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  Giard

PS: Your thoughts and feedback are very extremely precious for me. Thanks you for writing them in the ‘Leave a reply’ section below.  Thank You!  ❤ 🙂 

 

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.

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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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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.

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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!

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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

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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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Love xxx