Can my Tibetan metaphor for life help you?
In June of this year, I took a month-long trip of a lifetime to Tibet for a pilgrimage around Mt Kailash, the most sacred mountain in the world.
It was a remarkable experience for me – a dream come true in many respects.
What I wasn’t expecting was to face potential death along the way…
Moving through this very serious situation helped me gain enormous insight into life and provided me with a metaphor for life.
I’d like to share with you my trip and what I learnt…
My Itinerary in Brief
This is how my trip rolled out – from home to Tibet and back home…
Australia to Kathmandu to Simikot. I flew from Australia to Singapore to Kathmandu, Nepal, where I provisioned-up for the trip and met my Nepalese tour guides and 7 other fellow travellers. A few days acclimating, visiting temples and sights of Kathmandu and sorting out administrative issues then saw us flying through the most breathtaking valleys and peaks to Simikot in northwestern Nepal.
Simikot to Tibet. At nearly 3000 metres above sea level, the air in Simikot is thin. We needed to take time to acclimate and increase our capacity to breathe in higher altitudes, so we walked from Simikot to Tibet, taking approximately a week to do so – climbing up during the day, and returning to lower altitudes to sleep at night. It was magical – walking alongside fellow adventurers, sleeping under the stars and learning about Nepal, Tibet and the Himalayas from our wonderful Sherpa Guides. Prior to arriving at the Tibetan border, we navigated Nara La pass (4,500 metres high) – in driving snow – it was tough going I must admit, but I was rewarded with an hour-long soak in natural hot springs high on a mountain side with spectacular views. A memorable time for all…
The Ascent. Once over the border between Nepal and Tibet, we drove to Guge where we visited the spectacular ruins and temples of the ancient Guge Kingdom. We then drove to Darchen where we prepared to ascend the sacred Mt Kailash (6,700 metres). This is where things came unstuck for me, frightened me, and taught me a powerful lesson that has become a metaphor for life (see below). We began our trek to Diaphuk (4,800 metres) as a test-run for Mt Kailash and then finally the Mountain itself. I successfully finished the ascent safely (but not without a very serious life-threatening event).
Tibet – Kathmandu – Home. Following our time in Tibet, we returned to Kathmandu the way we came, and I made it back home safely.
A Singing Nun, Helicobacter Pylori and Healing Service to Others
While I was in Kathmandu, I frequented their temples and met many amazing people, one of whom was the World-Renowned Singing Nun, Ani Choying. I enjoyed my time with her and was enthralled with her beautiful voice. Discovering that I was a doctor, she and others informed me of the constant battle that many nuns and monks experience with Helicobacter Pylori (sharing shaving, food and other implements increases the chance of contracting Helicopter Pylori). I used energetic healing techniques to diagnose and treat her with a variety of health issues which gave her significant relief. I also helped out my fellow travellers to optimize their health and clear their stresses during the arduous trek in both Nepal and Tibet…..but I forgot about myself….
Ascending Mt Kailash – a Life and Death Situation
Before I tell you about what happened to me, let me provide you with some context.
I’m always looking for natural ways to deal with health-related issues.
So, when I was told that I needed to take Diamox, an altitude sickness medication, a week before starting a climb to high altitudes, I ignored that advice. Instead, I took copious amounts of chlorophyll, Coenzyme Q10, Cordyceps (a medicinal mushroom and adaptogen) and Gingko Biloba.
Although I felt confident in my natural supplements approach and was coping very well during my all my high altitude treks in Nepal, my mistake was that I thought that I was suitably acclimated to survive the Kailash trek without taking the Diamox.
I was wrong…and it nearly cost me my life…
I’m not sure how much you know about altitude sickness, how deadly it can be, and how quickly it can come on – but let me tell you – it’s no walk in the park…
As we made our way to Dirapuk (4800metres), a 6 hour trek to the base of Mt Kailash, I noticed that I was really struggling to breathe. I was disoriented and even stumbling. One of my travelling companions noticed that my face had ballooned up seriously (a sign of oedema) – and we still had six hours to climbing to go. I needed to rest every 50 metres or so just to make it through the day. I felt terribly sick, struck with a blinding headache and I wasn’t sure that I would be able to continue, or whether they would need a body bag for me…
I did eventually make it to the base camp of Dirapuk collapsing into bed with tears rolling down my face. I was extremely sick and couldn’t eat, think or even dress myself.
Fortunately the next day was a rest day in Dirapuk and I tried to recover. However, my Oxygen saturation levels tested up extremely low at 56% (normal is 98+%) and my resting pulse rate was very fast 115 beats per minute.
