Energetic Information, Receiving Gifts, Tiny Scooters, Tickling Tummies, the Happiest Family & the 1st Sunrise
Oh boy! So much to share again!! :) First, though, Happy 12/12/12!!! :-) Gosh, I know I have much to share from Beijing, Zhengzhou and Yunnan….and I’m still going to start with where I have recently been. Gosh, have any of you been to Guangxi Province, particularly the Yangshuo and Xingping area, or by Erhai Lake in Dali, Yunnan, or the little remote village of Nuodeng in the Yunnan mountains? Oh it is magnificently beautiful in all these places! As for Yangshuo, many of you have probably seen pics of this area as the scenery is quite famous and is on many Chinese paintings. Also, the 20 RMB (Chinese money) has a scene from this area…I’ve even been to that specific spot that’s painted on the 20 RMB note :).
Energetic Information ~ “LuAn has arrived!”
So before I flew to Guilin from Xiamen in Fujian Province, I had that opportunity to speak with the students in LuAn’s (Prof Keller’s) class at Xiamen University that I mentioned in the last update. Afterwards LuAn and I went out for a yummy vegetarian dinner and shared about so many things. At one point she was telling me about her many travels and adventures in India. We were sharing about the joy of adventuring abroad, being in a new place and how traveling has a way of easily opening our spirits to the unknown, to receive the unexpected magic and care and delightful surprises from the Universe. She told me about a time when she was in India with her former husband. At one point her husband was in a neighboring village and she decided to go find him. Her local friends told her how to take a bus to that town…and that’s all she knew. She had no idea how she would find him once she got there. And in fact, she hadn’t even thought about doing this, until many of her local women friends suggested she have an adventure and go find him. “Okay!:),” she thought, and off she went! Well, when she arrived and was dropped off, she realized she could be a bit fearful or nervous being dropped off in a new unknown place like this, or, instead she could have a very different experience. As she stepped off the bus, she chose to relax. She was consciously aware that as she planted both feet into the ground, an energetic message of “Lu An has arrived” was slowly or swiftly making its way out throughout the town, subtly but surely organizing her arrival and proceeding events. Her job was to relax, be conscious and be open to being received. Whether it took a few minutes or hours for the outer manifestation of this communication to come full circle back to her, didn’t matter as the message was being delivered, and she could relax and enjoy. Well, just then a jolly, handsome Indian man approached her with jet black shiny hair, bright eyes, a stunning, friendly smile and with his wonderful head-bobbing and Hindi accent, he asked, “Madame, Hello. How may I help you? Who are you looking for?” She told him her husband’s name and he smiled and said, “Okay, then you come with me; we will find him together.” And they proceeded to go all around the hilly town together having a delightful conversation…until they did indeed find her husband. :)
Well I love this story she shared! And I especially loved it as I was about to go to a whole new part of China in which I didn’t know anyone. I was flying from Xiamen to Guilin, Guangxi Province the very next day and then going on to the town of Yangshuo. But before I left, my dear friend Hai Dan came to pick me up for a quick lunch before going to the airport. And, guess who we ran into on our way out? Rolph, that very young “old” man from Sweden!! HaHa!! He laughed so delightedly as he had just mentioned me to the person he was chatting with, turned around and there I was with Hai Dan!! What a fun surprise for us all!! So we ended up enjoying lunchtime all together once more before I left :)
Message Received ~ Kailun is Here!
