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.

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!

Guy Giard Patch Adams

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….

I believe that now that you hold the key, you can transform that “Pull” into a ‘Push’ and choose your life over your story. I believe in you!

Start the conversation by writing your thoughts in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section below!

Guy Giard

If telling my story can offer a beacon of hope to those who are locked away behind dark walls of protection, then I feel I have started to accomplish my task.   

Guy  Giard is a speaker and the author of the upcoming book ‘LOVE’s healing journey’ How to Triumph over life’s adversities

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Dr “Patch” Adams writes about Guy Giard: “I truly feel his passion to live radiant, using clowning as a tool to help midwife a loving world. To hear of his own transformation to being a loving soul will inspire others to try it on.

 Sign up today for the Pre-Launch Newsletter by following this link and be the first to receive special reductions and excerpts from the book!

Read the Joy to the world next Chapters:

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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.

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!
Start the conversation by writing your thoughts in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section below!

Guy Giard

If telling my story can offer a beacon of hope to those who are locked away behind dark walls of protection, then I feel I have started to accomplish my task.   

Guy  Giard is a speaker and the author of the upcoming book ‘LOVE’s healing journey’ How to Triumph over life’s adversities

fbc348d0

Dr “Patch” Adams writes about Guy Giard: “I truly feel his passion to live radiant, using clowning as a tool to help midwife a loving world. To hear of his own transformation to being a loving soul will inspire others to try it on.

 Sign up today for the Pre-Launch Newsletter by following this link and be the first to receive special reductions and excerpts from the book!

Read the Joy to the world next Chapters:

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

 

8 – A Book for Change


A Book for Change

I’m happy to announce today that our growing community of Citizen Clowns is now enriched with two new amazing members! Citizen Clown Dominic and Citizen Clown Tamera! We are also visiting one of the most scrumptious bakeries in Montréal: Rustique

Citizen Clown Dominic

I met Dominic at a warehouse in St-Henri. It was early morning, blue skies and warm weather, a beautiful summer day as can be. The warehouse was huge, and after getting lost a few times we were able to retrieve my ceramic sculpture. Dominic had been storing it since our last exhibition together a couple of years ago.

Citizen Clown Dominic!

Citizen Clown Dominic!

Dominic and I have been friends for about 35 years now. Our friendship has been following the great sine wave curve, I guess like all real long term relationships. Over three decades we sang and composed music together, drank beer, coffee, and had long discussions about women, art and life. I slept on his couch in London, England. We might have crossed paths in Paris and Amsterdam. I was at his wedding, and his wife’s family is as dear to me and always felt like my second family.

Would you like some change with your cake?

Dominic has an amazing career as an artist and as a scholar. He is helping to establish the history and study of caricature in Quebec, and he’s also the father of two young wonderful women. After catching up with each others families, we started to talk about our futures. Transitions and changes were our common themes. How can we plan a change? And most important of all, how can we make room for changes?

Since my late teens I’ve been reading and writing about the changing process. There is no shorthand way to go about it. I find some of the best images are either the Spiral: an ever ending process of going deeper and deeper on the same path; the Onion: peeling layers after layers always to find more layers; and the Sawtooth Wave : changes happening in disconnected burst. One way or the other, the transitions can sometimes be painful, and sometimes they can be as smooth as silk. Either way, they are necessary and always results in growth.

Citizen Clown Tamera

Rustique is a small bakery located in St-Henri, Montréal’s Sud Ouest neighborhood. The fragrance of real ingredients and love of the arts welcomes you as you enter the shop. There are only 3 small tables, which confirms that the main attraction here are the cakes and pies. Tamera was sitting at a table next to us chatting away with one of her friends. As I asked her to take our picture she answered yes with such a radiant smile that I had to ask her to also don a nose. She was overjoyed! She then proceeded to tell us, much to our surprise, that she was one of the founders of this wonderful haven.

Citizen Clown Tamara

Citizen Clown Tamara

Now I’m sure Tamera has had her fair share of changes. In itself starting up a business is bound to bring it’s moments of unexpected events, and I imagine that by having multiple partners this brings about even more opportunities for reevaluation and readjustments.

Change and Humor

When you are going either through the Spiral, the Onion or the Sawtooth Wave changes, humor is one of the best balms to take care of your feelings. Change is an ongoing process, but we tend to identify with the change itself. We often forget to distance ourselves as we get bogged down in a quagmire of emotions of past events meeting future hopes. Laughing at yourself is actually one of the best practices from Dr Kataria’s Laughter Yoga foundation exercises. Laughter opens you up to new perspectives, solutions and ideas.

