Saturday, February 14, 2015

Rough Times Bring Beautiful Wonders (Taiwan 4)

New Years Day we decided to head to the top of the country to explore a geological park. The park was along the northern coast looking out over the Pacific Ocean. It was a bit of a windy day but the temperature was perfect for hiking outside.The scenery was gorgeous! I have never seen a coast like this before. We hiked along the touristy area for a while and then made our way to higher ground where fewer people went. I was listening to music as we were hiking and thinking because the night before I had gone through something of a breakup. Basically a guy told me that the reason he couldn't develop feelings for me was because he had feelings for my unavailable roommate. Ouch! Yes, it hurt and I did not get much sleep. (like 4 hours of sleep). I fell asleep crying after getting off the phone with him. I told Daina what had happened so she was a very supportive of letting me have my quiet time as we walked. I was trying not to be in a bad mood and to be honest I really wasn't. I was more contemplating my life and what had happened in the past and how I wanted to change so that I wouldn't feel like I was repeating the same trials over and over again.

I started comparing trials to the waves that were beating against the coast we were hiking on. The waves were sometimes really low and light against the surface. But when the winds picked up the waves were bigger and hit harder against the rocks. Now the entire time we were walking around I was amazed at the landscape and the beauty of it. The coast was very porous from the waves hitting it so often and I realized that it was because of all the waves coming in that the surface was formed and shaped to be so beautiful. Had there been no waves the rocks would have been flat and dull. It was all the unique shapes in the rocks that made the rocks so amazing.

We have to allow the waves of life to come in and help to shape us into something beautiful. It's how we grow and form who we are in the world. While breakups are not fun I definitely have learned what I want to do going forward with my life and I can say that I have been changed for the better.

Meditation time
It's skull rock

Thursday, February 5, 2015

New Year, New Me (Taiwan 3)

I absolutely loved being in Taiwan for New Years. The great thing about that country is they really don't like to drink to the point of getting drunk, if they even drink at all. So it was a very sober New Years out in the streets which made me feel so safe. The other thing I loved was the feeling of community and respect for those around you. Even though there were thousands of people in the streets waiting for the fireworks and scrambling to get on the metro, they still were all very kind and cordial to each other. It was a refreshing change from the city life I feel in the U.S. Maybe there is something to this idea of karma they believe in after all. Hmm. Anyways, Taiwan shoots fireworks out of Taipei 101 which is amazing looking. After the fireworks were over, I wandered the streets for a while watching the various street performers and concerts going on around the area. It was a great place for people watching and I felt a spirit of newness coming into my life as well. I've set some new goals and had already started working on them prior to the new year beginning so I know they will be part of my life this year. I really think 2015 is going to be a great year for me and I loved that I was able to spend it in Taiwan.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Thirty, Flirty and Thriving (Taiwan 2)

Happy Birthday to me! Today I turned 30 and to celebrate I spent the day in Taiwan at the Taipei Zoo with all of the cuddly animals. Now Taiwan is very proud of the fact that they own their baby Panda and not China. The zoo is huge and it was such a gorgeous day out that the walk was lovely.

I couldn't believe how big these leaves were. Huge!

That evening we met up with Daina for dinner in Taipei 101 which is the second tallest building in the world (it was the tallest for a little while until Dubai finished their building). Still, this building was tall and the higher up you went you could feel the building move with the wind. It was crazy! They built it that way to withstand wind and earthquakes. Dinner was amazingly delicious. Of course, we decided to eat dinner first at Krispy Kreme donuts. Yum!


 I feel good for being 30 and I have a feeling that this is going to be my year. It helped to be celebrating in Taiwan with friends. Making it a memorable 30th Birthday.

Going Through the Motions (Taiwan 1)

While in Taiwan we had the opportunity to stay overnight at a monastery. It was one of the highlights of my trip. It felt like going on a retreat of meditation and relaxation and was really a great way to immerse myself in the culture of Buddhism. While staying at the monastery we participated in a morning worship service with the monks. It felt very odd to me at first to be bowing down to Buddha but I soon got over it as I was doing everything that was required to participate in the service. The standing when we needed to stand. Bowing when we needed to bow. Kneeling when it was time. But I had a major problem. I didn't really know what was being said. The prayer book they gave me was all in Chinese. I couldn't read it! I was going through all of the motions of worship but wasn't actually worshiping. I changed my focus of meditation instead on praying to my Heavenly Father for His help and guidance in my life.

As I was reflecting later on this experience I thought about how sometimes we go through the motions of our religion without really feeling the power behind it. How many times have you taken the sacrament and not really thought about what it is you are partaking of? How many prayers have been said that were just repetitive of the words we always say? Sometimes it's hard to know why we are doing some of the things we do at church but we do them because we are expected to. I think it's important to not only do the things we should be doing but also learning to really embrace and internalize them. If you find yourself doing something and you don't understand why, research it. Pray to know why you are doing it. Study it out so that instead of just going through the motions you are actually internalizing it and connecting to it at a much deeper level.

Cute little Buddha

Raise your hands like Buddha!

Daina, Kimber and I with the man who founded the monastery.

Make a wish and then ring the bell It's sure to come true.

Big Buddha

Buddha Land