So back to my point, after our delicious lunch and loving farewells, I hopped on my plane to fly to Guilin, Guangxi Province. I had a vague idea on how to get to the town of Yangshuo (my destination and about a 2-3 hour trip from Guilin), I knew I could ask people for directions and, remembering LuAn’s story, I also knew I could relax. Well, once off the plane, I headed out to the curb to get a taxi for the local bus station. Yet as I was walking towards the door, I happened to look at the woman behind the information desk to the right of the door. She happened to look up, our eyes met and she smiled and said, “Ni yao qu nali?” “Where would you like to go?” I told her I was going to the Guilin bus station to catch the bus to Yangshuo. She smiled and said in Chinese, “Well, you can take this blue bus right out here for only 20 yuan; get off at the first stop and from there take a taxi to the bus station for only 10 yuan. Or you can take a taxi directly to the bus station for 100 yuan.” Wow! She just saved me a bunch of money. I thanked her and happily walked out to the blue bus, paid my 20 yuan and hopped on. So I relaxed and when at the first stop, I gathered my things to hop off. The young fellow in front of me leaned over to the bus driver on his way out, asking about how to get to the bus station I wanted to go to. “Oh, perfect!” I thought, and then I tapped his shoulder, smiled and asked if he’d like to get a taxi together. “Sure!” he said. Well getting a taxi with a native is actually much easier, I’ve found, than trying to flag one down on my own. Some taxi drivers are a bit shy of foreigners, fearing that their English isn’t good enough or that our Chinese will be too hard to understand…but with a native, oh it’s pretty easy to get a taxi in a jiffy! :) So we got our taxi and sped along to the bus station…and then, this young man proceeded to walk with me to the ticket counter to make sure I bought the “express bus” ticket which would be a straight shot to Yangshuo, versus the local bus which meanders all over bumpy roads making various local stops. Oh how sweet and very helpful of him!! And then, when I thought he’d surely had enough of “taking care of” this foreigner, he walked me over to make sure I found and got on the right bus! Gosh, so helpful!! :)
So at 5:15 the bus left, I arrived in Yangshuo around 7pm, and checked into my hostel. I didn’t have any set plans, nor had I done any prior research on this area as to where exactly I wanted to go or what I wanted to see. I just knew I was drawn to this place and was open to give, receive and experience the Land and waters there. I also, drawing on LuAn’s story, knew that the energetic message of “Kailun lai le!” “Karen is here!” was subtly and surely making it’s way through the ground and life forms here, and if I relaxed, I would be shown and experience what I came here for. :) So…with that in mind, the first task for me was to once again explore the yummy foods available and enjoy yet another delicious Chinese meal. YAY!
Trust and Receiving Gifts
Also, before arriving here in Yangshuo, I had talked to one of my friends in the States, Chuck. He’s a clairvoyant and I was talking with him about my travels. When he looked at my time in Yangshuo from what he calls a “reading state,” he saw there was something very special I could receive here. It could be easy to slip by it, but he said as long as I stayed grounded in my heart, followed my intuition and what “felt right,” I could likely encounter this special gift or gifts. Wow…okay, I thought, and I then planted this internal reminder to, when making choices, to check in at an embodied level, what was feeling right. So with these information and awareness, I meandered through the streets to find my grumbling tummy a good meal. I went into one place…but it “felt” off, so I left and went down another small, bright and warmly lit alley way. I stopped at one friendly and delicious-looking Taiwanese place, chose it and walked in.
While eating and chatting with the waitresses and the Taiwanese owner, I started sharing of my love of hiking and backpacking. At this point, a fellow who had been busily typing away on his iPad at the corner window table, perked his head up, smiled and said he too loved hiking and knew many places in this area. He’s an outdoor guide and could give me some tips on places I would like to see that weren’t the main tourist attraction sites. Well, at this point, I had already picked up my dinner tray and was sitting across from him at his table ready to learn. :) Many people in China travel with big tour groups when going to a new place. While this often appears to be the “safe” option, in many instances, it can also be disappointing, as many tours are rushed, crowded, and people are shuttled from one tourist attraction site to another, finally to head home with a sense of only having seen a superficial glimpse of what a place truly has to offer. (This is why so many of these young women I’m meeting are so THRILLED to be out traveling on their own and having some most amazing, magical experiences! They are taking a different path from the “model” set before them.) And I often too steer away from the presented tourist attractions and quest to find the smaller paths that tread and touch more deeply into the Lands I’m visiting.
