Continued from Chapter 24.
“You must now go deeper, on your own, and allow your own awareness, the knowledge of your higher self, to emerge. As you practice quieting your mind and allowing your full self to emerge, you will be guided internally to live your life to the fullest, in joy and happiness, creating and experiencing all that you can dream and desire. Your world is ready for you to call it forth.” Don EmilioPrint and E-Book Cover
By Richard Juarez
The next day Tony and I met with Don Emilio and excitedly told him about our amazing experience at the showdown with the guys, and our surprise at the outcome. Don Emilio, of course, seemed not at all surprised that our friends were so supportive of our studies with him, and that they had an interest in learning some of it too. He said this usually happens wherever he teaches young people. Their friends find out about it and want to know more. Young people, he said, seem to have a thirst for this hidden knowledge, and are more open to it than those of previous generations who may carry remnants of the taboos against “the old ways.”
“What do you think were the main things you learned from yesterday’s experience?” asked Don Emilio, trying to focus our rambling chatter.
“Don’t pre-judge people,” I said. “I thought the thugs in that group really wanted to bash our heads in, but they were just playing along with Pablito’s trick. It reminded me that the guys who like to act tough are really just little boys who like to laugh and have fun like the rest of us.”
“I think I learned that we really can control the outcomes in our lives,” said Tony. “We don’t have to expect bad things to happen just because it looks like that’s what is going to happen, especially if this negative viewpoint is coming from our own personal fears. I think our own fears colored our perception of the situation, and when we realized that maybe we didn’t have accept those fears, we were able to put new positive energy into the situation and turn it around.”
“That’s true for our dreams too,” I said. “I had that negative dream, but it came out of my own fears. We don’t have to accept dreams based on fear. We can filter out the parts that may be colored by our fears and change the dreams or ignore them, and change the outcomes in our life to positive.”
Don Emilio sat there with a big grin on his face, happy with what he was hearing.
“Your experience yesterday, your dreams about it before hand, and your ability to process all that information now and find your own insights make up one of the major learning experiences you have had during our time together,” said Don Emilio. “You have done well. I am proud of you.” Don Emilio closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths. Tony and I did the same.
In the quiet, the thought came to me. We had come to the end—for now anyway. I knew there was much more to learn, but it would come later. Don Emilio had said we were nearing the end of the first part, and it certainly felt like we had arrived. He sat there quietly, eyes closed, looking like he had just finished a long journey. And he had. He had taken us from feeling helpless about what was going on around us, to an amazing place we couldn’t have even dreamed of. Not that we had felt completely helpless, but with friends like Pablito, who thought he’d be dead by age 25, and Arturo, part of a drug dealing family, we weren’t giving ourselves much of a chance for a decent future. We didn’t think it was a big deal, but Tata saw us repeating the mistakes his sons had made. So he had called for help.
I never gave Tata credit for knowing just what kind of help he called in. It took a while for me to realize that Tata was also studying the secrets of the ancestors. If he hadn’t known about this stuff and talked to his cousin Emilio over the years, he never would have asked him to come help. And my life and Tony’s would be much different right now.
I remember saying I didn’t need no brujo to straighten me out, that I didn’t need some relative I’d never heard of to teach me about “old ways” that people didn’t even like to talk about. Don Emilio not only talked about it, he told us the secrets of the “old ways,” the secret to creating a new and better life. He showed us the path—at least the first steps to making it happen, and assured us that we really had the power to make our own wishes come true. He had us talking to trees, using x-ray vision, and calling in eagles.
We were just beginning to scratch the surface, learning to drop old habits, and taking on new habits that were helping us to keep our energy up and raise our energy vibration. And that was helping us to hear messages from our higher self and the spirit guides around us. Before Don Emilio, we hadn’t even known there was help like that available to us.
So, I could see an ending coming. I thought it would be better to acknowledge that fact rather than wait for Don Emilio to break the news. I knew he would appreciate hearing that we got the message without him having to voice it. I turned to Tony.
“Do you know … this is it?”
“The end?” he asked, and nodded in agreement. “I’ve been expecting it for the past few sessions, but there was always more for next time.”
Don Emilio was looking at us, listening and nodding his head.
“That is what I was thinking,” he said. “We have reached our stopping point. You must have been reading my mind. Hey, how did you do that?”
