Rekindled

I ran 17 laps over the course of two hours, I was winded, but hardly exhausted. These were the days I lived for. I was in first grade when I first participated in the Terry Fox run, an annual international charity track event meant to raise funds for cancer research in honor of Canadian hero, Terry Fox. This event is where I believe my relationship with sports or athletics in general really began, racing my friends across the long stretches of the track until we collapsed on the grassy ditch to catch our breath, just to do it again countless times.
 
For the next three years, my passion for sports grew even further. At school I participated in badminton, dodgeball, fitness, swimming, everything they had to offer. I was by no means a stellar student-athlete; outside of school my childhood consisted of next to no physical activity, having busy parents, no siblings, and neighbors I was unfamiliar with, my outdoor activities consisted solely of digging holes in the backyard. All of that aside, I still loved physical activity, making sure to fill my recess with as much tag and soccer as I possibly could.
 
In fourth grade, however, I found that my affinity to athletics had shifted towards food instead, and as I slowly gained an appreciation for eating, I slowly lost interest and ability to participate in sports. I began an exponential weight gain that lasted, thankfully, only five years, but took a tremendous toll on my body. At my peak in seventh grade, I would strain myself climbing the stairs, I’d wear shirts two sizes too big to conceal everything I could, and I was eating a family-sized bag of chips every day. So to sum things up, things weren’t looking too hot for me. In those five years, my relationship with athletics had become estranged and I intentionally belittled sports as primitive to somehow justify to myself my current condition. However, being the aspiring hypocrite that I was, I still tried desperately to get onto every sports team offered at my school, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, whatever team sport that would have me, but unsurprisingly, every time, I was nowhere to be seen on the lists.
 
Even after I got my weight problem under control and ended up going too far in the other direction I found the same issues with sports. I had no strength, no energy, no agility to participate in any activity apart from golf, but I was awful at golf so that was out of the question for me anyway. In the last four years, I’m proud to say I’ve finally gotten my weight under control, I no longer count every calorie that enters my body out of fear of losing control again. I know what went wrong and how to avoid those same mistakes.
 
Basketball is where I’ve been able to express this change the most. My freshman year I had 12 minutes of playing time the entire season. I can’t blame my coach for any of that, I was 6’4 inches of skin and bone, I didn’t have the strength to shoot a basketball from the free-throw line, and I could jump maybe a foot off the ground. The past few years, I’ve grown taller and stronger and I’ve trained relentlessly. I’m by no means the MVP I had hoped I would be. But now being one of the main contributors to my basketball team after my tenuous past with sports, I can finally look back and feel proud about my athletic ability, something that once meant so much to me, for the first time in nearly 10 years.

Daily Mandala Challenge: Everything You Need To Know About This New Self-Care Trend :)

A Mandala is a symbolic spiritual geometric design which, when reflected on, has the ability to bring out profound inner transformation.  The Mandala is self-expression in the design, meant to represent the universe. The first evidence of Buddha Mandala art dates back to the first century. The Mandala is rooted in Buddhism but later became present in Hinduism, new age spirituality and other religions. Each Mandala has significance and represents an aspect of wisdom and is supposed to remind the meditator of a guiding principle. The Mandala’s purpose is to help transform ordinary minds into enlightened ones with the assistance of deep healing. 

The “Mandala a day” challenge was created by Australian artist Elyse Lauthier and it is now showing up in select areas across the world. Drawing, painting or somehow creating a Mandala a day helps express yourself creatively in ways you wouldn’t normally. It promotes self awareness and Chakra alignments. 

The Challenge is simple: Each day you make a Mandala and simply let your creativity flow, embracing your originality. Creating Mandala is therapeutic because you can express your feelings through art. The Mandala a day challenge is a form of meditation and art.  Mandala’s take “The meditator on a wordless journey into the minds deepest mysteries” said in Eastern traditions. 

Another way to fully grasp Mandala’s intentions is to work/meditate with them. I would recommend investing in Mandala Source Book by David Fontana and Lisa Tenzin-Dolma, as it gives you specific guidance while approaching the artworks. The book includes 150 Mandala’s grouped in four sections: beginning Mandala meditation, healing mandalas, nature mandalas, And other mandalas. This book is a good reference for your own Mandala challenge or meditations. 

Obtaining Mandala mindfulness is a path of self discovery. This challenge challenges us to open up and learn more not only about our conscious minds but also our unconscious minds as we remain unaware of the deeper mysteries of our inner selves through Mandala realignment.

Image from Pinterest.com

Wandering

Let me be your beacon,

let me be your guiding light.

I know you’re scared, tired, and broken,

but I’m here to hold you tight.

I know you hide your fears from me,

you get ashamed when you let them show,

but babe,

I’ve cried in your arms many times,

so please just let me know

what’s going on in that beautiful mind of yours,

your wicked, twisted, brain

filled with lies and awful times,

but babe let me be your change.

I just want to love you,

you’ve been through so god damn much,

your beautiful soul deserves the world you know,

I wish you thought the same.

I’m sorry for everyone who hurt you,

you’re scared to let me in because you fear I’ll do the same.