So, back to Migao…. It turns out this man is an extraordinary human being with a big, generous heart and a beautiful vision. He used to work in the big city of Shenzhen just outside of Hong Kong. Yet, he found himself feeling depressed, his spirit cramped and unhappy. He started coming to Yangshuo for some short trips, and felt great relief in his being in coming here. So he started doing some side work, leading some outdoor trips on weekends in Yangshuo. He slowly started decreasing his time in Shenzhen until he left his work and moved to Yangshuo to fully invest in manifesting his 户外 "huwai" – outdoor career. Yet he is here for much more than starting his new career. On our many hikes and bike rides in the couple weeks I was there, he’s shared with me his vision. And he shared of some about the “black tourist industry” where some companies as I mentioned earlier are most interested in making money, not in people’s happiness and in assisting them in touching into the beauty of the Land they visit. Instead, they arrange people’s schedules super full, visiting some popular spots but then also taking people to specific shopping sites, where the tour companies get commissions on the products sold and make shopping sometimes literally a mandatory part of the tour. Migao, instead is interested in leading and organizing trips similar to what Szu-ting and I did this fall, active journeys that take people out into nature, and allow people to really experience and become a part of the Land, people, culture, wilderness that they’re visiting. Big, busy bus tours don’t go to these places. They have different goals. Our goals are for people to experience happiness, connection and a natural inner transformation as a result of the visit. Migao and I shared how these are the things are what we find important, as well as being of service….contributing to having a thriving humanity and Planet where people live from a place of inner Joy, Love and Respect for Life. Being out in nature naturally awakens our innate connection to our Earth, and naturally cultivates our hearts and beings as stewards of our Home. We are both thrilled to now know each other and he has now become my “gege” 哥哥 “big brother” in Yangshuo :) -- definitely one of my "special gifts" my friend Chuck said I may receive.
Beauty of Brothers & Sisters
The other day when sipping some soup after a hike up a local mountain, I asked Migao more about his family. He’s an only child, his father passed away when he was 14, and his mother lives a bit far away in Hunan Province. He does have a 17-year-old daughter but he and his wife are divorced. (He explained that like many Chinese in his generation, he was married quite young, at 21 yrs of age and was not at all ready for married or family life at the time.) But he explained to me that he’s not at all lonely; he likes the company he keeps, and he’s created his own extended family of many, many friends. And I’ve mentioned this before in other blogs, that I LOVE how the Chinese address each other. For example, when two women are really good friends, they call each other older sister (jiejie) or younger sister (meimei) depending on their relative age. And if one is good friends with a younger or older man, one calls him didi (younger brother) or gege (older brother). I think this way of speaking is even more strongly used with my generation and the generations younger than me, as many of them are only children. So, as they don’t have any blood related brothers or sisters, they have their own “chosen” family of brothers and sisters. There have been so many times when I’m with some of my young Chinese friends, and they have introduced each other as sisters or brother and sister, and I thought they were blood relatives…until later I’d realize, or they’d explain that they aren’t related by blood, but are still nonetheless family :).
And people are sooooo sweet and so incredibly look out for each other here. I witness this all the time between friends, between people's "chosen" families, and also am often a recipient of this amazing sweetness and care taking. I’m continually amazed by people’s generosity. The other day when checking out of my youth hostel in Yangshuo, one of the young women on staff ran out from behind the reception desk and gave me a huge hug, saying “Oh wo shebude ni likai!” “Oh I can’t stand the thought of you leaving!” Wow! I was so surprised and touched! While we had been friendly with each other, she often seemed a bit reserved to me…yet, to come out and say this and give me such a big hug (several of them really, and then she held onto my arm shaking it up and down asking, “ni shenme shihou zai guolai ne?” “When are you coming back?”) was a wonderful surprise. :)
And then my friend, Migao also showed up the day I left Yangshuo with a huge bag of ‘jinju’ – these yummy little citrus fruits that grow in the villages here – there’s so delicious and SWEET!--, and a large bag of dried persimmons (there’s many of these trees growing here too and they dry these yummy fruits into what they call ‘shizi bing’ persimmon cakes :)). So thoughtful!! Though these fruits did seem to add at least another 5 lbs to my already FULL bags…I still haven’t fully figured out the “traveling light” thing :). He also, for about the 10thtime, reminded me that I really must buy much heavier, warmer clothes for going to Beijing and make sure I keep warm and that my feet are warm. :) Then, once I was on the bus on my way out of town, I received a text from a friend wishing me a safe trip and to make sure I let him know when I safely get to my next destination. And…soon after, I got a text from Amy (another dear friend I met here from Shenzhen who I introduce more below) wishing me a safe trip, saying she looks forward to our next visit, reminding me to keep my purse in front of me (I had a habit of letting it hang on my backside while we were walking together in town), wishing me much happiness in the rest of my travels and mentioning that she misses me! (Of course, written in Chinese, it takes much fewer characters to say all this than in English :)). And on Thanksgiving, even though it obviously isn’t celebrated here in China, I had friends from all over China texting me that day to wish me and my family a very happy Thanksgiving! So sweet!!! Gosh, I continually feel so loved and cared for by all these beautiful people!