Tony and I laughed, because we didn’t expect it. Months ago, we were using that phrase all the time. Now we knew how he could just know things, like we were doing now.
“We have come to the end,” Don Emilio continued, “the end of the first part. You have both learned the basics, and you have learned them well. I am so very proud of your accomplishments and the growing awareness that shows in your words and actions. We are complete for now. I didn’t even have to tell you. We have come to the place where you take over. Continue your practice. Live what you have learned. As you live it, you will learn more, and the knowledge will shift from your head to your whole being.
“From this point on, at least for now, no one can be your teacher in these matters. You must now go deeper, on your own, and allow your own awareness, the knowledge of your higher self, to emerge. That is your new task as you move forward. As you practice quieting your mind and allowing your full self to emerge, you will be guided internally to live your life to the fullest, in joy and happiness, creating and experiencing all that you can dream and desire. Your world is ready for you to call it forth.
“Your awareness will expand much greater than you can imagine as you grow into greater alignment with your higher self, and become your higher self. But there will come a day when it will be time for us to sit down together again, and explore a second level of ancient teachings, for which you may need some guidance or direction.”
You could tell it was a very special occasion. Most of the family was gathered at Nana and Tata’s for this feast—my mother’s sisters and brothers, and their kids. This time it looked like all the tíos and tías were involved in the cooking. The guys had set up the big grill they used for large family gatherings. They were making carne asada and pollo asado. As the heat seared the chicken skins, the deliciously sweet, pungent and smoky aromas of the marinade began to disrupt some of the many conversations, and people started to move closer to the grill and the tables in the patio.
Inside the house my mother, her sisters, and Nana were busy preparing the rest of the afternoon meal. My guess was that they were working on big pots of the standard rice and beans, and probably a salad. Because there were too many people for handmade tortillas, Nana had sent me to Porkyland earlier in the day to buy a few dozen of both corn and flour tortillas.
The family was honoring Don Emilio as he prepared to go back to Mexico. Quite a difference from when he arrived. In all the turmoil of those first few days, I wasn’t sure they were going to let him stay. Some, like my mother, welcomed him because he was a relative, but didn’t really want anything to do with him, and didn’t want him to have anything to do with me. Today, they were gathered to thank him and say goodbye.
Don Emilio had won over those who had distrusted him, not so much by what he said, but by what he had accomplished. Tata had asked him to come here to “straighten me out.” I hated that term, but now I didn’t care. He had straightened me out, and Tony too. He had turned our lives around. Those who initially objected to his being here didn’t know what he taught us, but rather were happy for the change they saw in us, and especially for the fact that we were not locked up.
“I told you guys it would work itself out,” said Tío Pancho, standing next to sizzling thin strips of steak. “I told you he would outgrow this teenage mischief if you just left him alone and quit coming down so hard on him.”
“Yeah, we just didn’t know if he would outgrow it at home, or in prison, like your brothers,” said Tía Paula as she set a big bowl of salad on one of the tables.
“Easy now,” Tío Marcos responded. “Don’t get so worked up over this. Look, I’m fine. Juan’s fine. And Vincent seems to be doing fine since he’s been spending time with Emilio.”
“Orale, pues,” said Tío Pancho, with a big grin, “we got these fine men in the family!”
My mother overheard what they were saying, so she came outside and sat with them.
“You’re right, Marcos,” she said, smiling, trying to ignore Tío Pancho’s joking. “I didn’t want to admit it, because I was concerned about brujos and what I’ve heard about them. I didn’t know what brujo things Emilio would be teaching my son, but now that doesn’t even matter. We see how he’s much more sure of himself, and not following along after those neighborhood friends. He’s thinking for himself, and spending more time with his school homework. And Emilio has given him assignments to do every day.”
Turning to me, she said smiling, “Now you’re too busy to get into trouble, aren’t you.” She didn’t wait for an answer. “But I’m not worried about that anymore. I’m so glad he and Tony…” she paused as her voice cracked and tears came to her eyes, “I’m glad they had the opportunity to study with Emilio.”
Just then, Don Emilio and Tata walked by. She stood up and reached out and gave Don Emilio a big long hug.
“I want everyone to know,” she loudly so all could hear, “I am so grateful for all that Emilio has done for us, and especially for Vincent and Tony. Emilio spent a lot of time with them, coming down from his work in Los Angeles. I didn’t agree with my father about this, but he insisted. I am glad he did. And I am glad to know our cousin Emilio better, after all these years.”