This process of change will be explored more in depth in a chapter of my upcoming book ‘How laughter transform lives’. I am looking forward to share all of it with you. I am more than blessed to have all of you today in my journey, along in this Amazing Adventures of Citizen Clown Blog, and with me as I went Care Clown In Guatemala, and soon in India!

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

7- Be your own Clown !

Be your own Clown!

Summer is here, and it’s been 3 months to the day that I’ve been back from Guatemala with Patch Adams.  I am a different person, as everyone who has lived this experience warned me: ‘Your life is going to change” and it did! My life changed Wednesday March 5th when I met Yorbely at the Valley of the Angels orphanage.

 Yorbely at the Valley of the Angels orphanage

Yorbely at the Valley of the Angels orphanage

Yorbely taught me how to accept my feelings and be vulnerable. She was as wonderful and spunky as my own little girl, Aïyana, except that for her, going home, meant going to the dormitory. My heart sank as the bus pulled away and we waved our last goodbyes,  tears in our eyes. I hope to meet her next year when we go back clowning with my family.

Be yourself!

Did you ever feel lost? Since my return I’ve had to question many of my old ways, as well as try to integrate my new feelings and experiences. One thing was now definite, I am a Clown… a Humanitarian Clown… but what does it mean on a day to day basis?

I had a lot of doubts and questions… at first, I couldn’t leave my Guatemalan clothes, and then one day I tried on my usual way of dressing. I did the typical before and after pick:

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Before and after Guatemala

I just couldn’t do it! Nope! I couldn’t revert to my old ways. For my family I was away for 10 days. It actually felt like 6 months, and now it feels worlds away…. but it was just three months ago.!!! I mean, Christmas feels like, just back then, not such a while ago, but Guatemala,.. a trip to the moon couldn’t be further away! Thank God for Facebook friends and my AATH family! This way I know it wasn’t just a dream!

Summer time

So I became Citizen Clown and started to Clown people with a red nose and a photo! Those meetings have been wonderful, and now that I have the stickers I can leave them with even more than a smile. I love it!

Summer is now getting hot, so how shall I my Clown self ? A baseball cap just doesn’t fit! So I set out to find a hat. Sylvester McCoy was part of my inspiration. Who? Yes, rightly so, the Seventh Doctor! And then, my sweet little daughter who was pestering me about getting a haircut, asked me again so I finally answered: ”Yeah, sure, you do it!” Enjoy her performance as my stylist in this little ‘clip’ (pun intended!) with some great music:

The no nose knows!

As she was cutting away I suddenly realised I could have had my nose on! Actually Benny Hill and other famous Clowns didn’t have any on. I knew I wasn’t a make-up Clown, nor a Show Clown. The nose helped me get my inner Clown out. Today as I introduce Citizen Clown to the world, I feel the nose is an after the fact artifact. I wear the clothes, and now a hat. I smile, and most importantly I love people. This is who I am and what my clowning is about, loving people, sending them humor and happiness!

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The no nose Citizen Clown loves you!

As I walk the streets, I can now tip my new hat to all who smiles towards me! I can approach them and give them smiley stickers, I can Clown them and add their beautiful joy to the growing community of Citizen Clowns!

I now know that the Clown comes from inside. All that you have to do is be your clown!

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

6 – Let your Inner Clown shine out!

Let your Inner Clown shine out!

Summer is here! How are you enjoying yourself? I’m happy that more and more people find my blog interesting and entertaining! I have some great photos coming up.

I’ve actually given a new definition to Clowning; I’m using it as a verb when I approach people and ask them: ‘May I Clown you? And with a big smile, sometimes awkward, most agree!

May I present to you Citizen Clown Frank!

I met Frank in the elevator. A very tall young man, skateboard in hand, he was just coming out of a meeting with his doctor. Was it a chiropractor? It was something physical… You see Frank is a professional wrestler, and he had a few knots and twists to iron out. My first reaction was asking him if he had a stage name, as I grew up watching all those costumed muscular avengers in the ring…. no, no he answered, not that kind of wrestler! An olympic wrestler he grinned!!! Of course silly me!

Citizen Clown Frank

Citizen Clown Frank

When I told him that I did Greek style wrestling back in college 40 years ago his eyes widened and he blurted incredulously: ‘What age are you?’  Hi hi hi, laughter does keep you young!!!