Power of Connection
With all my travels, I so value connection. Connection with the Land, connection with these people I meet, connection with my own growth, yearnings, and quest to be of service, and to share a deep inner Joy. I can’t put a claim on this Joy I feel, it is a flow, a gift that flows through me when I’m open, when I’m grounded and connected and when I’m following my Heart’s expression. The more I share, the more I receive. I feel sharing is really one of the big purposes and services for me being here.
For example, the other day I arrived in the amazingly rustic, remote, and stunningly beautiful little village called Nuodeng (诺邓古村) in Yunnan Province with over 1,000 years of history up in the mountains ~4 hours from Dali. I was so, sooooo thrilled and amazed to be here when I arrived as the village is all built into the side of a mountain, no cars, just cobbled-stoned streets, clay and brick houses, mules and horses, terraced fields and plots of organic veggies, stacks of drying corn for pig feed, little piglets and quite large oinking pigs, and so many birds, big beautiful healthy trees, fresh air, blue, blue BLUE sky and millions of the brightest, twinkling stars I’ve ever seen! So after I had just arrived following a long day of travel, I climbed up through the winding village cobble-stoned pathways to find my homestay place, put my bags down and out I went again to explore before sunset. On my way back, I happened to explore another little path to take me to the top of the hill to overlook the village.
Well at the top was a beautiful farming family’s home :). The mother smiled at me and asked if I’d like to come in and sit for a bit. I was a bit nervous about imposing as I just showed up on their land, but….her children were sooo cute (a 9 y/o girl and a 2 y/o boy :)), and I was curious to see their home, so I said yes and walked in. Most homes here are built 1 to 2 stories with an open courtyard (open to the sky) and an open kitchen and grain storage rooms with a couple rooms with closed doors for sleeping. I walked in and sat on one of their little stools and first started chatting with the 9 y/o girl, Yang Zhicheng 杨治城. She is sooo super sweet. She was excited to meet me and asked me about America. I asked her about her school and her life here, and her Mom, grandmother and little brother soon joined us. Her mom was also thrilled I could speak Chinese and just wanted to talk and talk…and the whole time we were chatting, her adorable little boy kept coming up to me and sticking out his belly for me to tickle…which I promptly would, and he’d squeal and run and bury his face into his grandmother’s lap :). Hee! And then he started coming up and turning his back to me, and I’d rub his back like I used to LOVE to have my mom rub my back when I was little. And again he’d first lean into my rubs and then start giggling and run back over to “Nainai” “Grandma.” The little girl and her mom then shared how she was actually in a movie that was filmed in Nuodeng 4 years ago. How neat! She’s so proud of it and wanted to know if I’d seen it yet :). She then proceeded to draw a beautiful picture of a rabbit and frog and gave it to me, her “Meiguo Ayi” “American Auntie” as a gift! (see pic below) Oh so adorable! And..we talked and talked (while of course continuing to tickle the little brother) until the sunset sky turned into a dark night sky with thousands of twinkling stars. So then this little girl, Yang Zhi Cheng, walked me back to my hostel for tonight, asking if I would please come back the next day when she got home from school :). Gosh, I’m sharing all this as another example of these kinds of super special encounters and sharings are so mutually beautiful, enriching and are one of the things that make life truly delightful and meaningful. This kind of cross-cultural exchange and sharing of our lives, and sharing a mutual admiration, respect, love, joy and generosity is one of my main callings in being here. And I feel so grateful to and for these beautiful people I’m meeting and how deeply and beautifully they welcome me into their homes, into their lives.