Tío Pancho stood and offered a toast, and they all gave Don Emilio a round of applause, and then hugs all around. It was certainly a different story than before. I guess we had all changed. Even Doña Rosa.
Tony came to the celebration with his grandmother and grandfather. Shortly after everyone acknowledged Don Emilio, Tony came over to me, anxious to give me some news.
“Hey, man,” he said pulling me aside, “did you know that Doña Rosa and Gloria arrived a little while ago? They’re still out in the front yard talking to one of your relatives. Anyway, Doña Rosa came into the store a few days ago.” He paused and changed his voice to almost a whisper so others could not overhear. “She and Big Mike talked about the sessions we’ve had with Don Emilio. I was working that day and I heard most of their conversation. Big Mike made a point of telling Doña Rosa about the changes he saw in me, and in you. She seemed pretty pleased with what she heard. She said she got reports from Gloria about us, like we seemed to be doing better in school, and weren’t hanging out with the wrong crowd much anymore. Pretty cool, huh? I figured you’d want to hear that before she said anything to you today. Sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, but this was the first chance I’ve had.”
“Hey, that’s really good news. I’ll find out from Gloria what she’s heard.”
Tony and I were standing in the side yard away from everybody. We stopped our conversation when we saw Doña Rosa and Gloria coming toward us. Not surprisingly, Don Emilio came walking up from the back yard just as Gloria and her Nana reached us. As everyone greeted each other, Gloria looked at me and smiled a little more warmly than usual. With a little coaxing from Gloria, Doña Rosa got right to the point.
“Don Emilio,” she said addressing him directly, “you probably know from Julia that I originally had concerns about a brujo coming to our neighborhood and teaching young men about the old ways that my family had rejected long ago. But our conversation in Amador’s market a couple of months ago, and one I had with him in the store a few days ago, along with reports from my granddaughter have opened my eyes. They have allowed me to judge on results, rather than on my preconceived notions. I want you to know that I think you have done a wonderful job with these two.” Turning to face Tony and me, she said, “I understand that you boys want to share with your friends what you have learned from Don Emilio. My granddaughters Gloria and Linda want to participate in that when you are ready. I want you both, and Don Emilio, to know I give my consent to having them join you for those classes.”
“Wow, that’s great news!” I said, excitedly, looking at Gloria, and giving Doña Rosa and Don Emilio big hugs. I really didn’t expect that, even with what Tony just told me.
“And are you going to help with the classes for their friends?” Doña Rosa asked Don Emilio.
“The boys and I have not discussed this yet in detail, but I offered to help.” Then turning to us, he said, “Vicente and Antonio, if you would like, I will be available to advise you on these classes, and perhaps even come occasionally and participate with you.”
Tony and I nodded in agreement. “That would be great having you help us,” I said, “especially with the harder stuff.”
Don Emilio reached out and shook hands with Tony and me, sort of to seal the deal. I think his agreement, right in front of Doña Rosa, to continue to work with us helped put to rest any lingering concerns about sorcerer’s apprentices gone wild.
Gloria looked at me in a funny way. I could tell she had something to say, so I just looked back at her and waited. She smiled, and it turned into a big grin.
“My Nana has one other thing to say which might be of interest to you,” she said as she turned to her Nana and waited. As Doña Rosa began to speak, Gloria drifted away a few feet. Doña Rosa cleared her throat, like she was about to make a major statement. Not speaking to anyone directly, she turned her head up slightly and made an announcement to the air.
“If a certain young man were to ask my granddaughter to the junior prom, I would give my permission. And I would see to it that her parents gave their approval as well. But, this certain young man has not asked yet, so she can’t say much more about it.”
I could feel my heart beating faster, and I was sure my ears were getting red. I didn’t know what to say, but I had a big grin on my face. Don Emilio came to the rescue.
“Before I leave,” he said smiling, “I will have a talk with a certain young man to be sure the asking requirements are handled.”
I was a little embarrassed that Don Emilio and Doña Rosa got involved in the Junior Prom, but if that was what it took to be able to go with Gloria, I was so okay with it.
We could see that the rest of the family was getting seated and digging into the feast, so we moved in that direction to join them.
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