Everyone you’ve loved has done you wrong,

but darling I’m not the same.

So let me be your beacon,

let me be your guiding light.

I know you’re scared, tired, and broken,

but I’m here to hold you tight.

Photo via: searchengineland.com

Remember

By no standards are my Chinese skills any more than proficient. After moving away at the age of 12, things started to fade for me very quickly. After six months I forgot how to write; after a year, my reading; then finally, my identity.

By the time I entered the eighth grade, I had been thoroughly white-washed. Granted, I am only half Chinese, but I was raised to embrace my Chinese background, to be proud of my heritage. But it was slipping away.

I went back to China the summer before I entered my Freshman year of High School. I wasn’t able to handle the street-food, my 8-year-old cousin was speaking better than I was, and I had lost a connection with the country that raised me.

Before I left my Grandmother repeated something to me that she had told me before I moved away. “Remember,” she said simply, “Remember where you come from.” When she said this, I realized it was a plea for me to clasp onto my cultural identity that was on the cusp of being extinguished. I had a life in China, friends, family, and a part of myself that never seems to board the flight to LAX when my visits end.

So I listened to her, I pushed myself to retain the identity I found in being Chinese, I acknowledged the comments of being only half, being unable to communicate, but they don’t bother me. When I listen to songs from my childhood, when I go back to visit, when I speak my native tongue, no matter how poor it is, I feel like myself again.

There are certain things in everyone’s life that hold invaluable, unspeakable significance to their sense of self, to their state of being, that without it, they feel like a bulb without its filament. To me that is the ability to speak in Chinese. As soon as the words escape me, I feel that connection again, I remember the people, taste the food, experience the culture. I am eternally grateful to my Grandmother for what she instilled in me because I know that at my lowest moments I always have something to lean on.

Happy Birthday Derek

panic

Of course it happened while I was walking up.

Every breath of O2 coming in through my nose leaving with more force than the one before.

I wondered what it was that boiled my blood.

I know everyone thinks mind over matter but what about when your mind is the problem?

What do you do then?

The silence down the line only made my heart beat louder

With every step I took my thoughts raced a little faster

How did I paint myself this?

For what is the world with no one to share it?

Breath

Heart

Girl

Boy

Breath

Heart

Girl

Boy

Breath

Heart

Breath

Flight

For what is the world?

The silence broke and mended me all in one 

Thank you

Headspace you’d like to call it

I see it differently

I know everyone thinks mind over matter but what about when your mind is the problem?

Extraordinary

This world is beautiful

I love this view

photo credit: pinterest.com

homecoming…

After three months wandering around back home, we went back to campus for a brand new school year. 

After more than one year recovering from the Thomas fire, we finally had an all-school camping trip in the first week.

After the protracted and exhausting travel from the other side of the Pacific Ocean, the busy packing unpacking and packing back, putting everything in order, meeting new people, I got so tired but still tried to make myself look energetic.

An opportunity came up, a chance I could escape from all of this. 

Then I was on the bus with my day pack which had my lunch sandwich in it sitting beside me, my huge camping bag with a sleeping pad, bag, clothes and almost everything I need sitting under me in the luggage hold. 

3 days without my phone, what a challenge. My phone became a part of me, like an external organ, it stayed with me every single moment during the summertime. 

“I will be fine,” I kept telling myself before we departed. 

But as it turned out, I was really more than fine without it. I really enjoyed the time spent with my friends. We played card games, went to the tide pools, played volleyball on the beach, watched the sunset, ate s’ mores, brushed our teeth in the dark and so on. 

These days, with no phone, feeling isolated from the rest of the world, but closer to what is really around me. 

photo credit: trailhead.gsnorcal.org

looking back

tonight i have been feeling extra reminiscent.

i saw a picture from where i used to live and i couldn’t help but think, don’t get me wrong i am so grateful to be where i am and to have met the people i have, but i can’t help but think what it would be like if my mom never got re-married.

what if i still lived half with my dad and half with my mom? if i never came here at all?

i’ve never thought about the house since we moved out, but now that i am, i miss it.

i miss the holes in the walls separating the living room and the hallway where the old buddha statue sat on the ground.

i miss the CD player in my sister’s room and i miss when she would make me dance in front of her cool high-school friends.

i miss when my siblings would get along and when my grandma would still cook for us during the holidays.

i miss the little cabinet in the hallway across from my dad’s room that held all my shitty clothes he would find for me.

i miss the trampoline and my brothers old drum set that was in the garage.

i miss when my dad would take me to blockbuster, when he would let me ride my sisters’ electric scooters, and when we would sneak into the elementary school down the street to play handball.

i even miss the pasta he would make every single night, the scratchy popcorn ceiling, and being forced to sit on the floor in the living room and watch avatar with my dad.

i miss my family, i miss my old neighbors.

i miss my family, my sisters, my brother, my dad, my grandma and her boyfriend (rest in paradise by the way, marvin). like i said, feeling a little extra-reminiscent tonight.

i miss being young. shit! one day soon, i’m going to miss being the age i am now.

how do i make the time stop?

photo credit: pinterest.com