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Andrew at the Shaolin Temple Cont…2

Ni hao my friends,

It’s been a while since I last updated. The past week has been a mix of experiences. I got sick, performed my tai chi in front of the whole school, rode in a tiny taxi with 6 large people (plus chinese driving!), ordered food in a chinese restaurant (I don’t speak mandarin!), got cheap prices on not-so-quality electronics, shared drinks with a local girl who sings just like Mariah Carey, and slept in the lounge of a 5star hotel.There are too many stories to share in detail, but over-all I am happy, and getting the hang of living out here. I am a little sad this weekend, as I realize just as I’m getting settled, my time here is half over.Anyway, as there are too many stories, there are also too many lessons.Most notably this week, I’ve learned that some times you have to let things go that you really REALLY want in favour of the things that you need.This is not a fun lesson to learn by any means, I think it is a lesson we all know about, but how many of us actually practice it? Let me eleaborate.I’m a bit of a celebrity around here. When the locals see me they whisper “wei guo ren” (foreigner), and begin pointing, gasping, smiling, or sneering. Just today, a couple started taking my picture as I was eating breakfast. They must’ve snapped like 6 or 7 shots, and even dared to ask me to pose by the end of it all. This kind of thing happens all the time around here. Anyway, the point is I really crave this kind of attention, acceptance, and admiration. I am a bit ashamed to admit that, but it’s ok, because I know that these are things most of us want deep down.But, that’s just the thing…the craving is a “want”, not a “need”. It’s very powerful, and giving in to it provides a nice little boost for your ego. You feel great, desired, powerful and wanted. Who wouldn’t want to feel these things? How could the desire for these feelings be wrong? But, I realize now that these feelings have been my “drug” of choice for a long long time.So, since I realized that this week, I’ve managed a complete 180 (360 if you’re George Kostanza). I ignore the attention and no longer seek it. And, you know what? It is not the LEAST bit fun. I am hoping in time that I will no longer care about such superficial things, or I can slowly introduce friendly exchanges with the locals without this “admiration seeking”. My new goal is to replace external validation with internal validation (a goal I thought I was already reaching for…go figure!?). The “want” must lose out to the “need” if growth is to be achieved (sounds like a chinese proverb, no?). It is painful, but I know how this process works now. It will be worth it.I guess the point of all this is just to ask yourself “are there any addictions in my life that I am unaware of, making excuses for, or just can’t seem to control”? Some times the answers can surprise us. We think we are so smart and in control of our lives, but there is the potential for addiction to just about anything you can think of. Too much sugar? Sleep? Isolation? Relationships? Too much time spent on the things we’re good at? I know I’ve been addicted to all those things at one pointor another.Well, that’s it for this post. I hope you are all doing well. I hope this post isn’t preachy or anything like that. And, I hope my growth shows through these blogs. I came out here with the feeling that I would be leaving Toronto as a boy, and returning as a man. I think this lesson has been a pivotal point in that body is in China, but my thoughts, prayers, and love are with you all.Thanks everyone for the emails and support,write again soon,Drew

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