Yixingtianxia #3 – Days 1-5

Yeah I need to put these out more often. Since its pretty long I am splitting up the 9 days into a few sections. So these were written the 3rd week I was in China this summer. Looking back… I seem to repeat myself a lot which means I haven’t fully understood what I am talking about myself. I hope through writing and reading what I have written I can comprehend and then practice what I have learned.

Sunday: June 19, 2011 – Day 1

I feel horrible. I don’t want to be here. I feel like I’ve ‘learned my lesson’. I feel so much pressure here to do everything from my mom, the instructors, the others here. Everyone seems so happy and excited to be here.

Tuesday: June 21, 2011 – Day 3

Last night I woke up at around 1 am and told my mom “when are we leaving?” After we ran in the morning we discussed with the teacher the idea that I would just do whatever I felt like this week. The idea was to make it as if I was home already, since I already said I felt like I could maintain this lifestyle at home/school (where no one would be forcing me to do anything). My mom wanted to continue doing the workshop for her own sake so this way we both could benefit. If the schedule said lajin and I wanted to do it I could. This simple change made everything better. The funny thing was that I did most of the things on the schedule without any annoyance while the day before I was extremely homesick, anxious, worried, and not wanting to be here.  Just by letting me decide what activities I would do, I felt instantly better about being here. Just thinking about how simple it was and how I felt after was so crazy. I realize this is a good example of the power of self-motivation and working/learning for yourself. When my mom tells me to do something, I won’t want to do it. Similarly if someone else was making me do something I wouldn’t want to do it. But if I decide for myself to do the same thing, it is a totally different result.

Thursday: June 23, 2011 – Day 5

Today I woke up sweating all around my head/neck like usual and soreness all over. I thought I would get up earlier to run at like 4:30 but it was 5:30 and I ended up waiting for everyone like normal. During the run, I felt relaxed like before but my right thigh (on the outside) was hurting so I knew I had to keep running. Afterwards I decided to run longer and ended up with 4 more laps. I slowly was able to increase my pace without becoming exhausted. This was both enlightening and exciting. Knowing that running itself would slowly decrease the tightness and pain in my back made me happy and gave me a reason to keep going through the pain when I wouldn’t have done so before. Whenever I start running I feel like something is dragging my back and limiting my steps, usually with some extreme tightness in my lower back. After a while I don’t have that feeling anymore and feel I what I think should be normal (which is at peace with no pain or discomfort).

In the last stretch I decided to really try to run and felt so relieved that I was able to do so. I really could feel myself moving forward. It felt like flying or riding in a car with the wind in your face. Of course by then my heart started beating faster and I felt like I was really running again. I cried tears of joy. To explain how I felt was just that running before seemed impossible and full of pain. Then I felt nothing but peace, both in my mind and my body. Of course this running isn’t what I came here for but it is good to know I can improve on my cardiovascular exercise.

Now when I la-jin I’m not scared to ask the teachers to help put more weight on my legs. I’ve had a few (3 so far) experiences where t I really couldn’t feel any pain at all (which means I’m improving!). Both the teacher and I were really happy about that. I have been able to do it for 20 minutes without much pain and 2 weights on my lower leg (sometimes even one on the other leg). At home it was hard to do la jin even without the weights.

I understand how important it is to be constantly moving (meaning not sitting down all day). When my mom told me to get up every hour to do exercises or whatever I would not listen. Now that my mind is open I myself can/will just get up whenever I feel uncomfortable or feel like I am sitting down too long. This might be even less than 30 minutes. I need to really get out of my mind the idea that I can’t move. I lost all the muscle memory from so many simple things like bending down, twisting at the waist, sports activities, and stretches since I stopped trying because it hurt. After a while these simple things don’t even cross your mind; it is as if I can only move in certain directions. Now I know I need to just do it – basically the more you move the better it gets and the more it hurts the more you need to move.

Funny things happen when your heart and mind changes. A lot of things that may have seemed annoying before or you would think to be annoying to other people don’t affect you. Being here and learning so much about how to live life and be healthy has even given me the thought that I should learn Chinese again which was my most hated subject (more than English, writing, history). That may not seem like such a big change to some people. Normally when you let go and give a child freedom then he goes amok or goes overboard with power. Being able to have freedom in this case gave me control (internal locus of control) such that I felt like I had the whole decision on how my life should be like in the present and the future. This ability to control what I once that was impossible (through my own experience with treating disease, friends and family, and of course doctors) gives me great strength and does and should bring me joy that I never had.

  • I know I will maintain this lifestyle (although maybe not as intense) such that I am guaranteed to succeed and be healthy.
  • I will definitely take time to sleep earlier (definitely before 12 am and most likely 10 pm), wake up at 5-6 am and run for at least 30 min (mostly likely 1 hour).
  • I know the importance of meditation now so that will be 15 minutes to 30 minutes.
  • I see the importance of pai da and plan to at least do it on my whole body for the short 9×9 times duration.
  • My favorite exercise la jin is something I will have to do because of the profound effect it has on my back.

I am able to bend forward and back. It gives me a light feeling in my back and legs so that I can walk/run with ease just after just 15 minutes when before my back would hurt the whole day (with nothing that I could do about it). 30 minutes (15 minutes for each leg) is really not that long.  If I take a break from studying then surely 15 minutes could be used to do that instead of using the computer or watching television. Of course I could multitask but I have to make sure that I spend time only to do those things because while the activity itself is important, it is also important to have no distractions so that you focus and think about yourself and how you need to change. With distractions, it is easy to stop caring and stop earlier. Lastly I will have to try fasting. Whether it is not eating dinner, or not eating meat for dinner, or actually fasting for 1-3 days over a weekend, I am sure I can do it since I have already done it for 5 days. I am definitely not scared of not eating anymore. The mindset that it was so important to get every meal was so powerful, even as a skinny person. Now I know that eating isn’t this insane habit, it is just for our survival. Its common sense; if you are hungry eat if not don’t force yourself to eat more. My parents and especially grandparents worry too much about whether or not their children or even their friends have eaten enough or not. No one is going to starve or miss out on precious nutrients; life has changed.  It is far too easy for people to overeat or eat unhealthy than to be unable to survive. Most people (people who have the ability to have access to this document) can go to the supermarket whenever they want. I understand that having control over ourselves also means having control over our eating habits. This week of doing things on my own so far has been a good test drive of my ability to change my habits and lifestyle through mostly my own actions.

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