Come Meet Amy!!!
So back to my time in Yangshuo for a moment, another gift I received when there was my friendship with Amy. About ½ way through my stay, I felt strongly I wanted to extend my time. I had already bought my plane ticket though, and like in the states, it’s often quite expensive to change one’s flight last minute. But, remembering my friend Chuck’s advice to listen to what felt right, I decided to call my airline and ask…just in case. :) Well, I was sooooo surprised! Not only was it not expensive to change my flight, it was FREE! And in addition, the woman helping me on the phone, said I’d actually get 128 RMB (~$21) back as the flights on the day I wanted to switch my flight to were cheaper! Really? Ha! This is amazing! So I stayed. And I shared good news with Migao that night at dinner. He was happy too and immediately called his good friend, Amy from Shenzhen, to let her know I would still be here when she arrived in just one day.
Well Amy came and we immediately loved each other! She’s such a free spirit, is adventurous, alive and glows with her own inner enthusiasm and playfulness. Our first night together when the 3 of us were having dinner, I said, “Do you like to dance?” Amy both sat up and lit up like a glowing flower immediately saying, “ YES!!” That night we went out dancing the first time together and had such a blast!! I think the dance club did especially well with business that night as it was packed and there was a crazy dancing “waiguoren” “foreigner” and Chinese girl on the stage! :) (see couple pics below).
We shared so much too -- in conversation, in our hiking adventures, in our dancing and jumping in the grasses and trees, and also spontaneously dancing to the hit "gangnam style" when she whipped out her hand-held music player (really it looked like a bike light! so small yet the music quality was great!) while on the trail! Ha! :) One night when I came back from a solo overnight in the small village of Xingping, both Amy and Migao met me at the bus station. Amy was so sweet as she ran up to me, swung her arms around me and said, “Wo hao xiang ni o!” “I’ve so missed you!!!” :-)
That night, Migao took an evening of rest and Amy and I had our own girls night out, with dinner, dressing up in our glitter, and dancing, dancing, dancing followed by a sleepover. Girls having sleepovers are always conducive to staying up late and talking, sharing, laughing, talking and giggling, and talking some more. Amongst our many topics, we talked about marriage and how she also has so many dreams to fulfill. In China, many young women feel the pressure to get married early, but, she said, “While of course many people are happily married, I've also witnessed that after getting married it seems many doors close.” She explained that she’s seen so many of her own young friends get married, start a family and then wish they had had more time to explore, to discover themselves in the world, to travel. “Many of my friends have urged me to take my time,” she said, but she feels much pressure from her family to follow the “normal laid out path.” She said she loves meeting foreigners and hearing about our lives and the multitudes of creative ways we live them out. It helps feed her own imagination of what’s possible for her and her life, and also to listen to and for an expression that reflects or mirrors to her what she also truly desires. When on the subject of marriage, I saw Amy’s eyes get teary and could sense some of the fear she feels, yet…on the other side of this fear is her grand excitement for her life and what’s possible in her life.
I asked her to tell me about her dreams, and again, just like when I asked her if she liked to dance, she lit up and glowed! She shared how she desires to open a coffee/tea shop in Yangshuo with a few girlfriends. She desires to travel, especially to Tibet this coming year, to learn English and to travel to many countries abroad. She looked at me and said in Chinese, “Kailun, when I’m old and am about to die, I don’t want to have any regrets about not living fully. I want to be able to sit and relax and enjoy all my many, many wonderful memories of my adventurous, beautiful life.”
While Amy is working now, she has plans to quit her job this spring to begin fulfilling on her travel dreams and will take 2 months to travel in Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. In the summer or fall, she’ll go to Tibet. And she and Migao are also planning to work together on leading some outdoor trips. What a beautiful being Amy is! Her spirit shines with such a boldness, purity and strength. I am so excited for her, her Life expression and the many many people she will touch and inspire along the way!
