May the Farce be with all of us!”

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I invite you to follow all my Amazing Adventures by subscribing to this blog, and please join my Facebook page: The Amazing Adventures of Citizen Clown Fanpage.  Share with your friends and on your Facebook page, this is greatly appreciated!

Love xxx

 

11 – Joy to the world, Part 1

Joy to the world, Part 1

My Oath to you!

In this 4 part series I want to share with you how it came to be that Love and Humanitarian Clowning became my life’s purpose.

  • Part 1 covers the transition period that lead me to leave for Guatemala with Patch Adams.
  • Part 2 is deciding for Guatemala and the annual AATH Conference in Indiana
  • Part 3 is how my experience in Guatemala turned my life around
  • Part 4 is on Citizen Clown in Montréal and my upcoming trip to India

I will conclude this 4 part series with my Oath to you, wishing to inspire more love and growth for all Humanity.

It’s time to move on!

Last spring 2013, I decided to move on from an excellent art teacher position I held for close to twenty years. I am a well respected artist, expert in my field and was all around content with my life, wife and daughter. Still, I felt I could contribute at work my utmost best only 5% of the time. That wasn’t good enough. Then, my father passed away. It changed everything. How could I just go on cruising along in life, my foot off the pedal, accelerating only 5% of the time? Did you ever get that feeling? That was my tipping point, what would yours be? So I dared! I made the jump to go where my heart was, I launched a new career in public speaking. Over the years, I had been singing and giving workshops on the Arts and Music. The participants loved my passionate presentations, full of humor and improvisations. Always desiring to improve my workshops, I decided to invest into more humor; so I became a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader and enrolled in a Clown class. What I didn’t know then was that my life was about to forever change!

My first Clown was an1900 golfer type, form which my love of plaid!

My first Clown was a 1900’s type golfer, from which comes my present love of plaid!

Clown school wasn’t easy! I had my struggles and moments when tears came to my eyes. I didn’t give up. I figured that if I was going to fail, I would go out in flying colors having given it my all. On the last day of class, suddenly, I got it, I trusted the process. I let go and let it happen. Happy and relieved, I was overjoyed! A Clown was born! Here you see my first clown costume, a 1900’s Golfer, surrounded by my new clown friends.

Toronto here I come!

Come November I went to the first Canadian Laughter Yoga Conference in Toronto. My Inner Clown was still nascent, so I went as another persona; Guy the Shantyman of Les Chants Marins de Montréal. Shanties are amazingly happy and engaging sailor songs; I had started a small group of singers in Montréal. During the Conference I had my Chants Marins t-shirt and cap all the time, and even competed in my first Laughter Championships as Captain Guy. That was amazing fun!

Captain Guy competing in the First Canadian Laughter Championships

Captain Guy competing in the First Canadian Laughter Championships

At the Conference I had the pleasure of meeting the founder of Laughter Yoga; Dr Madan Kataria and his beautiful wife Madura. They are wonderfully warm people, like everyone I met at the workshops. As with the many new friendships I was making at the Laughter Clubs in Montréal, the more I got involved in the world of laughter the more I felt like I was coming home. As days went by I felt more and more like Baron Münchhausen. I had pulled myself by the seat of my pants out of my old content life and dropped myself into a new one, full of positive, vibrant and happy people! Welcome Home Guy!

All my wonderful amazing friend at the Laughter Yoga Conference! Can you spot Captain Guy?

All my wonderful amazing friend at the Laughter Yoga Conference! Can you spot Captain Guy?

Patch Adams and Guatemala

The deeper I got into the Laughter World, the more trends I uncovered. There was the Katarian style, then Corinne Cosserron’s École Internationale du Rire, Steve Wilson’s World laughter Tour and Sébastien Gendry’s American School of Laughter Yoga, Laughtersize, Rigologie, Laughology, etc. Confusion abounded so I decided to write a book on these different variants, to be titled ”How laughter transforms lives”. This blog Citizen Clown is the first step towards accomplishing this goal! I will talk more about this in the third part of this series. Needless to say I had to talk about Patch Adams in my book! I knew about him from the Robin Williams’ movie and his mission was always very close to my heart. With the magic of YouTube I saw many interviews where he invites you to write him letters. He answers all his correspondence he says. So I did! In Part 2 I’ll recount how my family reacted when I told them I was going on a Humanitarian Mission as a Clown in Guatemala! How my life changed, how my heart opened up, and much much more!

