9 Dec Clowning in Auckland
I woke up and organised my clown gear. I am heading off to clown at Eltea Square in Auckland. I will meet Vivienne there. I get a phone call from Edna who was orginally going to host me, she is going to try and see me at the square.
So I get my gear together and head for the bus stop. My cold is still subtly there but I am pretty good on the whole. I sit at the bus stop next to a Maori guy. He has a soft face. I sit and discuss how lovely the weather is here. I tell him I have been travelling the world. He is a quiet guy but I feel his interest. I told him I followed my dreams and had no problems on my world trip. I said it is important to follow your heart. I asked him about his work, he is not enjoying work. We talked about how there were expectations that you must work, get a mortgage and then you have to work. I told him I was 36 when I found what I wanted. He said he hadn’t. I said just notice what you desire and head in that direction, do what you love. I could see he felt moved. He introduced himself to me and shook my hand. Then we jumped on the bus and he sat behind me. I told him there are no limits in life you can be what you want. Some may argue that is not true, but I do feel the unlimited possibilities that exist. With just a thought we change our lives, our thinking is that powerful. Who is to say you can’t do something, just give it a go, follow the feeling and allow life to bring you what you desire. I do that, that is how the money came to me for the world trip. Very interesting.
Anyway got to Eltea Square and jumped off the bus. I went over and saw Vivienne. She is a sweet and sunny person. I invited her for coffee before I got dressed. She told me that she did an interesting thing. If there are signs saying don’t do this or that, can’t quite remember the example she gave, if she is approached she says she can’t speak English. I looked at her and smiled inwardly. She and I talked about spiritual matters and she indicated what was important was to lift the vibration of humanity through actions of peace. You have to be strong enough to stand in your truth even in the face of opposition.
She went on and told me of books that had changed her life. She shared with me an incident where a young person was very rude to her at the exhibition and she then explained to the person the cost of the exhibition $300,000 I think, and went on to say that all were welcome. She said in her mind she recalled she was practicing peace even though he had been rude. I liked hearing that as I am also practicing, it is hard work to remain in peace, some people are extremely testing.
The man I am staying with holds attitudes that would be viewed as racist and most of his comments are put downs of others. I find myself asserting my beliefs as I find him incredible. Yet I have to find a space of love and acceptance for him, this is the work of peace, accepting diversity in all its forms. He believes his thoughts and that doesn’t make him less worthy, it just makes him a person believing the negative, if I look with discernment rather than judgement.
I go to the toilet and get dressed into my clown gear. It has been a month since I clowned so I am feeling happy. I had to laugh as I launched out of there smiling and waving at people. I went up to a guy on the step and just said for no reason ‘sometimes the world doesn’t treat you well’. I did sense his state of being, however his reaction I didn’t expect. He got angry. I heard a yell from behind me as I skipped off. He threw a bottle and said ‘fuck off’. I just mimed crying. I did nothing and kept on. He eventually left, but later I wondered if he was on drugs, a mental illness and thought perhaps I should use different language next time. It also made me aware of social problems. I find in men particularly, unhappiness.
Anyway, a bunch of kids spotted me and started to interact, I started joking with them and took a photo of the group, I got them to say a popular New Zealand word. I hugged them and played around and they were happy. Then their teacher came and took them back to school I’d say. Vivienne was suprised at how bright I looked. I told her about the guy and said it is very rare for that to happen.
Anyway, I headed to the exhibition with her in tow. She had my camera which switches to video and camera. I asked her to take photos and film. So I went up to a guy in dark glasses and asked him what he thought about the environment. I said what do you think of the exhibition, he said it was very good. I asked him if he believed in global warming and he stated he did. He was from France he told me. I then proposed at the end of the interview to imagine he was the Prime Minister of New Zealand, what would be the first thing he would do to ensure sustainability and peace. He had trouble thinking of ideas. Eventually he came up with cleaning the water. I praised him for his idea. I thanked him for his time, gave him a hug and skipped off to the next couple of guys. I asked them where they were from, they said Auckland. I said what do you think about the exhibition, they said good. What do you think can be done they said they didn’t know. I joked with them and got them laughing and asked again, but they really had difficulty answering. I had tried to film them but they were too shy, and I wondered about people having a voice, when they don’t feel confident.
