Archive for August, 2009

Aiming to achieve “Om Mani Pädme Hum”

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Feeling very much like a bird with all the traveling and flying I have done in the past couple of weeks—from the US to Saigon to Phuket to Macau…so far.

As you know, I started my travels by leaving the US in late July and headed to Saigon to do some charity work. I left Saigon and flew to Phuket on the 13th to spend a few days with good friends relaxing and getting “inked”. Those were my two main reasons for traveling to Phuket.

While I was there, I stayed in a beautiful villa overlooking the ocean at the Trisara Resorts with four good friends who also got their own separate villas. The first night we got there, we all decided it would be best to just check into our rooms and enjoy a nice quiet dinner at the Resort. We talked, laughed, and joked as only close friends can do and called it an early night so we could start on our short, yet very much needed vacation, the next morning. And that is exactly what we did.

We did not want to waste any time and woke up early to have some fun and relaxation in the sun, water and spa! My friends went swimming in their amazing private pools while I worked on my tan. All my friends had made plans to head down to Patong later in the evening to have dinner and do some evening sightseeing, While I had other special plans in mind that I wanted to do …

I have been waiting to get another tattoo for over a year now and I finally got the chance to get it done the way I really wanted it done. I wanted to get another meaningful tattoo using the art of bamboo tattooing. I found an excellent tattoo artist who’s won a first place award and took down the title “Best Bamboo Artist” in Phuket. So I immediately scheduled an appointment with him to have my latest artwork done. Luckily for me, he wasn’t busy that night and had agreed to come to the resort I was staying at and did the artwork in my Spa room.

Choosing to get “inked” in the traditional way by using a bamboo stick, I got the words “Om Mani Pädme Hum” written in Tibetan script across my right shoulder blade.

“Om Mani Pädme Hum” is easy to say yet quite powerful in meaning. It contains the essence of the entire teaching. When you say the first syllable “Om” it is blessed to help you achieve perfection in the practice of generosity, “Ma” helps perfect the practice of pure ethics, and “Ni” helps achieve perfection in the practice of tolerance and patience. “Päd”, the fourth syllable, helps to achieve perfection of perseverance, “Me” helps achieve perfection in the practice of concentration, and the final sixth syllable “Hum” helps achieve perfection in the practice of wisdom.

This tattoo has so much meaning for me because those are the aspects and vurtures in life I want to try my best to be perfect in. This tattoo is a reminder to myself of how I want to be and how I want to always live my life. It is now forever embedded into my skin so my eyes will never forget the vurtues I want to see in myself. With that being said, This will be my last tattoo because I believe all tattoos have significant meaning to the person getting it and each new tattoo, for me, has always had a much more significant meaning then the last and I don’t think I will ever find another tattoo that will have more significance to me and my sprituality then “Om Mani Pädme Hum”.

The next morning we rented a Crunchy 47′ yacht (Spirit of Baloo) for the day so we could all just chill out and enjoy the beautiful scenery from the waters. I even talked my friends into letting me navigate for a little bit and I felt very much like the “Skipper” even though I was told I looked more like “Ginger” at the helm of the boat then the “Skipper”. All I have to say to that is, “Hey, at least my 9 hour tour didn’t land all of us on a deserted island!” HaHa! JK! 😛

After a full day of touring the island, I was able to relax for one more day and then I was off to Macau for the APT Celebrity Charity event and Main Event. I’m feeling lucky and I’m so ready to win!!! I will let you all know how the tournament turns out and fill you in on all of the festivities tonight is sure to bring in my next blog.

Wish me luck!

Cheers!

The BEST Birthday Gift Ever!

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

My second stop on my six-week travel venture around the globe was Vietnam. I wanted to start off my trip by doing what I love to do more then anything else…helping charitable causes and doing what I can to make someone else’s life a little bit easier and if what I do brings a smile to persons face, that just makes it that much more fulfilling for me.

However, this trip it was those I was trying to help that helped me in a way that I am truly grateful for and they made a special day in my life the most memorable day for me so far…MY BIRTHDAY!

Believe it or not, I have never been the kind of person that goes out and has a party every year August 2 comes around. I don’t find anything wrong with anyone that wants to celebrate their birthday and have a big party. I just have never had that same urge. I usually spend my birthday with family and close friends doing something low key. And the times I am traveling during my birthday, I usually spend it alone in my hotel room reflecting on things that has happened in my life and the things I can do to change my life for the better before my next birthday comes around. I am not telling everyone this so you feel sad or bad for me because I am alone on that day, it is a choice I make and it is how I like spending my birthday.

This year was different though. This year I got the best birthday gift ever! I was at my hotel in Saigon when a couple of my close friends asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday. I explained to them just as I explained above about what I normally do on my birthdays. But I told them this year I want to do something a little bit different. I told them, I want to help others on my birthday. I don’t want to spend it alone and I don’t go out partying but I do want to do something that will bring joy to others on that day.

After talking with my friends, one suggested I visit this orphanage he knows about that is in need of money so the children in the orphanage can go to school and get an education. He told me the place was about a 2-hour drive from Saigon and that the Sister that takes care of the place and the people there would appreciate any donation. I spoke with my friend some more and got the details I needed about things they do there. I knew after our conversation, I not only had to go meet these people but I had to go there and give them any kind of help and aide I could. Donating money is not a problem and I know that always helps but I wanted to do more. I then asked my friend to set up a time we could be there on August 2 and I asked him to not let them know that my purpose for being there was to donate—I wanted to surprise them.

