I don’t know if if surviving in today’s world is more difficult than in decades and centuries past. The determination is dependent on how you define ‘survival.’ One thing is certain: Globalization has impacted the world at every level and has changed how we survive, how we interact, and how we respond. We can choose to respond with positivity and restorative narrative.
There is no shortage of dire disasters and impending gloom in the news. The news articulates important stories and crises that our global society needs to know. We need to maintain awareness of how actions cause reactions, who needs help, and who is helping.
The World may be suffering but there are enough artists in the world to help alleviate the suffering.
Clowns Without Borders chooses hope, objective reality, and shared community building. We choose Restorative Narratives. We didn’t coin the term – ivoh did, but we really like what it stands for and what it means in the global context.
Clowns Without Borders seeks restorative narrative of the world by offering Resilience Through Laughter and to advocate for those in crisis and conflict by sharing Education Through Awareness. Founder of Clowns Without Borders, Tortell Poltrona, says that we need to be doing this work until CWB no longer needs to exist. Agreed. It starts with the invitation for us to come somewhere. We research to understand the needs of the NGO’s and populations being served. We find and bring in the local artists, or theater companies, or schools, or local grassroots groups and help everyone work together, with mentorship, compassion, caring, and respect for the moments when the clowns step back and become witnesses, audience members learning from those with whom we seek to catalyze a positive impact.
Laughter is healing. Laughter helps us move past difficult times. It connects us. Sometimes we need a little spark to get us started, but when we do the effects are immediate and often serendipitous. Take for example Nora, an aid worker helping bring refugees safely ashore in Lesvos, Greece. She witnessed Clowns Without Borders perform a series of acts as refugees waited to board UNHCR buses bound for Moria Camp. She told me afterwards that seeing joy light up the faces of the refugees was the first time she cried tears of happiness instead of sorrow since arriving on Lesvos.
Our shows and interactions have huge impact. It is powerful to be invited to a community where we are allowed to perform and play. Even though we may only be there for a couple hours, or even minutes at a time, it brings energies that were not present before us, and it unites. It is restorative. We hope the positive narrative stays with those we meet long after we’ve gone, and spreads far and wide.