But first, you must like the book, so READ AN EXCERPT – Excerpt 02 – BRAWL IN A PORTUGUESE BAR, Vila Real de Santo Antonio, Portugal Tired from hitching, I peek into a noisy village bar. The bartender beckons. I enter and there is dead silence. I play the guitar and hell breaks loose. http://www.sisterraquel.com/2013/10/eastwind-memoirs-02 Excerpt 03 – PILGRIMAGE TO FATIMA, The 7-day 80-km hike, Portugal. In search of myself, I drifted through Europe and ended up making a pilgrimage. No tent, no umbrella, just a sleeping bag, beach sandals, and a 1.5-kilo backpack. http://www.sisterraquel.com/2013/10/eastwind-memoirs-03 Excerpt 07 – A SWEDISH DAMSEL IN DISTRESS, Canary Islands. Evading security, I sneaked into a tourist beach at night. From atop a tall 5-star hotel, a maiden saw me fixing my sleeping bag, and, like an angel, descends into my realm. http://www.sisterraquel.com/2014/04/eastwind-memoirs-07 Excerpt 14 – CHRISTMAS WITH ARABS AND JEWS, Athens, Greece. What was my loneliest Christmas became an awesome experience. http://www.sisterraquel.com/2017/11/the-child-guru Email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the book. **************** THE CHILD GURU Based on a true story http://www.sisterraquel.com/2017/11/the-child-guru eastwind journals By eastwind – Bernie V. Lopez – email@example.com
children sometimes excel in the adult world by sheer nature of their spirits they are called ‘children of the universe’ one day, I wandered into a park and stumbled on a tai-chi class which sent shivers up my spine Tai-chi is an ancient form of exercise and/or martial arts that originated in China. The essence is slow focused physical movements or ‘dance’. Chi is the vital inner force or energy in every living thing, according to ancient Taoists. The dance helps achieve perfect health of mind and body by balancing the yin (negative or dark) and yang (positive or bright) within a person. Yin-yang are opposing but complementary cosmic forces. Vincent is a tai-chi veteran who makes a lot of money teaching CEOs, diplomats, and rich matrons at a public park in Makati City. Occasionally, he offers free lessons to a few people from the bottom of the food chain – messengers, clerks, house maids walking dogs, and even bums, who happen to stray into the park. He mixes them all up in one complex soup of rich, middle class, and poor. Often he gets problems from the wide social gaps and mindsets in his tai-chi class, until he met Vanessa, an eight-year-old homeless orphan. She is a free spirit who looks at the world as her personal inner garden. One early Saturday morning at the park, while Vincent is waiting for his class, and warming up with tai-chi exercises, he catches the eye of Vanessa. For half an hour, she watches in total awe, then comes over. Without a word, she starts imitating his moves right in front of him. At a point, she falls on her face, and Vincent starts to laugh. She laughs with him.
Vincent Do you know what I’m doing?
Vanessa Yeah, sure. You’re having your breakfast of the spirit to make you strong.
Vincent That’s a very good answer. Yes, you are right, chi is the Chinese word for energy. Tai-chi exercise brings out that energy. You fell because you lost your balance.
Vanessa How do I keep my balance?
Vincent Feet apart. (He demonstrates, she follows.)
Vincent Do you know this was started by the Chinese thousands of years ago?
Vanessa Nope. Now I know.
Vincent stretches his right arm, palms open vertically away from him.
Vanessa Hmmmm, like a policeman stopping a car.
Slowly, he pulls his arms together into a circle at the chest level.
Vanessa Hmmmm. You gather energy into a ball, a basketball.
Vincent (Continuing the exercise.) You know what I am doing?
Vanessa Yeah, sure. You’re pushing the air, then scooping it.
Vincent And what happens if you do that?
Vanessa Oh, I guess you’re sucking in the energy of the air, absorbing it, then releasing what’s left. No, no. It is not really the air. The energy is inside you. Your motion helps bring it out.
Vincent (Stopping the exercise.) Amazing answer. It is a form of meditation, only its more physical than mental.
Vanessa Both, I think. More mental to me. I mean, so what if you move your hands. If you’re not thinking, it’s just empty motion.