Thank you for sharing in this part of my journey!

”May the Farce be with all of us!”

signature       I invite you to follow all my Amazing Adventures by subscribing to this blog, and please join my Facebook page: The Amazing Adventures of Citizen Clown Fanpage.  Share with your friends and on your Facebook page, this is greatly appreciated! Love xxx

10 – A Clown shall show you the way!

A Clown shall show you the way!

Are you doing Fate’s work?

Did you ever feel that you were doing Fate’s work? Or that something much bigger was at hand? Well I think our two new Citizen Clowns Astrid and Chloé would agree to this! Have you ever seen such beautiful smiles?

Citizen Clown Astrid and Citizen Clown Chloé

Wonderful Citizen Clown Astrid and Citizen Clown Chloé

As I met Astrid and Chloé, they had just landed in Montréal from Bretagne, France, and were out exploring the ins and out of this beautiful city. They explained that they were here just for one year, and that they were looking for some work in tourism or restaurants, with a ”let’s just see what happens” attitude.  They were young, happy, alive, energetic and positive, and sharp dressers too. They are bound to succeed! And then Fate suddenly sends along Citizen Clown with a couple of red noses!

Citizen Fate

We met on St-Denis street. It was such an amazing beautiful sunny and warm day! Finally we saw blue skies after three days of grey and lots of downpours! My family couldn’t wait to go outside and play. It was Father’s day after all, so we started the day early with a game of badminton. Lovely! After lunch we sat down and revised our Roumanian songs; we had Choir rehearsal later that evening. You see, we have a recital coming Sunday June 22nd, so the pressure is on.

After the rehearsal, my little family and our friend Gina were walking downtown to make the best of the warm weather. And there they were! The two soon-to-be-crowned-Citizen-Clowns studying intently their street map. Their wandering fingers were going back and forth as the map was turning left and right, up and down, folding this and that way. This was the best invitation to offer my services as Citizen Clown or just old plain Guy. I’ve always loved helping people. I have great memories of being helped when I was travelling through Europe. I love paying it forward.

Studying in Amsterdam

So how can Fate shape your life?  My own story is hard to believe! Twenty-five years ago I decided to do a Visual Arts’ Masters Degree in The Netherlands. After having done all the paperwork I set out to study Dutch even thought I wasn’t yet accepted at the academy. That’s how strong my desire was! As luck would have it my teacher turned out to be the father of one of my best friends at university. But this is hardly how Fate intervened. What happened a few months later was a build up of coincidences after coincidences, in a span of a just a few days, that literaly turned my life around. Fate at it’s best!

Fate #1 : On one particular morning I woke up at my girlfriend’s place. It was the weekend and we had no set plans. She read  in the papers about an opening of a Dutch exhibition in a museum. It was that exact afternoon! I was uncomfortably shy but figured I should still go, so off I went. Fate #2 : The night before I had come directly from work (I worked at an art supply store) so I had along with me a plastic bag printed with the Talens paints logo, which is a Dutch company. Fate #3 : Being an extremely introverted person I didn’t talk or introduced myself to anyone and just walked around. That is, until one person saw my Talens bag and said something in Dutch, to which I answered: ”Ya, een Talens zaak”. He looked at me, wide eyed and surprised that I had just spoken Dutch! We started to talk. Fate #4 : The conversation led from one thing to another. Of course Emo (that’s his name) was curious why of all languages would I be learning Dutch? So I told him of my plans to study at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. And would you have guessed it? He said: ” What a coincidence! This is where I teach!”

Now that’s already a lot to take in, and there is still more. Fate #5 : As the opening was winding down the artists were planning to go for food and drinks. Emo kindly invited me to tag along by giving me the meeting point.  By now you know that I wasn’t socially at ease with people, let alone having a beer with them, so I guess I answered something like, ”Well, I’ll see if I can….” Needless to say I just took my bicycle, rode as fast as possible, and went to have a hotdog alone by myself…. being frugal and always worried about money. I just felt very insecure about the whole thing, I don’t think I tasted anything of that hotdog. I was still debating all my contradictory feelings… ”should I? How dare I? How could I?’‘…. you get the point. Fate #6 : So there and then I decided ”Dang it!” I went to the bank machine, got some money and finally joined them!

