Buddhism and Box Jumps: preparing for the trip

As I walk down to the YMCA guided solely by repetitious knowledge and my pitiful excuse for an iPhone flashlight, the sky begins to unload on me. “Shit” I whisper to no one in particular, and hurry down to the gym. Most morning
s begin for me this way, a 5 am wake up followed by a grueling gym session. Sprinting, Incline workouts, lifting, squats, core, I make my way through an hour long circuit of exercises designed to prepare me for the unforgiving mountains of Nepal.

I suppose this love of the mountains began for me when I was just a toddler,
spending my summers at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains. The obsession slowly grew, and by the time I was a teenager I had scaled several of the highest peaks in the U.S, and skied in both the Himalaya and Greenland. But most of it was just side trips, things I did on family vacations or during the summer. That is, until the summer before eighth grade when I began to plot my most ambitious expedition yet. The idea slowly formed into a reality, which became an itinerary, and before I knew it I was on a 16 week training program to prepare me for a 2 month long trip to the high Himalaya.

For me, there were really two main aspects of preparation: physical, and mental. The physical training was straightforward, mostly lifting, cardio, and core. I needed to prepare my body to be pushed to the the limit for days at a time. I jumped up and down on boxes; both feet, right to left, left
to right. I sacrificed hours of sleep and boxes of cookies. But at the same time I reveled in the toil. I have always been a driven person, and for me, this was the next big goal. Creme de la Creme. The second aspect was mental, which was definitely the more difficult of the two. I have always been a somewhat anxious person, and this trip was a lot of pressure. Expensive, not to mention the opportunity of a lifetime. But 8 weeks out, when I was really feeling the stress, I made a big change. I decided to take up Buddhism. After exchanging my language periods in school for an independent study, I went on a mad search to learn about this new and differ
ent way of life. I immersed myself in reading about the noble truths, eightfold path, and three jewels. I interpreted quotes and watched Ted talks and started meditating twice a day. The more I learned, the more fascinated I became, and I truly believed in the teachings. It was all just so right to me. All of it made perfect sense. I felt so empowered by the notion that happiness can only come from within, because it took some of the pressure off of me from the trip. I didn’t need to summit all of the mountains to be happy. I could gain knowledge and wisdom from doing this, which might lead me to better understanding and therefore happiness, but the labels didn’t matter; Just the experience.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Alyson Kaneshiro says:

    My favorite quote from your blog “I felt so empowered by the notion that happiness can only come from within.” The wisdom and happiness can be nurtured or stifled by our mindset along the journey. It’s inspiring to learn about the physical and internal journey you are trekking on as you pursue your dream!

    Like

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