By Chinese culture reckoning, August of each year is a month to be very mindful of one’s usual activities. It is the 7th month of the lunar calendar when restless spirits are believed to visit the physical world and make their presence felt. Unless appeased, they could cause many forms of trouble and damage to the living. One way of preventing their negative manifestations is to make incense offering rituals because the spirits are said to “feed” on the aromatic smoke coming from the burning incense.
This year, the dreaded Hungry Ghost Month from August 3 to 31 climaxed yesterday, August 17, the 15th day of the 7th month. On a day when the influence of the hungry ghosts is said to be most potent, I opted to go out and pursue my scheduled activities with my sisterhood at the Carewell Community. Wednesday is our qigong, dancing, and yoga or gong healing day, after all; and what could be a better way of deflecting negative vibes than filling oneself with happy and positive chi instead through these wellness pursuits.
Sheng Zhen Healing Gong yesterday with teacher Roger Simone went particularly well. Truth is, after joining his qigong class more than two years ago, it wasn’t until lately that I started to enjoy its true flavor. The practice grows on its own pace for different people. I’m a “slow” student, but with the patience and resolve of our excellent teacher, plus his inspirational sharing of his thoughts and personal experiences, my belief in qigong has developed firm roots.
After gathering energy for the day, we were all for expending it in an hour-long dance class with our LeBran shapers Abby and Axl. Both are regular staff members of a Latin dance health and wellness provider named after its founder, Brando Balmedina. Teachers are not called DIs or dance instructors but “shapers,” because the LeBran business model provides sustainable income for talented but financially-challenged Filipino dancers. While helping to put clients in better physical shape, the program also helps shape the future of its young and promising talents. Just like qigong, every LeBran session means expelling a lot of toxicity, this time by sweating it out, and cultivating more happy hormones.
Gong sound healing with yoga teacher Rosan Cruz may seem like a passive activity, but it is a great way of achieving a state of harmony and balance. Using soundwaves, it helps clear blockages and enables deep healing of the mind, body, and spirit. We always end each session by chanting the OM (or AUM) mantra to signify our oneness with everything that is good in the universe.
So, contrary to the belief that everything that could go wrong will go wrong during the Hungry Ghost Festival, it was all good for me and my sisterhood yesterday. To top it all, teacher Roger treated us to a yummy surprise like he would often do. Yesterday’s decadent caviar pie will be talked about for a long while, just like the couscous salad and the banana cake (the best ever!) he had shared with us in the past.
Play safe and offer some incense to feed the hungry ghosts. For Carebelles like us (term for Carewell members) who may not be exactly hungry but are mortals with HUGE appetites, make it caviar, please.