Aside from the monetary donation I planned on giving them so the children there could get proper schooling, I arrange to have 2 truckloads of 100 lbs rice, a truckload of cooking oil, and a truckload of milk to be brought in with me. I was very excited to get to our destination the morning of my birthday. Honestly, I cannot recall ever being that excited about it being my birthday. And I believe that is because I really wasn’t excited about what day it was—I was excited about what I was doing that day.

When I arrived at the Thien Binh Catholic Orphanage, I was the one that got the surprise of a lifetime!

I was greeted by 130 smiling, laughing, excited kids and the gracious woman that has been running the orphanage since 1972 “Sister 7” (that is what I was asked to call her). I could not believe my eyes. I looked at my friend and asked if he’d told them why I was there and what I was bringing. He simply replied, “No, you asked me not to and I didn’t.”

Not really knowing what was going on and what I may be interrupting, I slowly got out of the car. I could see that they had set up what looked like some kind of celebration or party so I turned to my friend with a puzzled look on my face and he simply said, “Oh, I did tell them today was your birthday and they know who you are so they wanted to surprise you.”

I was not only immensely touched but I was speechless. And as I got closer to the table they had set up, I saw it. They had a HUGE birthday cake for me! On it was “Happy Birthday Liz” with a picture of the Queen of Hearts. I could not believe it. I have never gotten a birthday gift that was that thoughtful and it truly was priceless for me. And to add icing to the cake, all of the kids sang “Happy Birthday” to me. Sister 7 (who I am told use to be a Princess that lived in the royal palace of Thailand) then wished me happy birthday and gave me many good blessings. I thanked her and gave her the money her orphanage needed so the kids there could go to school.

I also spent that morning meeting the kids and talking with them as we handed out the cake I cut. I then went to the trucks that had come in with the rice, cooking oil, and milk I arranged to have brought there and helped unload them. I wanted to make sure the orphanage got what I arranged to be delivered and that everything was there for them.

Once all of the unloading was done, I got a chance to tour the orphanage and it was an awakening moment for me. This orphanage is not only for children, but for mentally handicapped adults, and elders as well. Those living there range in ages from 6 months to 80 years old. The children that are brought there either lost both of their parents or were abandoned by them. The elders that remain there either have no family to care for them or like the children, abandoned by the family they do have. Sister 7 has maintained the orphanage with the help of those that have grown up with her there and the influences she has that will give aide to help all of the people there.

As I walked around, I was so surprised to see so many happy and cheerful faces just living life, enjoying life, and full of joy. I say it was an “awakening” moment for me because I thought how do these people do it? I mean, how can someone be so fulfilled with a life in a small village with really no resources and nowhere to go? I could see what they have and it is so little compared to what I have and what I have seen in my life. I know that thought may sound horrible to some of you but I am being completely honest when I tell you that is what I was thinking. I wasn’t thinking it because I think I’m better then anyone of them. I was thinking it because really I was seeing first hand how in so many ways, they are much better people then most of the people I know…including myself. I mean, they are true survivors and they know what it means to enjoy the smallest things in life. They cherish their life and they know how to live with what is given to them without expecting or chasing for more. And that is something I truly admire. 

This experience has truly made this the BEST birthday I have ever had!

Cheers!

“Bang” to “Bust” to “Bang” again…my July in Vegas Part II!

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Greetings everyone! I hope you all are doing well.

As you may have read in my last blog, I ended by telling you that my July ended with me getting the most bang out of my buck and I sure did. I went and saw the UFC100 at the Mandalay Bay and quite honestly, I can only say one thing about this sport…

I LOVE IT!!!

I had ringside seats and it was amazing and unbelievably exciting to see that kind of…(umm how can I phrase this appropriately and ladylike?)…well I really can’t so I am just going to say it…that kind of raw, unedited, bone breaking, blood gushing, intense A$$ KICKING live! My heart was pounding so hard and even though I was not in the ring fighting, I still felt like I was a part of it. I could hear the punches and smacks as if the fight was happening right next to my ear. The adrenaline that goes through me when watching the UFC is so similar to the adrenaline I feel when I’m on the felt playing poker. Maybe that is why I enjoy it so much? Or maybe (most likely) I enjoy the UFC so much because, when I get a ridiculous bad beat…I just want to smack my opponent upside the head and knock him/her out! Hehe…I am kidding of course…ok, maybe not… 😉

But really I do enjoy watching that crazy sport and I would recommend to anyone (that doesn’t faint at the sight of blood) to go see the UFC if given a chance.

After my bangs and busts in Vegas, I headed to Los Angeles for a few days before I was off overseas. The drive out there to let me clear my head and do some thinking about life in general and the things I have lined up for the next couple of months. Sometimes driving is the best alone time for me. I enjoy the cool breeze and quiet time I get from them. When I got to LA, I was able to get some business work done as well as a chance to catch up with a couple very close friends from So. Cal. which is always nice. Then, I was back on an airplane for my six weeks trip around the globe .. I’ll tell you more about that in my next blog.

Cheers!