Vincent Right, right. Do you go to school?
Vanessa Excuse me?
Vincent No. Sorry. Forget it. Okay, watch.
Vincent brings the tips of his fingers to the top of his head, his arms in a heart-shaped form.
Vanessa Don’t ask. I know. Energy flowing from the sky into your soul.
Vincent From the Universe. Wow. Bulls eye again. You have an amazing way of putting it with such simplicity. You know, I teach the same things you are saying to a bunch of very professional people, and I have a hard time explaining.
Vanessa Then, don’t explain. Just do it, then let them do it. The answer will come to them later on. Words are nothing. They will learn from experience, not words.
Vincent Of course. Theoretical wisdom is nothing compared to experiential wisdom. You must be a guru in another life because you have so much wisdom even as a child.
Vanessa Excuse me?
Vincent Forget it. Where do you live?
Vanessa Under the highway over there, along Amorsolo St., near Makati Cinema Square.
Vincent Oh, you have no home.
Vanessa That’s my home. I have no family.
Vincent Where do you get your food?
Vanessa Here and there. The restaurant waiters give me. When they see me smile and wave at them, they smile back and hurry to go out to give me food. I don’t have to go inside, which is not allowed. A smile is contagious. It’s a magic wand. Without it, I go hungry.
Vincent Aren’t you lonely?
Vanessa Never. I have a guardian angel, better than some parents. She hugs me when I wake up in the morning, and tucks me to bed, I mean to the cardboard. We talk a lot, especially at night before I sleep. We pray together.
Vincent A hug is a tai-chi element, Vanessa. People need to be hugged.
Vanessa Especially women and children.
Vincent There is an exchange of positive chi between ‘hugger’ and ‘huggee’.
Vanessa My guardian angel takes care of that. She must know tai-chi.
Vincent Listen, I got a great idea. How would you like to be my assistant teacher? That is, if you’re not afraid of adults, of very important people, you know, haughty snobbish VIPs.
Vanessa All people are important. Why should I be afraid? But how can I teach something I don’t know.
Vincent You just don’t know that you know. You have known it deep inside you before you were even born. So just let me ‘remind’ you, okay?
Vanessa You will do that? But why?
Vincent I think you are a better teacher than I. You can help people understand. I will give you a giant hamburger after every class.
Vanessa Nahh. I like sushi better.
Vincent Sushi then, and a big bowl of hot ramen.
Vanessa Now you’re talking. When do we begin?
Vincent Right now.
Vincent starts to teach the basic movements. Vanessa has a photographic memory and learns with amazing speed. By the time the whole class comes in, he has taught her several exercises, both basic and advance, all in one short session. Tai-chi is natural to her. His tai-chi class gathers around them, watching.
Vincent Class, let me introduce you to our new assistant teacher. I think this amazing girl was a Chinese Buddhist monk in another life. Remember, if I am suddenly absent, Vanessa takes over.
The class does not take him seriously. By the end of the lessons in advance exercises that day, which takes all morning, Vanessa is a veteran in the blink of an eye. She not only knows every move instantly but is able to process motion into a form of spiritual meditation and expression. She converses with the Universe through her dance.
So, one day, Vincent suddenly disappears. It is the second session for a new class. Everyone looks at Vanessa – Gerry, a consul from the Netherlands, Anne, a snobbish middle-aged matron, Edgar, an accountant for the Dutch consulate, Jessica, a house maid from the plush San Lorenzo Village, and Roger, a bum. Vanessa knows right away she is the teacher for the day.
Vanessa Okay class, let us do the first exercise. Just watch me. Watch intently, not the movements but the air around my body, my hands, my feet. See how I ‘talk’ to the air. This air talks back to my body energy through my movements of hands and feet. You have to concentrate. Without speaking, Vanessa simply does tai chi exercise as she has learned from Vincent. The class watches intently in silence. She does it twice.
Vanessa Now let us do it all together. Follow after me.
They all begin to do it, amazingly with absolute ease.
Consul Gerry This is amazing. I can do it. I am not bogged down by memorizing movements. I just move.
Roger the Bum I have a sudden urge to be clean before tai-chi lessons.
