16 – A Tale From India
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!