If I were a book and not a man
Updated: Aug 15, 2021
If I were a book and not a man, I think that would've been my title –'Healing through Reconnecting with the Body'. At present I'm a therapist, a bodyworker and emotional healing teacher. For me doing healing and using different modalities is like working a wonderful, multidimensional art forms.
But in my case, healing started not in an alternative therapy school or in some workshop. It started in one of the craziest places on our planet – The city of Tokyo.
The year is 1990 and I find myself, after a year or so of free traveling, in the dire need for some new ideas of how to sponsor my recently found new lifestyle. I arrive to Tokyo and connect to one of the Israeli 'agencies' that flourished there at the time. They were selling all kind of things - Panda bears, kitsch oil paintings, cheap jewelry etc. I rent a Van full of merchandize, find some promising spot for street selling and start my Japanese street vendor career.
It was, in fact, excellent time for making money in Japan, but very soon I discovered that something simply doesn't work. Something in my way of conduct proved simply disastrous for business. Perhaps it was my inner nausea of the terribly kitsch 'oil paintings' that I was selling (I went to an art college and liked what I considered ‘high art’) or perhaps it was the very problematic relations I had with my partner to business at the time. This way or that I had found myself after three months with a debt of few thousand dollars and a tourist Visa that was coming dangerously near its end.
With a tail between my legs I bashfully returned to the agency where I rented the van and the goods. Two guys were there, looking at me without expression.
Finally one of the spoke. "Don't worry about it" Said the agency boss kindly.
"Out of cash you say? You won't pay us? It doesn't matter. We'll get the money. We have our own ways to find out where your parents live in Israel and we have our ways of charging what is ours. You go now, have a nice day."
"Right…" I lamely stuttered, just nervously realizing what kind of people I’ve been dealing with all this time, "What… what's the option?"
"OK… let's see" the kind hearted gangster was wondering loudly "actually we do need someone to get this storage place a little tidy. You can overstay your Visa, and if you'll come 5 times a week for one year we can consider everything settled." He said and looked at me with his generous eyes.
I thanked him for the offer. I said I'll call him later in the evening, went out to the street and started walking. It was early fall in Tokyo and cool wind was passing through the streets, blowing leaves around. In my mind’s eye I saw a very bleak picture – me in the storeroom, every day with those two schmucks. I did not want it. I really didn't.
And suddenly I had a vision. A kind of day dreaming, while still walking on the pavement. In my vision God was revealed to me - the mighty entity that controls my destiny. God looked like a violent and very pissed off gangster.
"Do you think anyone is interested in what you like? You miserable nerd." Said god in contempt. He might have had a Russian accent.
"Don't you get that your little life is in my control?" went on the mighty creator and stuck out his hairy chest. "I tell you…" he threateningly growled – and suddenly I noticed that God had a gun in his hand – "swallow the frog down!" he shouted and aimed the barrel to my trembling temple. “Do you want to live? Compromise then, suffer a little, do what you told to do, or I’ll blow now your fucking little brain!" He was serious in a way only a gangster God could be.
Suddenly a small voice came up in my frightened heart. Small but determined.
"I won't" I said to my creator. "Fuck you."
The Lord gave me an attentive evil eye.
I went on talking, trying to get over my inner shaking "If that’s the price, I'm ready to end the story here and now. Shoot, you asshole! Squeeze the trigger, so-called 'mighty' Lord."
God looked at me with his penetrating eyes, put down the gun and the vision disappeared.
And then came another vision. At the beginning there were no images or sounds. Just one clear question – 'What do I really want?' 'What is it that I always wanted but just never dared doing?'
"That is the source." I felt.
Soon images came. Me on the street, painted in psychedelic colors and wearing weird clothes. There are people watching me. I am moving, shifting. I'm connected deeply and joyfully to my body and the crowd is attracted, affected, by my joy. I am funny, radiating a kind of infecting inner amusement. People pay me generously. I do what I love to do the most. I'm healing myself; I'm earning my living in the most dignified way I can imagine.
The vision ended and I was left with tears in my eyes, walking through the streets of Tokyo.
Now see, there was just this little problem with applying this nice spiritual vision. In my dreams I was this athletic highly expressive man equipped with a supple body. But in reality I was a clumsy creature, extremely shy and without any experience of performance.