Anne the Matron You have to respect your own body and clean it before you can clean your spirit. Here, take this. (She hands Roger some money to buy soap.)
Vanessa (Pointing.) Over there is a faucet used by gardeners to water plants. I take a bath there at night when the gardeners have left. (Roger nods.)
Jessica the Housemaid Yes. My hands flow in the air. This is fantastic.
Anne the Matron And when I raise my leg and bend my knee, I never knew I have this skill of perfect balance. I can be a ballerina.
Edgar the Accountant That’s because you forgot about the physical aspect and jumped right into the spiritual. Amazing how a dance can clear my mind. This is good before I handle financial statements.
Vanessa Whatever the reason, you are doing it. Don’t think about it. Just do it. It’s so simple what the body has to do, but the mind sometimes makes it complicated.
Vincent is gone for a long time. Vanessa, the child guru, becomes a sensation. She attracts a big crowd every Saturday made up of bankers, waitresses, street children. Even the policeman, who does not allow big crowds, becomes her student. Within three weeks, her class balloons to 55 students.
Policeman Don’t worry, Vanessa. No one will harm or molest us when I am around. Hey, you (talking to a dirty teenage bum), you are not allowed here.
Vanessa I am sorry, Mr. Policeman, everyone is welcome, rich or poor. (Vanessa goes to the bum and hugs him.)
Policeman (Embarassed). Okay, no problem.
After three more weeks, the class is about to end. Already, a second batch is waiting to start. The park can hold only so many. Scared to attract the authorities, the policeman tells Vanessa that newcomers must leave after they sign up and come back on a given date when the previous class is finished. Matron Anne volunteers to be Vanessa’s secretary, taking care of registration.
Lady I learned so much in such a short time. How do we pay you?
Vanessa You don’t have to.
Lady No. That’s unfair. What can I get you?
Vanessa Okay. Anything under the sun.
Lady You promise to accept it?
Next day, the lady comes with an i-phone and an i-pad.
Vanessa I can’t take those.
Lady You promised to accept.
Vanessa I don’t know how to use them.
Lady This one is for music. This one is for games. I will teach you.
The lady places earphones on Vanessa and plays some classical music. Instantly, Vanessa is doing tai-chi movement. She jumps with joy.
Vanessa Wow, I can use this for my class. Students can come and we play the same music while doing tai-chi.
Lady I will donate the blue tooth speakers for you class.
Vanessa Blue tooth?
Lady Wireless. No wires. The player connects to the speakers by radio waves, no wires.
Vanessa gets other gifts at every session for giving free lessons – a talking doll which she gives away, a pink bicycle which she keeps, a laptop, a pillow and a blanket, a jacket, a one-year gift certificate at a fine-dining restaurant from its owner. She asks the waiters to give her extras to take out, which she gives to the bums and beggars all around. She never accepts cash only because she does not know how much to charge. After all, she gets food and bath for free. She has everything she needs.
One day, she gets a letter from Vincent. He has colon cancer and can no longer come back, not saying where he is. Vanessa weeps. She names her ‘school’ Vincent’s School of Wisdom. After two years, Vincent is healed, cancer-free. He suddenly appears out of nowhere at the park. Vincent and Vanessa embrace each other.
Vincent Wow. Tai-chi on Chopin. That’s an innovation.
The homeless orphan Vanessa is a happy child of the Universe.
By eastwind, Bernie V. Lopez Order the authors’ book of true stories, a collection of 50 anecdotes Request for TEN WISDOMS OF THE LORD’S PRAYER at firstname.lastname@example.org SIDE BAR – WILL THERE BE MORE MARAWIS TO COME? Author’s article in the Inquirer – http://opinion.inquirer.net/108270/will-marawis-come
OTHER FAMOUS eastwind ANECDOTES
1 – THE WOMAN WARRIOR Once in a while, we see a glimmer of heroism in desert dunes. http://www.sisterraquel.com/2015/06/the-woman-warrior
2 – YOU CAN’T BUY HAPPINESS http://www.sisterraquel.com/2012/07/eastwind-journals-41
Mini Library of eastwind true stories – 1- YOU CAN’T BUY HAPPINESS * Based on a true story http://www.sisterraquel.com/2017/10/how-to-win amdg