While originally from Russia (I never got his full name!) Frank had a good mastery of french. He is a very kind person.

Well Citizen Clown Frank, you gave me a big smile, and I wish you lots of success in your wrestling carreer!!!

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

1 – Becoming a Clown

To all of my friends and soon to be friends, I bid you welcome!

It is such an honor to share with you my Amazing Adventures! In the coming weeks and months you will be discovering my journey as I Clown around Montréal, and beyond through the Internet. These are my stories of love, humour, vulnerability, kindness and caring. A lot of fun is going to happen, mixed with philosophy and pushing my boundaries beyond my comfort zone. I hope to inspire you to take risks, to laugh along with me and to discover how much love and caring is within all our reach. Let me say these three kind words : ”I love you”, that I am here for you, and as they say, we are all in this together. So who am I ?

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Guy 1 Guy 2 Guy 3 Guy 4, all for you!

My name is Guy Giard and I was born and raised in Montréal, Québec, Canada. Like any good cheese or fine wine and chocolate, patience and time will make you discover my journey. As I am nearing my 55th birthday my life is quite a novel made of many chapters. There are Guy the artist with more than 30 years of art making, including many noteworthy exhibitions, Guy the teacher, Guy the musician, Guy Les Chants Marins de Montréal, Guy the lecturer, Guy the healthnut with my Guy The Healthy Paleo Guy blog about nutrition and exercises, and Guy the Humanitarian Clown. Presently back in Montréal I give to you Guy the Citizen Clown (in homage to one of the greatest movies of all time).

You can always visit some of my websites to explore any of the Guys above: www.guygiard.com, my YouTube Channel, my Guy The Healthy Paleo Guy blog. You can also subscribe to this blog, and join my Facebook The Amazing Adventures of Citizen Clown Fanpage.

Thank you

This blog wouldn’t have seen the light of day without the loving hearts and encouragement of many Midwives. Without any specific order, (and you will discover more about them in the coming weeks), I’d like to thank all my AATH family, especially Mary Kay, Barbara, Lenny, a priest named Paul, Harald and too many others to name here. Just watch the 2014 Conference video to get a feeling of what I’m talking about. There are all the positive vibes of the participants at the 2013 Canada Laughter Yoga Conference, Duncan and Linda you are Amazing!!!! There is Linda and Liliana de Leo who was my teacher when I became a Laughter Yoga Leader. Francine Côté et Geneviève at the amazing École de Clown et Comédie where I met among others Marie-Hélene. There are my friends at the Montreal Laughter League and at the Club de rire de Montréal. I also have to thank the support and positivity of Douglas and Monika at YES Montreal; I don’t know where I would be without them!

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Some of my brother and sister Clowns family in Guatemala

A new chapter opened last March 2014 when I lived my first Humanitarian Clown mission with Patch Adams in Guatemala. There are the 6000 amazing loving Doctor Clowns of Fabrica de Sonrisas that welcomed us, Posada Belen our home away from home, and my new family of Clowns: Rob, Christy, Emily, DeeDee, Lori, Margaret, Carmen, Pamela, Chappo, Pedro, Ash, Sara, Jerry, Judy, Judith, Simon and Artus; and of course there is Yorbely, which you’ll read more about later…

I’ve been blessed with the support of more than 50 people who have donated funds to help me get to the families and childrens in Guatemala; most notably Josée, Barbara, Maia, Harald, Tracey, Naum, Julia, Linda, Dominique, and Dre Cyr and her team. A very special heartfelt thanks also to Deirdre, Louise and Piera.

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Look into my eyes…. Love

Lastly, there are all the dreamers, revolutionaries and anarchist who believe that not only we can think outside of the box, we can also live there too. So Patch, you dream is a reality for me and for so many others, like Tim, Steve and Guillaume, and words can never express enough how lives are transformed through your gift and inspiration.

So I’m offering you to laugh, cry, and explore this beautifull world together! I invite you to follow my Adventures by subscribing to this blog, and joining my Facebook Fanpage: The Amazing Adventures of Citizen Clown Fanpage.

”May the Farce be with all of us!”

Love   xxx   Guy the Citizen Clown

5 – Bullying – Intimidation at work or at school

Bullying – Intimidation at work or at school

Yesterday my wife, who is president of the OPP (Parents Participation Organisation at our daughter’s school), asked me to do the opening presentation for a play by Piperni Spectacles on bullying. (Actually she is also her work’s Union’s President… Hmmm… I sense a trend here!) Since besides being Citizen Clown I am also a professional speaker, I happily agreed and proceeded accordingly.