So my time in Yangshuo was wonderful….In between doing my writing work (on a beautiful rooftop deck overlooking the Li River :)), practicing Qigong by the river, eating all sorts of yummy local foods (I’ve included some pics below), and dancing some nights, I enjoyed much exploring of this area via bike and hiking. One of the hikes was on a rainy, misty day. I didn’t bring my camera so as to make sure it stayed dry, but the scenery was magical with low hanging fog and the surrounding mountains were a grey/blue color with the green river meandering through them…so other-worldly…And above I have included a pic of one biking trip and us sneaking in a few fresh, organic pomelo fruits that had fallen from the orchard trees in a nearby village, and below are pics of our wonderful hike from the small village of Yangdi, up and over a little mountain, and back to the small village of Xingping.
Dreamtime and Blue Water Oceans
So before I started this month of travel and writing work (it’s my month in between our last trekking trip in Yunnan and my time of Image Medicine study in Beijing with my Qigong Grandmaster, Xu Mingtang – which starts next week :)), I put a question to my dreamtime about where to go during this month. In my dream, I was by the ocean….hence I chose to go to Xiamen – the city Hai Dan lives in and invited me to and which is right on the ocean. And I also had several images of being next to such deep, deep blue waters, a stone walkway, and having a wide expansive view. Well when in the small fishing village of Shuanglang on our Yunnan trekking trip in early November, I recognized these waters and images from my dream. So I also knew that Shuanglang was one of the places for me to return to as well. Therefore, after my time in Yangshuo, Guangxi Province, I hopped on a plane to return to Yunnan….
The Most Awesome Tiny Scooter Ride
And I LOVE being in Yunnan again!! I think it is my favorite province (if I had to choose, which luckily I don’t :)). And, when I arrived at the Kunming airport, I had the most fun and frankly amazing scooter rides ever! I got off my bus from the airport, which dropped us off at a hotel in town. From there I went to the street to get a taxi, and well, I quite honestly didn't know how I would find one as it was rush hour and there were so many cars and trucks with little room for a taxi to pick me and my BIG bag up :). But, then came along a little man on a little scooter. (He is little and his nickname is Little Xiao :)). He said, "I'll take you and your bag. Where are you going?" "What?!" I thought. "How in the world can you even think it possible for my gigantic bag, my over stuffed backpack and tall, long-legged me to all fit with you on your little, tiny scooter?!," I thought to myself. Yet, I was intrigued, so I told him the name of my youth hostel and he said, "No problem. 10 yuan."...What?! This was even cheaper than a taxi, so it didn't seem he was doing this for getting a good deal from a foreigner. Hmmm, I thought,... I just couldn't see how we would all fit on his tiny scooter! But he was so friendly and so positively sure he could do it, that I decided to give it a try. And sure enough, in less than 2 minutes he had my big bag and backpack in front of him and I fit on the bike behind him! Amazing!! He was super friendly as we chatted while buzzing through the busy streets of Kunming and was all excited to hear I'm from the States. He had given rides to 4 Americans in the last few days and laughed saying, "Wo gen Meiguo ren hen you yuan fen!" "I have a special destiny or fate with Americans!" :)
Yunnan ~ the Place of Magnificent Skies, Mountains, Lakes, Twinkling Stars and Sunsets
So as I said, I love being back in Yunnan. It is such a special place with vast blue, blue skies, amazing tall mountains and the waters of Erhai Lake are pristine, blue, blue, BLUE, expansive and beautifully express the dynamic sky and it’s amazing sunsets and sunrises. Before going to the small mountain village of Nuodeng that I mentioned earlier, I went back to Shuanglang…the small fishing village I mentioned seeing in my dream. Gosh…so beautiful there!! I could take up all my photo space with just pics of the sunrises during my qigong practice, and the amazing sunsets (I’ve included a few pics below)! On my first morning there, I awoke super early with my new friend, Christina (that’s her English name – many of my Chinese friends love to have the chance to use their English names with me, just as I love using my Chinese name here :)). We both awoke a little after 5 a.m. as we were soo excited to go see the sunrise! At 27 years of age, this was going to be Christina’s first ever to-see-with-her-own-eyes sunrise! Wow! What a treat to enjoy that with her! So, as it was still pitch black outside at 5 a.m., we tried to sleep a bit longer….but alas we were too giddy, and finally got up and were out in the still cold, starry night sky at 6:45 a.m. Hmm…one of the locals had told us the sun rose at 7a.m. so we were hurrying to get to our special spot….but with it still quite dark out, we began to wonder… :)…Turns out the sun doesn’t actually rise until after 8:15 a.m., BUT…it was soooo stunningly beautiful to watch the night turn to day, the stars fade into a pink and periwinkle sky with a growing orange glow on the horizon. We saw many fishing boats heading out into the great lake too as the morning was arriving. …And then to finally see the glorious Sun peak over the mountainside and spill and pour Her grand rays of golden light across the valley, lake waters and the mountains on the other side was truly magnificent and so worth our chilly, patient wait. :)