The artist in my dream radiated a kind of extrovert fun, relaxation and warm hearted atmosphere.
But I, in reality, was radiating only one thing – 'I'm a weirdo introvert' image.
But I was 25, the inner madman wanted desperately to come out and something in me wanted badly to heal. I enjoyed finding my inner courage and resourcefulness. And that feeling from the dream, were I feel totally at home in my body, expressing the ecstasy to other people, was haunting me.
I decided. The dream will be reality. I called the agency, and told them I decline their offer but will pay them the debt 'soon'.
That very day I asked a Japanese friend to show me some stretching and strength exercises. She also knew some basic mime moves. I bought a cheap skip rope in the nearby supermarket and started working.
In the morrow I was already out and about the city looking for make-up and colorful show wear.
Someone gave me a huge ghetto-blaster that, in the habit of that affluent time, was left in some parking lot.
And in the evening I was on street with my Japanese friend. We did some folly that I am ashamed to remember. I can't remember the painful details but the overall picture was absolutely pathetic.
Once we were done, another street performer mime who was working nearby, approached us. I was touched by the gesture of a fellow artist.
"Listen" he said dryly in a pleasant Canadian accent "I've a black belt in Karate. I also have good connection with the Yakuza around here. If I see you again performing, I'll break your leg. Are we clear?"
But I came home feeling great. We did it! We earned 1000 Yen! (About 6 Euro) It is happening! I'm finding a way that I love earning my money!
And I was back, alone, every day on the street (but not to street where the violent and well connected mime was working). And every time I tried some new ideas.
My first experiments were terrible. The show didn't have a clear theme. I was badly made up and dressed up in rags. People seemed to give me money, not so much out of artistic appreciation but rather out of compassion for that lost weirdo foreigner.
But in my heart I still remembered the vision of freedom in the body and I did not give up. That was what I really wanted, to stop being a person who solely identified with his confused thoughts. I wanted to get in contact with my flowing, cool, sexual energies of my body, to share those energies in an artistic and fun way.
I trained every day. I ran, skipped a rope. I stretched and worked in front of the mirror with all kind of ideas that came up. I lifted weights.
I was constantly on the lookout for new ideas that I can bring to my show on the street. And I went every day to work.
Many friends at the guesthouse where I
was staying started giving me the kind of look reserved for the insane. Really, the clumsy strange guy that thought himself to be a street artist and came back home every day finished with just few cents in his pockets gave all signs that the cuckoo was taking over the nest of the human inside.
After almost two months something started to change. My show crystallized, I learned how to make up my face in more attractive ways and found some cool outfits.
I also found a little trick – The Bird Warbler – which is a tiny whistle hidden in the mouth and capable of producing all kind of squeaks without apparent movement of the mouth.
My character was a kind of crazy robot or a toy. Someone that looked as if he came straight out of the pages of a Manga magazine - the popular Japanese comics.
I was moving in response to money given to me or I would invite onlookers and play with them. I had few jokes that I always repe
ated, but I also improvised a lot.
One of my inner mantras was – 'what makes those Japanese laugh?' going deep into this simple question brought about many realizations. On the Japanese society, on human nature and about myself.
I started meditating regularly. I found out that the peace and relaxation which I experience in meditation are big help with working in front of an audience.
And then one day I realized that people give me their money not out of pity or compassion but because they enjoy! Enjoying me!
After half a year I started feeling like a professional. I earned well. I got few jobs on TV. I had some money for saving and going out.
One lovely spring day I went to the agency owner who set up his stall in Askusa, the old quarter of Tokyo. I was there doing my show as well.
I handed him the remaining debt. He looked at me stunned. OK, to be fair, perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I was
made up as a cartoon figure, but I like to think that I somehow touched his soul.
He looked in the eyes and said a words I will never forget. "You are a Man!"
I said thank you nicely. I think he meant that he honors me being a man of my word, returning his money. But for me his response had a deeper meaning. I was really grateful. Without him nothing would have happened. He was for me a huge source of inspiration. An incentive for self-discovery. For starting and getting in touch with whom I really was.
A transformation happened. I was shading away my old clumsy self. I enjoyed my unlikely success so much! My walls, in real life, started to melt down. I enjoyed more and more being in the body. I enjoyed moving, walking, running and expressing. I have found something incredibly valuable. But I felt the search just started.