Being in Denmark for 7 weeks and not understanding a word of Danish might have felt more lonely if it wasn’t for the work. Not the fact of having work, but for the nature of it. Each day I visited a hospital or care home or school as a clown, I had sweet, silly, funny and wordless conversations; wholehearted, profound and totally coherent.
In my daily life here, in the in-between times, interacting in shops and sitting on the train, Danish voices wash over me, completely incomprehensible. People here are contained and polite and respectful. There have been occasions here where I have had the strongest (and not altogether unpleasant) sensation that I am invisible. This is often followed by an equally strong impulse to disrupt, do something irresponsible or alarming. It seems I too need to be seen, understood, and touched. My awareness of what a subtle balm simply being seen and heard without judgement can be has deepened.
More than ever I understand that the language of therapeutic clowning is the language of breath, body, space and vibration. It is the rhythm, tempo and tension of a place and our physical and relational response to it. Words can provide landscape, but they are not the conversation. I have barely noticed that I don’t speak Danish on the days that I am Clowning. Dr Maybee and Bonnie Elderflower transcend my personal need to meet mind to mind. They go straight to the heart.
I tried to write about some of these encounters, but my words flattened and confined them, so then I tried to draw them - the results of which I share here.
This is a visit in an SEN school with an autistic boy who had become fixated on drawing the line between the bricks with his finger. Maybee added voice to his action, he understood he had control, and he broke free:
Below is a visit in a Carehome - an emotional (almost wordless) rollercoaster shared between Bonnie and this gentleman. I just loved the equanimity of his response at the end.
The most profound conversations I’ve had over the last seven weeks, be it professionally or personally have been wordless.
There is one word I started to hear in amongst the jumble of vowels and on Tuesday when I was clowning in hospital as Dr Maybee. I finally asked...what does 'måske' mean? ....'maybe, Maybee, it means maybe!'
I am a therapeutic clown and performer. Writing here is part of my wider practice and maybe some of my thoughts will trigger some thoughts of your own and I hope that helps.