I then wandered to the children playing on the giant world map. I said don’t step all over Australia, or look you are standing on New Zealand, I had a big grin, they laughed. They were very interested in what was in my clown bag. I pulled out my juggling balls and did some juggling. I also brought out my frog that has a tongue that curls out and squeaks. Some boys came and we did a ball game with my juggling balls. I asked kids jokingly how are you going to save the planet? Many said they didn’t know, some said green cars, but they really were unsure. Vivienne said to me earlier they seem to know how to answer the peace question which related to each other, that is how to cooperate etc. I did find that when I interviewed kids many had no idea, those who did were able to articulate a different view of peace such as loving family, friendship, doing what you love. So a few ideas, mostly I find in adults and children have little idea of what to do. That actually confirms what Kevin Rudd said in the BBC forum (former Australian PM), he said the people don’t understand, I think he is right.
So I spent the time chasing kids, playing, connecting, questioning and generally enjoying myself. I saw a kid with a skateboard and had a go. I knew they were surprised when I tic tacked the board and still have good balance. I rolled into a crowd of people laughing at me. One gentleman asked if I can juggle at the same time, I said yes, no problem. I did. I gave the kid back his board. Older boys came up and wanted to have a go at juggling. I really love that as I am able to connect with all ages. It helps me learn about them as well and feel friendship rather than an adult status, I am not into power, I like equality.
Anyway, a lady comes up and smiles. It is Edna the lady I was to stay with and she had come and was watching me with the kids. I was touched she made the effort. I didn’t have much time as it was after 2.30pm and I was supposed to be waiting on the curb for Marie to pick me up to take me to a nursing home. I said a few words to Vivienne and had a hug. Then walked to the curb with Edna to have a quick chat and then Marie turned up to take me to the nursing home.
Apparently Marie had done a few laps but I noticed no negativity or annoyance, I found her a very peaceful person. We arrive at the nursing home and I go through a juggling routine and say jokes and interact with the older people. I told them about my world trip and my time with the kids today. They were a mixed of different care levels, some were mentally fine but physically incapacitated, others able to walk, some had dementia. So I try to engage everyone on the same level and interact randomly. So I go into the crowd and massage with my octopus massager, I have a ribbon that I twirl to make interesting patterns and also encourage people to play tug o war. I might throw a ball if I think people can catch, but I didn’t do that today as some may not be able to move their arms or their reactions may be slow. I just joked and brought my version of joy to them. Even when I touched the hand of the old lady with dimentia I can feel the joy in my heart for her. I really feel the respect and equality again. I see everyone as worthy.
One old lady decided I was a naughty clown and gave me a kick up the bum, I laughed at her, this is what I love about old age, they get cheeky. I said I am a naughty clown, it was funny having an old lady do that. Another one decided to dance with me in the middle of the room. We twirled around together and I could see the absolute happiness on her face. She was so thrilled to have me there she was hugging me and didn’t want to let me go. The staff were laughing as they know the residents and some were doing uncharacteristic stuff, I was told later. So it is nice to create that opportunity for people to experience each other and to laugh at me or themselves.
When I finished I was pretty tired but Marie wanted to go shopping. So in clown gear I went to a retail warehouse, people come up and hugged me, they then take photos, it seems so funny in a shop. Three ladies came up for that and said they were from Ethiopia. They were very beautiful and all smiles. An older guy was laughing at me and appreciating my presence bringing christmas cheer. I say hello to everyone and it is beautiful to experience a friendly and fun community. We then go into a Chinese $2 shop. The Chinese lady decided to take a photo and we chat, she tells me where she is from in China, I ask her what her T shirt means. A grandmother and her grandaughter turn up in the same aisle as me. I ask the grandmother if the grandaughter is treating her well, smiling at the grandaughter. She is very happy. We have a nice chat. I even tried on a top, first time I have been shopping as a clown. I laughed imagining if any kids saw me. Then as we walked out, two little Indian girls are being cheeky with me, they are all smiles and I come up and play with them, run around the car a few times then wave goodbye. They are waving and blowing kisses.
