We often stigmatize and fear the homeless and the seemingly "crazy". I am guilty of this myself if I am to be honest. A few weeks ago I was blown away by a man I encountered while busking. We started playing music for the Saturday night crowd at Union Square. I was feeling a bit low and dealing with anxiety, but was getting into the music and feeding off of the love and enjoyment from the people around us. I was also feeling pretty spiritual and asked God to take control and use me in whichever way He wanted. We played music for a while, then this man started shouting randomness,and was directly above where we were playing on the staircase. He appeared unkept, homeless and very disturbed. He threw down some type of stuffed animal and some other object, and seemed as if he was going to jump from the staircase. He didn't jump. Thank God. I tried to keep playing while watching him from the corner of my eye. He made his way down the stairs, directly at us, trying to engage with us and the music. He at first seemed very erratic and unpredictable and it was sweet to see some of the other people who were listening to us try and protect us by shielding him away. But as time went on, it was clear he was harmless. He was banging his pot (I think that's what he had.. haha.. something metal) he was banging something on the ground and on the pole etc to the music and dancing freely, jerking around the platform in enjoyment. We then covered one of our Fave's to play "Come Together" by the Beatles. He was dancing right in front of me, and I was thinking of him the entire song as I was singing. Lyrics were perfect. In that moment, he, us, and the other people listening were all together. And he seemed so freaking Free!! "One thing I can tell you is you've got to be free, come together, right now, over me" He actually seemed the most free out of all of us! Not giving a damn, nothing to hide or protect, jst free! Dancing "how the music made him move" as he somehow put it later when we talked. We kept playing. Different songs. Some slower, some instrumental jams. He went from erratic to sitting crossed legged directly in front of us peacefully and now adding his metal object banging very musically and in rhythm to some of the stuff we were playing. Haha. In sync. People no longer seemed threatened by him. At one point, he got up, I'm a little tired by now, and I had noticed one of my flyers that I give away to people jst stray there on the floor by the train tracks. Prob would have been tossed or walked over/crumpled etc. I wasn't too upset by this, it happens, but then I watched the cutest thing. This seemingly incoherent, perhaps drunk and "crazy man" walks up to it, folds the paper in half, folds it again, and puts it so delicately in his pant pocket. I was so touched by this. I had seen him sip a little bit from a small alcoholic bottle earlier so I was a bit wary, but he clearly knew exactly what he was doing. He then made his way back and ended up crossed legged in front of us again.
As we were almost wrapping up our busking sesh for the night, he was with us for more than an hour I'm sure, I noticed him trying to connect with people. He seemed way more stable at this point! No longer stigmatized, at least not as feared as before. His eyes seemed honest and loving. He jst wanted to connect, talk and belong was the feeling I got. He was conversing a bit and saying some spiritual things out loud. I was like mm.. so I was listening to him. I noticed he had an accent.. didn't really speak English too well. I think he was Spanish or maybe Italian.. lol not sure.. but I heard him telling this sweet couple how his name was Bruce, he was 58 years old.. and how he had some struggles.. he then was trying to communicate how the music really moved him.. and made his body move and made him so happy. Then he said things like he used to know God but didn't really Love him before. More messages spewed from his mouth and he was having his own spiritual moment and being used to touch the people around Him. He said things like "you want to make God laugh, tell him about Your plans" he kept saying "let it be" "fly" and "you've got to be free" which really spoke to my spirit. By the end of the night he became a magnet. So much love he exuded. Eye to eye and genuine connection. What if we had stigmatized him, not opened our hearts and allowed him to Be with us? What a different night it would have been. The "crazy man" would probably have continued his "crazy" antics, probably angry at a world that didn't seem to love him back. This is not to say that a homeless, mentally disturbed person shouldn't be handled with caution, but at the end of the day we all have a soul and we can all connect to Love. I watched him talking with these 2 other commuters. They talked for a while and I managed to get some video footage. They were handshaking, telling stories, loving, connecting. The young couple gave the man money which he gratefully accepted, but they all seemed to be on the same playing field, just having a conversation. Interesting sight to see. Him still on the floor cross legged, scantily dressed, unkept, stuffed animals with him, etc. I was deeply moved by the whole thing. I had watched this guy's transformation throughout the night. From loud, dangerous man who could possibly jump from the staircase and hurt me, to witnessing just how much love and wisdom he had to offer. And then understanding how the same we really are.Other random commuters witnessed and got to experience what was going on too. By the end of the night I talked to him, held his hand, thanked Him, gave him some money and learned more. He offered his love, advice, wisdom, spiritual connection and validated what I do with music and everything I'm about. I got my Cajon player and friend Mikiya to take a pic of us. Lol. Telling him how moved I was and almost in tears as I took the train back home.
I acknowledged that whatever happened that night had nothing to do with me or "Bruce". It was a reminder. It was God, love, light, beyond us working through us. Was magical. A perfect demonstration of our connection to each other and the bigger picture. It's Love people! ️️️We need it. The power of music was the catalyst that brought us together and brought us joy. Grateful I get to use my gifts and I pray God continues to use me. Love to you Dude!<3 Wherever you are. Never forget you️️! Hope you kept your Nessa Dove flyer :))