Sunday, May 27, 2007

Me at 30

I usually write about adventures or things about life in Asia that I find odd. I have a lot of experiences with both of these things to talk about but for now, I would just like to talk about being 30. This my reflection about who I am, where I have come from, and where I am going.

I do a lot of self-help, religious work, spiritual work, dream work, and it is this part of myself that I have come to identify as my largest passion in life. I could talk for hours or maybe even days with anybody who would be willing to listen to what I know or be able to teach me what I don’t. In this area, my appetite for knowledge as well as experience seems to be almost bottomless. And in my quest, I have become to identify with a self that exists behind the scenes of my stirring mind or racing body. This is my spirit, soul, my life, or whatever a person wants to call it. It is soft, subtle, and quiet but like water in many ways, always seems to get where it wants to go.

I am of course many other things. For one, I am a person who has been in one way or another, always sick. In my early childhood through my late teens, it was asthma, and it was very painful. But the suffering that it caused me was not without benefit. For instance, it was through my asthma that I had a couple of near death experiences and it was from one of these, when I was 19 years old, that I was able to have a concrete experience of spirit, soul, life or whatever people call it that let me to be able to clearly identify such a part of myself as spirit. Without such a unique feeling of knowing what it was to have this ‘spirit’ go out and leave my body, I might not have ever been able to really identify with something so subtle and quiet.

And I was also a drug addict, to many people’s surprise, and will always be an addict in recovery, and still have an addict mentality of sorts; though it no longer destroys my life like it use too but often uplifts it. Not only was my childhood plagued by drugs, and asthma but other things too like problems at school and at home, and just with accepting myself. Actually, I always felt like I had suffered many things in childhood due to circumstances that were out of my control but I now realize that I very well might have suffered just as much later by situations that were in my control, and maybe even because they were in my control the suffering would have been over much longer and painful periods. I have no doubt that this is true now. And I am no longer sour about my childhood as I once had been but look upon it with a taste of indifference. I know it was hard at times but also know that life could have been just as hard later on in other days in other ways.

I started off my early 20’s having been in trouble with the law, reeling from an NDE, and recovering from a drug addiction. I also had no friends anymore as I left my old life behind starting over in a new city, started a new school again, was working and trying to be the best I could be, which actually wasn’t much. By far worst of all, I was mourning the loss of my father who I did not know was going to leave me. Even today, it is still the biggest tragedy in my life but I am not alone in such affairs and I keep on going.

Year by year things got better but considering where I started off at, my twenties were not that bad, especially after twenty-three on. And so I am now in my thirties. I am a person who has traveled and worked on three different continents, attended many fine schools, and have been able to learn from many great teachers, my family, and friends, and others. I am employed as an English teacher in Korea, but this is just a means to my end and not my final goal.

I plan on going back to graduate school and getting a Master’s degree in non-profit management. By doing this, it will help me to achieve my goal of being able to work in the field of social justice, aid, and improvement. I feel like I want to dedicate the next stage of my life to working in this field to help others help themselves. I often ask myself what is more rewarding than a life of giving and decided this is how I want to live such a life. I will continue to improve myself along the way, travel, and have adventures, but I will also be giving to others what I think I can give. This is my plan for the future. I am looking for friends along the way that can help me achieve my goals, if you have any ideas or suggestions for me, I would love to hear what you have to say, good or bad. But as for now, I think I have found something inside of myself that is very satisfying. I have come to accept my past and have a plan for the future but more and more have learnt how to just live out of the moment and all that it brings. I might have taken a long time, 30 years, to settle on a path to tread but as I look back, I have been inching my way towards this life step by step and year after year. I look forward to the future, to my successes and failures and unique turns life will bring, and of course as always the adventures and experiences.

Lastly, I am adding a pic of me at the beach this weekend. It was nighttime and they had blue floodlights on the waves, which created a really cool effect so I thought I would to share it. Also, people can see how I look at 30 but, well, not really because the pic is small and fuzzy. :-)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

living on the edge

Everybody was putting on body harnesses. The people were a little more alert and standing in attention. The anticipation and tension filled the air. For most people, it would be their first bungee jump. I remembered what that was like but this time I was calmer. Maybe that is why I was the one that coolly spoke up as they started to put the body harness on me saying, “no, I want to go by my feet”. Other people heard me; a few guys already in harnesses turned towards one and me also spoke up, “Yeah, I want to go by my feet too.” We waited to the side and then they attached wraps around our feet, and our feet only.

These wraps were oddly enough just wrapped around a few times and then attached by velcro. No big, deal I thought. I am sure they knew what they are doing. Anyway, I would be jumping over a river, even if the cord breaks or the ankle harnesses slip, I will just get wet and that’s all, I thought. In fact, I wanted to get wet.

On the rickety skeletonized elevator ride to the top of the tower, people were now disturbingly nervous, a little shaky, and jittery. Soon 15 of us were now up at the top, hurdled behind a gate. This was the first of many groups that came on our trip that day but still nobody had jumped. The man comes up to us and says, “Who wants to go first?” The jaws drop, eyes widen and people slowly move their heads from side to side looking at each other. I smiled a little bit and said, “I’ll go”.

It seems volunteering was not ever easier. He didn’t argue with me or give me anytime to retract my somewhat courageous and somewhat spur of the moment decision and next thing I knew went from being towards the back of the group to peering over the ledge. I was going to jump over the edge of the tower over 50 meters in the air, go flailing towards the water and right before I hit the river come to a stop splashing down lightly. I was suppose to get my chest and head dunked before the last bit of the bungee grabbed tight yanking me back up towards the platform.

It didn’t happen. Seems that going first, they don’t always know quite how much the bungee is going to stress and stretch that day. You know, weather conditions and amount of strain on the bungee make different lengths for different days. They had weighed us before jumping and marked our weight on paper and mine was accurate so that wasn’t the problem. It was just that the operator erred on the side of caution for the first jumper of the day. It could have been worse, instead of a barely missing the water, I could have gone all the way under. Hahaha. It was a fun jump anyway.

The rest of the day was just as big of a trip. I visited a waterfall and later rode dirt buggies around a pretzel like dirt racetrack until I stalled/broke/went off the track with my vehicle. We also rode bicycles by the rivers side for an hour, and had a simple but nice feast to tame my hungry stomach from the day’s activities. All and all, it was an ‘adventure in Korea’ and my kind of day.