This is what Altitude Sickness looks like – and if the person can’t increase their Oxygen levels and properly acclimate, they can develop life threatening blood clots, pulmonary oedema (where the lungs swell up so much that they cannot absorb oxygen) and other terrible effects. And being so far from medical treatment, Altitude Sickness can be a death sentence…and according to the Nepalese doctor I talked to, last year over 20 people died from altitude sickness trying to climb the mountains.
I realised that I was in dire straits, so I started to take the Diamox (it can take days to have an effect, but I thought I’d take it anyway). I was told that unless I could raise my Oxygen levels substantially to over 75%, I wouldn’t be able to do the Mt Kailash climb over Drolma-la-pass, another 1000 metres higher in an 9-10 hour trek the next day as it would be too dangerous.
So, I harnessed all my energetic healing powers and started to work on myself. I focused on clearing the emotional, belief and energetic blocks to healing, as well as specific physiological commands to do with my body being able to acclimate to the high altitude and my red blood cells being able to transport the Oxygen (O2) around my body. After an hour or so of dedicated clearing work, I was able to raise my O2 levels to 72% by the late afternoon. I felt much better and less short of breath.
Early the next morning, I did further energetic recoding work on myself and found that my my O2 levels had risen to over 90%, my pulse rate was 98/min resting and I was given the all-clear to ascend the next 1000 metres high Droma-la-pass climb of Mt Kailash. I was excited but a little apprehensive at the same time. Would my clearing efforts hold? Would I survive?
So, we set off…at 5:00 am in complete pitch black darkness and freezing cold weather with treacherous rocky and snowy paths illuminated only by headlights… I found myself, for the first part of the journey, in total survival mode. One step after another…heaving chest….short of breath…stopping every 10-20 metres gasping for air to rest and slow my breathing down. I watched admiringly as the many Tibetan pilgrims, young and old climb past me with spiritual determination and do their prostrations to the snow capped mountain. I just focused on navigating the slippery rocks and icy snowy path in front of me and lost myself in my determination to complete the trek… As I did so, I thought of all of you – and I felt your amazing examples of strength and courage willing me on – and this helped me enormously.
As we made our way through 4,800 metres, and then 5,500 metres, the sun started to rise.
The day got clearer – and so did I.
As the sun arose and the warmth hit me and lit the world around me, for the first time that day I could see how breathtakingly beautiful it all was.
I felt a sense of personal power as we approached the 5800 metres summit- and then the top of the trail – I felt a sense of total exhilaration and ecstasy! I felt that I had overcome my personal physical, mental and emotional limitations. It was the most physically challenging activity I had ever attempted in my life and I had conquered the odds! The energies on that sacred mountain filled me to overflowing and I was overcome with a profound sense of gratitude – for my life and for the beautiful world I was a part of. I actually even skipped in part down that mountain in pure joy and wonderment connecting to the energies, nature and the beings that were present. I accessed the powerful mountain energies to clear and renew my cells and it felt like I was being reborn. I also felt a sense of gratefulness for all my wonderful patients – and the examples that you are all to me. I felt truly alive and invigorated…and my face, body and hands tingled for hours afterwards after the day was completed.
You Are All My Heroes
I know that all of you have suffered at some level, in some way, in an aspect of life.
I know that many days you are like me at the foot of Mt Kailash, in the dark of pain and suffering.
I know that you grit your teeth and bear it, taking one step after the other in the dark – tripping over the rocks of life – hoping that you will make it.
And I know that you too can overcome the suffering, pain and difficulties of your life – just as I did on Mt Kailash that fateful day in June…
I started off in Survival Mode – as many of us do – but as I did the clearing work, addressing and overcoming the emotional, mental, energetic and spiritual blocks in my life, I know that you can do so too. I also want you to know that your beautiful sun will rise too.
And then you’ll move from Survival to Appreciation – and from Appreciation to Gratitude – and finally from Gratitude to Ecstasy…
This experience has become a powerful metaphor for life for me – showing me that clearing our personal issues can take us from mere survival to true joy – if we just keep going and just keep clearing – eventually the sun will rise and we will be able to see the beauty that lies all around us…
Thank you all for being my examples – examples of courage and determination. Thank you for the impact that you all have in my life. It was thoughts of you that kept me going in the dark as I made my way up Mt Kailash. Thank you all for being my heroes…
Yours in health
Integrative Holistic Doctor, Naturopath, Herbalist, Nutritionist, Energy Healing Specialist
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