In my pockets were two foam nose and my Ipod for taking pictures, as my primary objective is always to spread humor as much as possible! I should have brought my camera though…  Lesson #1 Bring a camera, Check!

Piperni Spectacles

So I went on the internet and did some research on the Piperni theater company,  I was very impressed! Remember what I wrote on my Becoming a Clown post? Well I feel Mr Piperni is one the dreamers who believes that not only we can think outside of the box, we can also live there too. For the last 23 years he has done amazing work creating plays on social issues for schools, associations and corporations, educating the masses as well as the bosses. I was honored to meet him.

My dear friend Citizen Clown Piperni!

My dear friend Citizen Clown Piperni!

When I entered the school auditorium I also had the pleasure to encounter one of my new facebook friend which I hadn’t met yet. I love Facebook for this! Smiling Violaine was very appreciative of my clowning in Guatemala. Being a fellow Montréal Sud-Ouest resident she was more than enthusiastic to share her thoughts with me. Later the school’s Principal Mr Neveu officially presented her to me as Madame Cousineau, Commissaire CSDM and representative of our neighborhood’s local committee! I had just met her simply as Violaine. That’s the way I am.

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All smiles Citizen Clown Violaine!

Madame Cousineau, or Violaine, proposed with a twinkle in her eyes that I put on my nose during my introduction…. I hadn’t planned on this as I felt it would distract from the main focus of the event, bullying, so I wasn’t inclined to do it. And yet, on the spur of the moment I did put it on very shortly. It felt like the right thing to do! Sorry Violaine, you were right! Lesson #2 Listen to what the people want. Check!

From being hurt to loving all around.

As the light went down and the audience applauded, I came up to present the OPP and the play. The auditorium was filled with attentive moms and dads and their sons and daughters. I was touched by their presence. We had a very appreciative crowd.

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Citizen Clown is now on stage!

As I started to get into the importance of understanding what bullying is, I suddenly remembered how much I was bullyed when I was in school. Not that I had forgotten, but I never gave it a second thought. It just was what it was, until now! I was now faced with a choice: talking about it or not? To inspire people that you can grow out of it, as I became a loving clown after all those aches and pains? Or should I avoid the whole thing? Well, what do you think happened next? I put my red nose on and shared that as a child I was bullyed and that today I am a clown, and that you also can get out of it! I didn’t want the presentation to be about me so I kept it very short and it felt a bit awkward; but now as I think of it, I could have given more details, showing how hurtful and damaging bullying can be. Lesson #3 Follow the moment. Check!

I remember bullying!

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Once a Clown always a Clown….

Yes, bullying, I remember the anguish, even the panic attacks I later had on University campus. I never felt any good with any crowd, or enclosed space. My five years of college where hellish as I became the butt of everyone’s joke. Not only of my classmates but, at some point, the whole school. I remember crying at my mother’s bedside that I didn’t want to go to school the next morning. Spitballs, being shoved around and cornered, nicknames and verbal insults… no wonder gym and swimming classes were my worst nightmares.

On one occasion as I asked for help at the Principal’s office, I was told to ”man up and defend myself’‘. I did! One time I cornered one of my worst offenders in the staircase, and out of nowhere suddenly came my voice and my strength as I held him against the wall. He was scared! Success! But then, I apologized for my use of force and told him that it wasn’t even my idea. Well that basically undid what just happened… I learned there and then that honesty isn’t the best policy!

So how did it stop? Well, in my last year of college, I started to smoke and play cards. I distanced myself from the few friends I had and started to hang out with the smokers. We were cool, and sadly, it actually worked. I was less and less hassled and became a social smoker. I couldn’t handle any crowd without a ciggy in my hands. Luckily weed made me so dizzy I would puke right away, so beer became my only escapist drug. This is also when I started to hang out in coffee shops, writing and smoking until the wee hours of the morning. To this day, forty years later, my journal is still my best friend.

Tears of a Humanitarian Clown

Wow! I had forgotten all those feelings and stories. As I said to my loving Clown family in Guatemala, I’ve been to hell and back. I guess that was the unexpected part of my mission, to heal my fears of crowds and friendships. Those stories are yet for other posts in the coming months.

