The Road to China Lies Through My Heart -- Introduction
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This is my first entry into this travel blog. I really love the title -- it came to mind for me as soon as I decided that my blog needs a name. It’s so true -- the road to China does lie through my heart. This is a very spiritual thing for me. Andrea (AndiPerullo on TravBuddy) agreed to go to China with me only if she could also go to Tibet, so I found a tour that includes a 2-day trip to Lhasa. Initially I just did that so I would not have to be apart from her, since I’ll be in a new place for the first time ever (first time ever without my family, too) and I’m scared. Then, when I looked up some information about Tibet, I realized we are going to a place that’s physically taxing -- Lhasa is at an elevation of over 12,000 feet and that’s difficult to endure if you are in poor health. And yet, I know Tibet is a very spiritual place and that it’s not a coincidence that I’ll be going there. And once I saw that, I realized that I am drawn to Tibet for spiritual reasons as well, one of which is to make me improve my health to be able to accept the spiritual aspect of the place. If I am going to be in poor health, I’m not going to be able to enjoy my trip at all and I won’t be able to open up to the spiritual benefits of it while I’m there. Plus, even if I were just a wide-eyed picture-snapping tourist, I really don’t want to waste precious time being sick while on the trip of a lifetime. This means that I need to begin physically preparing for this trip already, several months before the plane ever leaves the gate for Beijing.
Three levels emerge for me as I think about where I am in life right now, and on which I am and will be experiencing changes: physical, mental, and spiritual. I’ll write a short description of each level here, and in the next entry go into what has actually been happening on each.
When I say ‘physical’, I mean my body. I wrote above about this sense of the physical level above -- the realization that I need to take care of my health and lose weight in order to be able to physically endure varying conditions of China and Tibet in August, as well as the demanding schedule of a 16-day tour. I want to use this blog to record things I am and will be doing in order to improve my health and prepare myself physically for the trip in whatever ways, as well as to record my progress.
This blog is my way of capturing everything I’m going through as I prepare for this trip, as well as a way of making it more organized and more solid. Of course, the trip, for now, is just an idea, and lots of mental planning goes into getting it to become reality. I want to record all my preparations on the mental and maybe level -- about itineraries, tickets, and payments for the tour, as well as learning about China, deciding what to pack and what to leave at home, leaning the language (as I have started to), and everything else I can’t think of right now. I’m putting things like paperwork, buying stuff for the trip, and packing all under the “Mental” heading, because that’s where they stem from.
More about the mental level -- my life has been feeling rather disorganized and lacking in focus lately. School has become a bore (probably because I’m so tired of it and our teachers are just not that inspiring in some of the classes) and I’ve had no energy to study the medicine on my own. I feel that the emergence of the desire to go to China has been in part from a desire to have a goal to work towards. Of course, school has that goal too (it’s called graduation, lol), but I needed something more inspiring than school is right now.
These realizations are coming together because there is an inner pull to change on a greater level. The desire to take a trip to China is only an external manifestation of this inner pull, because this was what I needed to make me realize in what areas of my life I’ve been stagnant and needed changing.
I’ve just gotten out of a 1.5 year relationship and I feel like both the relationship and my getting out of it have been the most incredible sources for transformation for me. I have grown in ways I never could have grown had I not gone through this. I feel like a new life has begun, almost literally, because the end of this relationship represents a death of an old self and the beginning of something new, on a higher level.
Spirituality is essentially the focus of my life. I see every event as meaningful and important, and try to get out of it as much as I can. The decision to go to China is just gigantic, and the spiritual aspect of it is something that ties it all together -- the realization that I need to improve my body and health, and the need to organize my thoughts and put a focus back into my life.
The reason I say that the road to China lies through my Heart is because recently I have realized that the way to be fully present and open up to new levels of being (as well as new people) is by opening my heart. I have begun meditating with the visualization of opening my heart and as a result I began experiencing changes in my understanding of my previous relationship and who I am on a greater scale. Being drawn to go to China has come out of this as well. It truly is a spiritual endeavor for me, as is pretty much everything else in life.