Tabaash - channeled by Blair Styra

Blair's Blurb Special



January 2012

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The “Blanket Man “ is dead.

For those overseas readers the Blanket man aka as Ben Hana was a homeless man who had lived on the streets of Wellington and had rather become an institution, particularly in Courtney Place where he was to be found often intoxicated, smoking, asleep, or sitting on the curb in his loincloth attached to his IPod and grinning away at passersby.

Once under the cover of his blanket, he and his girlfriend openly engaged in coitus without the interuptus, shoppers and business people preferring to walk by supposedly unconcerned and unaware of what was happening beneath the folds of that unlaundered blanket.

Sometimes he would break out into a gnarled laugh, he always stunk to high heaven but there was also a gentle courtesy that seemed to emit from him, in his way the Blanket Man had Mana.

Of course the world is full of people like Ben Hana, who for whatever reasons choose to step way from the way most people live life.

Sometimes its because of mental illness, sometimes its because they are down on their luck or there choices were fuelled by drug and alcohol abuse.

Whatever the reasons it’s a constant reminder to us all about the many diverse ways that as souls in bodies we have choices.

Im sure Ben Hana was an “offence” to many people who, for whatever reasons choose to see him in that light.

You could not get any more blatant then the Blanket Man and it was this blatant attitude that seemed so odious to some people.

All in all he had the courage to simply be himself.

He had choices in his life to do differently but he chose his life and lifestyle on the street and in an odd way created a celebrity status.

Articles about him appeared in newspapers, universities sited him as an example of the plight of the homeless.

He was given food, cigarettes; he had a great social life, and was a great host on the streets, his guests being the citizens of the streets of Wellington.

I think of the phrase “In order to be something you have to know what it is like to be nothing”

Ben Hana became nothing and in doing so became someone. Without his blanket status he would just have been another person living his life and never making his mark. And so this homeless and sick man has a wealthy man coughing up to pay his funeral expenses, the facade of ANZ Bank in Courtney Place is becoming a memorial board for messages from people, the Maori flag is being flown, tributes are being paid, people are gathering at the spot and taking pics, its not Kensington Palace and Diana Princess of Wales, but hell this man who became nothing is going to get one hell of a send off, and it makes me think, God New Zealand, I love you and I love our nations people and what we really represent.

You see, we really do care; we care about the Blanket people when it comes to the crunch.

He wasn’t treated as a vagrant, even though some saw him as such. He was a person like us all who made choices and in the choices that he made reminded us all of the many faces of life and the many roads that can be travelled in life.

It doesn’t matter that somewhere along the road of his life he got tied up in some sort of knot that could never be unraveled. That was simply his journey And through that journey he was evolving, and so because of it were we.

I would often pass him on the way to the gym on a Sunday morning, sometimes he would be curled up under the blanket asleep, other times sitting upright moving to the music on his IPod. And he would always look me straight in the eye and nod to me, and I would return that gaze and smile, and I would get this wonderful smile back and I would think, we are brothers but he’s just doing it his way.

And so Ben Hana, you have gone home now and we will miss you. Gods probably wrapped you up in the finest of blankets and washed you so you are clean and smooth, taken away the tangles from your knotted hair, and said to you “Ben you have done well, your life taught a great deal to so many and you will always be remembered, people will talk about you for a long time”.

So you have a good long rest now Ben and when the façade of the ANZ is repainted and the tributes gone, the essence of your spirit will linger for a long time.

Whatever your problems were you had at least an abundance of courage to truly walk your talk in the way that you did. And I think that had you lived in another country in the same way you would have ended up as some John Doe, unwanted, unrecognized and undesirable, your body put in some pauper’s grave, just another statistic.

Well done for becoming someone.


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