Fate #7 : It was quite enjoyable as we talked. Emo introduced me to the other artists, many of which were also teachers at the academy. I was overwhelmed and getting drunk, which is how somehow we agreed that he would come see my artworks at the Bonsecour ceramic center. You see that one summer, as Fate #8 would have it, I had received a grant for a two month work period in that school, so I had access to a clean and professional workspace. I brought some of my drawings, taped them to the wall, and had a wonderful and lively discussion with my new friend Emo. A few months later I received my letter of acceptance, and from then on my life has never been the same. A page had turned, a very old, heavy chapter was finished, and a new one, full of hope and blank pages was opening to me.

Citizen Clown Astrid and Citizen Clown Chloé

You see, what Fate offered me actually came out of nowhere. It just happened, and luckily enough I was ready to embrace it. I still had to challenge myself to take action by daring to change! And as much as important was letting go of the past and move forward into the unknown. Astrid and Chloé didn’t plan to meet me, and they weren’t looking to meet anyone either. They were just minding their selves when our paths crossed! Fate loves to do that! We told them we had some great contacts in restaurants and tourism, and all they needed to do is to contact us. It is our greatest pleasure to help and share!

We are family bounded by Citizen Clown!

We are family bounded by Citizen Clown love!

Life is not made up of what you decide or control; it is not mind over matter. Fate is listening to the strong, unexpected moments of life. It may enter your life as a whisper, or tear down walls in a blink of an eye, but It will bring you what you need. Just look at this amazing picture! How many years these people know each other? Well actually, barely five minutes! This is the power of Citizen clown! And the power of Fate! How blessed can we be!

Thank you for sharing in this part of my journey!

”May the Farce be with all of us!”

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I invite you to follow all my Amazing Adventures by subscribing to this blog, and please join my Facebook page: The Amazing Adventures of Citizen Clown Fanpage.  Share with your friends and on your Facebook page, this is greatly appreciated!

Love xxx

 

 

 

 

 

9 – Life is an adventure

Life is an adventure

You never know where you’re going to end up if you don’t let go of your past.

In Guatemala, on the first morning of going Clowning, we got into a circle and Patch asked us how we felt. I told him I was anxious, I didn’t know what was going to happen next. Here I was with a group of strangers, clowns becoming new friends, daring to be here, my true self, and I felt anxious. ‘‘Why Guy? Why are you anxious?’‘ Patch asked. ”Because I’m scared of the unknown….” I answered. ”In the past the unknown always meant danger”. Patch replied : ”Well, I find the unknown exciting! It brings me joy, it brings me energy!” That hit me! How can the unknown mean such a different thing to another person?

As we got onto the bus my chest was getting tighter and tighter, while at the same time filling with joy. As we started on the road and sang campfire songs such as ”You are my sunshine”, I started to get overwhelmed with memories from the past, of the last time I went to a summer camp and the horrors I lived there. My eyes filled up with tears : ‘‘How is it possible that I am now on a bus full of love and care and happiness, while the last time it was such a nightmare…” I asked myself? So I let go! Emily, sitting next to me held my hand as I shared my story with her. I felt being reborn in the here and now. I felt peace and relief come over me. It was over! I am safe now! Safe with my new friends and family. My family of Clowns!

Father’s day

Swinging Citizen Clown and Clownita
Swinging Citizen Clown and Clownita

So on this wonderful day, Father’s day, I wish all the father’s of the world, and all the women, children and grandchildren who love them, the gift of freedom from the past. Letting go of my past opened up my heart to myself, to spread love in my families, and to send it all around the globe as Guy the Citizen Clown.

We love you all!
Happy Father’s day! We love you all this big!!!

Long live the present, it’s all about love!

Thank you for sharing in this part of my journey!

”May the Farce be with all of us!”

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I invite you to follow all my Amazing Adventures by subscribing to this blog, and please join my Facebook page: The Amazing Adventures of Citizen Clown Fanpage.  Share with your friends and on your Facebook page, this is greatly appreciated! Love xxx