Tania the Queen! :)
So my 3rd day in Shuanglang I met a woman who, I knew after meeting her, was one of the reasons for me being guided to go back to that town. For a couple of afternoons during my stay, I would go to this amazing youth hostel called Sky Sea Lodge, 海地生活. They have an outdoor seating area right on the water of Erhai lake with a most amazing, stunning view of the waters and surrounding mountains, and most magnificent sunsets. On my first day there doing my writing work, I noticed this tall, beautiful woman, and the only other foreigner I saw in this village. She spoke some Chinese and was busy working with several people that first day. The second day I went, however, this woman, Tania, came up to me. Turns out she is from Germany and she and her husband are living in Shuanglang now. She does healing work and has opened a “spa” in the youth hostel. She works with many, many Chinese women and though she says her Chinese is not good enough to talk as deeply and share as much as she’d like to with these women, she is offering information, new doorways, options and love to them all through her Images and Energetic work. Her “spa” is called Dragonfly in Chinese, as dragonflies are beings that symbolizes Transformation. She has a beautiful guiding vision, an elegance and grace of a Queen, and a delightful, glowing and adventuresome Spirit. We shared so very much in our conversation, our own paths and calls to service, what we’re learning in our time in China, and we both had a sense of recognition of each other in our meeting…it was meant to happen…
One of the Happiest Families Ever
Oh my goodness! I’m also excited too to share with you one of the most amazing evenings I had in Nuodeng up in诺邓古村, that other little village I mentioned earlier that I visited in the Yunnan Mts. It was again with that adorable family that lives up the hill from where I was staying. The little girl, Yang Zhicheng, had asked me to come by after she got home from school that day….so I walked up the hill in the evening setting sun around 5:30p.m. and had a most joy and love-filled time with them!! And they are one of the happiest families I have ever met! At first I chatted a bunch with the Dad, as he had many questions about the U.S. since he wasn’t there last time I came,….and all the while he and his daughter and son were also coming over to him, whispering things in his ears, lovingly tugging on this ears and poking his belly and they were all just laughing :). The grandmother is adorable too. She just speaks the local dialet of the Bai minority people, but her smile, warm heart and laughter say it all.
And then while Yang Zhicheng was doing her homework, I played with the little one again. He kept running up to me and this time turning his back as if awaiting my now-known-and–loved back rubs. And then he had me pick him up and we had fun taking pics. We also went out behind their home courtyard to see the roosters, donkeys, chickens and to watch his Dad feed their many enthusiastic pigs! They then insisted on me staying with them for dinner and Yang Zhicheng, once done with her homework, excitedly took me to see their beautiful abundant veggie garden where she proudly pointed out all the different veggies and flowers. What a beautiful and abundant garden!!!
Dinner was delicious! And so wonderful to be with the whole extended family sitting in their little kitchen with one of their little tables (~ 1ft high) and little squat stools :)….And our after dinner entertainment was complete with Yang Zhicheng insisting I draw her some pics (so I drew my hat and an ear of corn that she snatched from their upstairs corn storage for me to sketch :)), and then….drum roll…Yang Zhicheng performed several songs and dances for me! Oh so sweet!! I video-recorded a couple of them and the whole family was sooo delighted to see the whole show replayed! I joked with Yang Zhicheng that now she’s been filmed in at 4 movies (albetit these were quite short snippets :)). Oh…we talked and talked again until the night starry sky had long since arrived, none of us wanted to say goodbye…They told me about many trails in the area and how next time I come, they could take me to many places and I could ride their horse too. Oh another beautiful family I already love so much!! I feel so blessed and am so grateful to have met them. We all said we would treasure our memories of our meeting in our hearts forever.
