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Joe’s Blog- Day 7! Why Circus Works…

Afternoon everyone!

I completely had the weekend off to refresh my head and now I am back on it as strong as ever trying to get this campaign to as many places as possible. Before you read any further… take a look at this ‘Why Circus’ video for a little taster of what to expect this week.

So this is the week I have been most excited about in all of the planning of Operation Circus. I love circus, I love what it did for my life and I love where it has brought me to now. I hear every day that other people have the same feelings about circus for them, and I am inspired and kept fresh every day seeing new people walk through the door and just become addicted. I did a lot of travelling with touring circus, and you very much live in a bubble in which the circus consumes your life. You hang out with those people, live, eat and work with those people… and this very quickly becomes your lifestyle. When CircusMASH started I thought that it would be a different kind of circus, a circus that felt more like a real job where you go in, and come home… and boy was I wrong! It is now, just as much as ever, a lifestyle. I still hang out with the people, eat, live and work… it’s just now in one spot, and I still get to travel a bit-Whoooo!

I find it hard throwing around the terms ‘circus builds confidence’, circus builds trust. These are absolutely true facts but the bare bones of the words for me sound so bland and generic because a lot of things in life build these traits. Why is circus different? There are many answers to this question and over the years I have tried to funnel it into a simple answer as every time I have been asked this question I have struggled to summarise my answer (if you know me you know I will go off on 5 tangents for every sentence I say… and never get around to a point).

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My best way of communicating this right now is by telling you a story of an Orphanage I was working out of in the US about 10 years ago. I was teaching circus to a very vulnerable child who was laced with insecurity and had a very troubled upbringing. His coping mechanism was very violent and the pressure of learning anything in front of people made him react in a way that broke my heart. He just hadn’t yet had that opportunity to understand his emotions in a way of learning that made sense to him. I knew by taking him so far out of his comfort zone, where different emotions took over, he would be able to listen and understand what I needed to say without his insecurities acting up. Teaching in circus there are lots of tricks we can use. Height is a good one! Most of us have a fear of heights, and this can be true for the best aerialists too! I got him up very high where it was in his best interests to listen to what I had to say to get back down again. This mental state for him made him more open to trust me (something that I had a feeling that was not common in his life). As I talked him down we had a conversation about relating this experience (of simply being up in the air and back on the ground again) to his life, and to how he felt up in the air and how he coped. Without him realising I was able to give him the tools to start to understand how his head worked, and how sometimes our emotions can just take over without us realising which makes our bodies react in different ways. He came down and everyone gave him a clap. From that day, for the next week we was at that orphanage he was attached to my hip and cried and cried when we left. He made new friends, he understood his head just that little bit more and I will never forget this story. I have done work in lots of orphanages and group homes and I am so proud to have gave something to all of the kids I have worked with. It’s just very sad I had to leave them to it and not be able to help any more.

Circus challenges us physically, mentally, socially  and different people are attracted to different skills. The joy of circus is that there is something for everyone. We pop up a big top, put them all together and the results are phenomenal to watch and join in with. You will meet a bunch of likeminded- different people. The common thread between them all is they have passion and drive to achieve very hard things… and this inspires new people and is one of the answers of why circus works. (Reg Bolton You may not have heard of him, but he wrote a thesis titled ‘Why Circus Works’. It’s a phenomenal read… i’m sure you can find it on google).

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I will finish todays update by thanking everyone who has donated- I will be doing a very special thank you update over the next few days! Keep your eyes open. Circus is so powerful, but like everything in life unfortunately needs money to run. Imagine a nice circus that was self sustaining and didn’t need any money… anyone know where I can get one of those?

We need your help! We’re raising money for a aerial circus rig for the new space in Kings Heath. We have rewards for your work places too! Please help us out by donating, grabbing yourself a reward and passing the info to your boss for some team building.