It was tiring, as a clown you cannot switch off until you get home. So I was feeling pretty exhausted. Then we came back for an hour and then went to the fishing club for drinks.
This is a working class type of sailing club. Many older blokes there and they are fairly blokey, they make sexist remarks about women, or sexualise their conversation, which I find a bit basic but in reality it is there world and they see differently to me. I met a few guys playing pokies, one looked pretty rough, the other was an older guy. I do try and see beyond how people project themselves, but it wasn’t really my scene. However, I just drank my wine and observed without judgement trying to imagine their lives.
Had an interesting discussion with one guy about fishing and drift netting. He said the fish stocks are declining. He said around New Zealand they tend to fish for Blue Finn Tuna or Yellow Finn Tuna and some other varieties. He said he throws them back, doesn’t just kill them. In the drift netting he said he saw, they net schools of fish, say some 50,000 fish in there, they set off dynamite to force the fish to rise up rather than go under the nets. They fish for anything and throw many dead fish back. He didn’t approve of the practice. He said Australian fishermen were better, apparently they go out to the Great Southern Ocean and they net the fish, send divers down to seal the nets or release sharks. They keep the fish alive, the Blue Finn tuna, then they came back to Australia, the boat going very slowly, the fish swim in the nets so they are fresh and alive on arrival. They then put them in pens back at port and they feed them up. Apparently one 48 kg fish is worth $50,000 per fish. The Japanese are the customers and they select the fish when they purchase, checking for weight, quality etc. so that affects the fishing practice and process.
I tried to determine if this man has a respect for fish. He had been in the sailing business since 15 years old. He said when he saw Marlin just about to eat fish, they would open their fins and they displayed a rainbow shimmer on their skin, he said it was incredible to watch. He said the Yellow Finn tuna were also magnificent. He shared with me his amazement at the intelligence of Orca whales, he had seen them round up a pod of dolphins, the strategy is to exhaust them in the chase and then kill them. He said the dolphins would squeak and play with you, really intelligent he said. He said he remembers having a few whales in front of the boat, they were bigger then the boat. He said the whale would come up and he could see their eye looking at the boat. He felt they were extremely intelligent.
He didn’t agree with climate change, funnily enough he sussed me on that, I didn’t bring it up. I explained to him if the icebergs melt the Gulf Stream (currents) will stop and ice will form over Europe and UK. I told him I had plans to study the environment next year. Interestingly as I spoke he quickly broke off the conversation, I don’t know why. I wondered if it was because he wasn’t interested in my story. I spent much time listening to his. Whatever the reason he left. I wasn’t offended just curious.
I then sat with the wonderful Marie, who has been a great host to me. We had great chats about her family and life. I really was greatful to meet her. Her partner is a person with a deeply critical dialogue of people. But I know he is critical of himself and projecting it outwards. His partner did everything for him, he barely helped her at all, just put her down saying her bum was too big. I told him real beauty is within people he then discounted that by saying that is what lesbian feminists would say. I almost laughed at the stupidity of the comment, but this guy has serious issues. He doesn’t want to look into the beauty, so he denies it. Yet his partner indicated she ignores his comments, clearly she is looking at his beauty. He is certainly no oil painting to look at and in no position to demand others look better. He is a borderline alcoholic and his daughter and partner said he never listens. That would be his denial of self responsibility, easier to sit and criticise the world around him rather than take a long hard look. Know any people like that? I have to laugh. Everyone is a teacher huh.
Anyway, must sign off leaving for Australia tomorrow. My world trip is nearly over but I feel my journey is just beginning.