Friedrich Nietzsche is the man behind the quote ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger‘. All these hurt feelings are my strengths today. When I see someone’s behavior I am always aware of the hurt that might have brought it forward. When I feel someone’s pain or confusion, I use my compassion and empathy, not from my mind, but from my scars. I know where they’re coming from, and hope I can bring them back, hand in hand, in our joyous reality.

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

4 – Should I or shouldn’t I?

Should I or shouldn’t I?

Oh, oh, oh this is no laughing matter!!!

Oh, Oh, Oh this is no laughing matter!!!

Can you feel it? Can you taste it?

Would you like a bite? A piece? Or the whole thing? Let me tell you something, my wife and I don’t drink coffee, don’t smoke, barely touch alcohol, but pastries… We are always open for some quality pâtisseries. And what better occasion to spread humor while sitting by the window of Goplana’s Polish bakery! Follow this blog and you’ll get to know some of the finest pâtissier in Montréal.

You really want this close-up!!!

You really wanted this close-up!!!

But first let’s meet Robert!

I have 2 wonderful stories to share with you, but first let me introduce to you Citizen Clown Robert: Robert was our host this tuesday afternoon. Normally my beautifull wife Tania would be at work at this time of day, luckily she had a few vacation days so we ended up playing hooky together while our daughter was at school. Walking hand in hand after 15 years of marriage we spoiled ourselves in our favorite pastime, pastries. You see she’s from Paris, so she knows one thing or two about patés, baguettes and pastries. But this was supposed to be about Robert!

Citizen Clown Robert

Meet our new friend Citizen Clown Robert

Robert (I like to pronounce it French with a nice rolling RR and no T… Roberrrr) is a very nice gentle man who has been living here for the last 10 years, doing this and that and many other things. Having lived in Paris after being born in Poland he finds that Montréal, albeit a nice and wonderfull city, lacks a bit of the flair and culture of Gai Paris. Well having also lived in Paris I can understand what he’s talking about, and I did bring back with my wife a piece of the City of Lights (as well as St-Denis, 93, and Sénégal) with me!

The shop was quiet as to be expected on a tuesday afternoon, until school ended and the students came for their late afternoon Pączki. A big black African mama sitting next to us in her wonderfull typical traditionnal dress was the only decoration in the café, which in itself was quite a striking mixture of flashy orange and white. The line of Polish jams and cookies were the only few ornate elements. Of course the showcases of fine pastries and sausages were the main attractions. Mama was playing with her cellphone as we were drinking our raspberry tea and sharing our amazing Choux à la Crème. Our second story is now set to take place…

Little mister pout!

What does it take to be a clown? Depends whom you ask…. According to Patch Adams anyone and everyone can be a clown, all you need is an open heart… But according to some Doctor Clown you must be able to show your credentails… and then there’s How dare you? and Who are you? the TWIN brothers of the CAN’T family…

So walks in this Indian family… little boy, mom and grand maman and they seem to be in a family discussion of some sorts. Little boy doesn’t seem to be very happy. I do not follow what they are saying as I don’t want to invade their privacy… He lays his head down on the table, not a peep, and it just feels heavy for everyone present. Eventually they put on their jackets as they get ready to leave, and the young boy is definitively unhappy and not moving. I feel it is not an argument, but just an uneasy situation for the whole family.

When the young man does eventually get up to go with his parents, I had already taken a foam nose out of my pocket and was showing it to mom, silently asking her if i could give it to him. She gave a big smile and nodded yes, so I touched the boy’s shoulder, and as he turned around I offered him the nose. He was all smiles, and so were the moms. Suddendly the whole heavyness liftness, and they waved goodbye through the window as they were walking up the street, all full of smiles, and a skip in the young boy’s steps!

Fit for a Citizen Clown!

Fit for a Citizen Clown!

Should I or shouldn’t I?

I am learning, this is all new to me. I actually didn’t say a word to the kid, as in Guatemala! I didn’t even have my nose on. It just happened. Had I received my stickers maybe I would have offered some to the moms. I could have asked them if I could take a picture with them, to share the memory, with them, with you…. Should or shouldn’t I? What I am learning is to respect myself as I am today in my Citizen Clown journey… Other Clowns might have felt comfortable doing more, and others wouldn’t have gotten a nose out of their pockets.

Nose Job

What I am learning, what I am sharing with you is that there is no right way or wrong way to do this. Since Guatemala I am an undercover Clown. I make people smile daily with the way I dress.. I am always one nose away from being a clown…. Now if could only find the right hat…baseball caps just don’t fit my style!!! hihihihihi

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My beautifull wife with her Nose job!

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