12/12/12 at 12 noon ~ Surprise in Dali Old Town!
So I enjoyed a most picturesque hike out of Nuodeng on the old Salt Trade path (as Nuodeng is famous for it’s salt production and was a destination on the salt trading route in the past). I included a pic above where you can see the whole village on the mountain side, and do you see the big tree towering above all the houses? That is a most amazing, beautiful wise tree that blesses the whole village! :)
I then took the bus from the town of Yunlong that I hiked to back to Dali Old Town for a couple of days before I head to Beijing. I had gotten an email from Tania right before leaving Nuodeng that she was in Dali Old Town for a few days…just the time I would be there. So this morning, I called Tania to let her know I was here and arrange a time to get together if it worked out. Well, as soon as I called she said, “Oh good morning! I knew it was you as I was awaiting your call!” What?! – I thought, really? “What are you doing at 12 noon?” “Nothing in particular,” I replied. I had some work to do and was flexible as to when I did it. “Good. Today is 12/12/12 and I have a special gathering to take you to,” said Tania. And she then told me which street corner to meet her at in about 45 mins time. Okay…here continues my Life adventure! :) So I packed my bag and walked to the street intersection she mentioned. Within a few minutes, a car pulls up with two Chinese women, a fellow from Holland, a cute little white puppy and smiling and waving Tania! :) So I hop in and it turns out we go to a wonderful Chinese couple’s home in a nearby village and have a most amazing ceremony and meditation with a whole group of wonderful kindred spirits. The meditation was quite powerful, a giant receiving from and giving to many of the many Wild Lands I’ve visited…. What an amazing day of powerful connections and meaningful sharings!
I could say much more ….AND…yet again, it is getting late and this update is quite long….
Facebook in China? It's Called QQ !
One quick other thing to share though :)… about one friend I was “chatting” with on China’s version of Facebook called QQ ..(yes, I’ve been indoctrinated into yet another Social Networking Universe here in China and am actually posting and chatting with my Chinese friends this way some now too! :)…it’s a bit of a learning curve but they are patient with me :)). I met him when hiking up a local mountain in Xingping in Guangxi Province. I was sharing with him about my travels and blog writing and he mentioned I’m the American modern day version of Xu Xiake. Well I didn’t know who he was so I looked him up on the internet and he was now famous traveler and writer in the Ming Dynasty in the early 1600s, traveling all throughout China for 34 years! He kept a travel log of writings on the geography, plants, peoples, customs, cultures, etc he encountered and really helped people (when most didn’t travel) know more about their own country and the diversity of life there :).
Okay, well I’m sleepy again now :)….and thank you soooo much for those of you who have made it through yet another epically long travel update :). And thank you to all of you who have written to me. I LOVE hearing from you, even if it takes me a while to respond sometimes. I’ll be in Beijing as of this weekend, as I’m going to study with my Qigong Grandmaster, and probably won’t have much writing time for a while. But…maybe that will get me to send some shorter updates to y’all :). I still have those early Yunnan updates to get out too! :)
Oh so much great, grand Love to you all!!! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and Happy Holidays to you ALL!!!
A cultural anthropologist, I speak Mandarin Chinese and hold a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley. I began my journey in the Chinese healing in 1995 with study in tai chi, qigong and Buddhist meditation. I am a private student of ZY Qigong Grandmaster Xu Mingtang and have completed post graduate training with him at Shaolin Monastery in China and traveled with him worldwide as his apprentice.
As the founding Board President of ZY Qigong, a non-profit organization, I am dedicated to bringing teachings, practice, wisdom and mastery of qigong to people of all ages and cultures. I am also currently a student of Dr. Zhao Fuxue, one of China's 85 top-level certified Chinese Medicine doctors specializing in Chinese medical massage, acupressure, tuina, and his lineage's "Dian Xue" technique. I also served as Dr. Zhao's interpreter while he taught and saw clients in the U.S. I offer wellness treatments and private qigong consultation.