"Believing in Harvey" - 6,000km from Perth to Byron Bay, and beyond.
Ok, it may look like a joke, but last year, a 42 year old Irishman, walked 4,000 miles across Australia, claiming that World Peace is here. It becomes even more ludicrous when you discover that he pushed an empty wheelchair all the way, carrying ‘Harvey’ and invisible character, who the Dubliner says, is the most important person you will meet. You will see quickly that this is not your average long distant walker.
It is hard to believe but this story comes from the experiences of a lateral thinking, disabled, brain damaged, Mr Frank Muldowney. He was a talented artist during his school years but at 19 years old in 1985 he suffered from a brain haemorrhage, leaving him with speech, visual and comprehension problems. His art career seemed to be over but in time Mr Muldowney describes his disabilities as ‘a blessing in disguise’, as to him noting is really bad or good, it depends on how you look at it. "I am still the same artist in my mind" said Frank.
Mr Muldowney spent time in therapy, to improve his speech and comprehension. He got involved with charity walks for the MS Society, raising funds for MS suffers, but also built up Frank’s health and confidence. He was in Roslyn Park College being trained with other disabled people, to fit into society and find employment. Frank's instincts lead him to a different path and after getting a job in the local Credit Union, in his spare time he returned to focus on his own imaginative artistic skills. He created a character who he aimed to use as the centre of attention to express his own thoughts and imaginations, through a long walk, a film and the media. This was his dream, with the intention to question the mind-set, that peace will never happen.
Harvey was reborn - Happy Frank
The Dubliner adopted ‘Harvey’ the invisible character from the eponymous classic film of the same name. “I was depressed soon after the operation in 85’", said Frank, "and by chance an empty wheelchair was parked beside my bed. I felt my own dreams were now in that wheelchair. ‘Harvey’ is like a child's invisible friends, important in your life, but can't be seen and hard to achieved. I felt, I must see through the disabilities what this wheelchair represents and find away to express myself, by making Harvey known, like any dream."
NBN 6 O'Clock News, New South Wales
He continues, “In my life, I learned that the universal dream is, the desire for peace. I spent time thinking, what exactly is ‘war' and 'peace'. Through years of travelling, I now believe that War and Peace are more a personal feeling and perception of the world, not something real that can be bought. War, to me, is one living in fear, and peace is one living happily. How can anyone create a peaceful world who is unhappy, one has no concept of what peace would be like. I knew I must first "feel peace" in myself, in my thoughts, attitudes and belief. It did not take long to actually feel peace in my heart, through my own imaginations an feelings. It was incredible. Anyone can experience this feeling, by thinking of one of the best times of your own life, then focus on that memory. The more one does it, the more one experiences a real feeling of inner peace. That is what peace is to me, a personal feeling deep in your soul, that cannot be seen and cannot be taken from you. So I do not see any conflict, political or military creating solutions to peace, when in fact it is only the individual who can create peace in him or herself. "
"I had a lot of deep hatred in myself, about many things, disability, injustice, mass murder, the list was getting longer. The wisdom of my grandmother eventually cured me over time. She never seemed to hate anyone, as she would put it 'When you won't forgive, you then have hate. With hate, you will never feel peace, until you are brave enough to forgive. When you can forgive, you are then finally free.'
"If I decide to be unhappy because of my disabilities, or to live in fear by alleged war or terrorism, then that is my misfortune. If I however decide to live as happily as I can and forgive those I used to hate, then I am at peace and spread my happiness to others. I am now, no longer in that wave of fear or hate and I am creating my own wave of peace, going in the other direction."
The inspirational figures of Frank's life "Their dreams live on through our imaginations, through Harvey"
Frank confirms his own beliefs from a quotation from Albert Einstein - “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the entire world”
Consider that one day, Mr Frank Muldowney was unemployed living on a disability benefit. He got a job, saved as much he could, flew to one of the biggest countries in the world, picked up a wheelchair, assembled a team and walked across Australia. He ended up appearing on national television, radio and newspapers, met the Irish Ambassador and the Dalai Lama at a press conference in Canberra. Frank said – “I followed my heart, to see is it true that dreams can become real. Not only that happened, but now I have the words to express myself which I did not have before. I know how really lucky I am, however it takes courage to live a dream and the benefits after is, inner peace and contentment.”
On the road pushing Harvey with the back up team blocking traffic! - Frank introducing Harvey to the Irish Ambassador in Canberra.
Frank is now resting in Dublin, with ‘Harvey’ of course. His next journey is from Dublin to Belfast, hopefully in July this summer, a walk of celebration for the peace that was achieved in Ireland last year. He is planning to make a documentary of the short walk which Frank believes is a pilgrimage of peace, joining the 2 capitals together in peace. Belfast will not be his last walk, as he intends to continue the walk to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cardiff and ending in London.
You may see Frank and Harvey at the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, at the Grandstand at St Parnell Square.
An Taoiseach giving Frank an award in 1998 - Completing his walk around Ireland in 1993 with the Dublin Lord Mayor
by Eva de Lange
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Site - www.believinginharvey.com
"The only people who have felt world peace, is those who had nothing to fear" - Frank Muldowney