This Tattoo I Got in Nepal and How I Discovered Art of Meditation
Since I’ve been ranting on Twitter, I might as well write a blog post.
It was hard enough squeezing my words down to 140 characters, then I’d have to spam my follower’s twitter feeds.
I love this tattoo… It changed my life. Changed my mindset. Without experiencing this, I wouldn’t have learned the truth… The truth that I can overcome a painful experience like this. I had to be brave.
I’ve been wanting a tattoo for the longest time. But I’ve been holding it for 4 years at least, I just haven’t found the right moment, the right design and the right artist.
I thought of a lot of things. That silly idea of putting a barcode behind my neck, (no offense to those who have barcode tattoos) but I just thought there was no special meaning to it whatsoever. I thought of getting a sexy cat design because I love cats, and it needs to be a sexy cat because a fat kitty won’t look hot on my skin. Butterfly. It’s cute, but what am I going to do with it? “Wala lang?” Surf board. I love surfing, but I don’t know which part of my body I can put it without looking weird. Also, if I put a surfboard, the design must be big. I can’t take BIG… not yet.
The most stupid (and funny perhaps) suggestion were from my friends. Since they know I love pole so much, they suggested that I get a tattoo of a pole… T__T
One vertical line from my neck, all the way down my spine. POLE. facepalm how silly… but I admit it’s really funny. Then they say put a woman on it… hellz no! It would just look too sleezy.
I’ve been looking for tattoo artists in the Philippines. Â Manila, Boracay, Bohol etc.
Yes, they’re good. Â But I didn’t have a design and my heart wasn’t whole.
Then, I had a huge feeling that I am not going to get my first tattoo in the Philippines. Â I travel a lot, and my inner-being suggested that I explore tattoo places on foreign destinations next time.
Another “location” in this matter is the “where” in my body.
Where am I going to put my tattoo? It was so vague, so I decided to make up my mind when I already have the design. Â I don’t want my first time to hurt, so I’d want it to be in a place where it hurts less. (yeah right)
The timing is important because this is where my heart beats. Â I may have a design, or the location, but when my heart doesn’t beat for it… I cannot do it!
Nepal was an enlightening experience for me. Â It opened my mind, soul and spirit in so many ways. Â I had to experience a different culture and way of living, to touch my inner-self. Â Buddhism. Hinduism. Â The most common religion I’d see around Nepal. Â If I’m not mistaken, Nepal is 70% in Hindu practice, and then the rest comes Buddhism, Muslim etc.
I can’t put into details, but here’s the gyst.
I completely understood.
That my external surroundings, I have no control of. Â But I definitely have control over my own being. Â It’s a change of mindset. Â Buddha seeked enlightenment. Â I don’t think I’m close to Nirvana, but this is one big step to self-presence. Â I was aware, that my mind and the way I perceive myself, and how I react to my surrounding is more powerful than FEAR, pain, uncertainty, stress, heartbreak… etc.
Nepal was really fun, but it was such a difficult emotional experience for me too. Â One that I cannot put into detail. Â One I think I couldn’t survive without breaking down emotionally somewhere in the trip.
To my surprise, my crybaby eyes shut down and listened to my spirit for one moment.
🙂 I think I’ve matured, grown. Â I saw clearly the things that mattered and didn’t.
I had friends in Nepal. Â All of them contributed to my journey. Â Most especially the Tattoo Artist.
I found a small tattoo and piercing place by the city center in Pokhara, Nepal. Â It reminded me so much of how I wanted to get a Tattoo. Â When I saw it – I felt my HEART BEATING.
This was it. Â I have never felt my heart beat for a Tattoo place like thi. Â Not anywhere else, but here (Nepal). Â I got the timing (heartbeat), and the location right but I didn’t have the design yet.
I went inside the tattoo place just to check it out. Â I didn’t have to decide right then and there (although it would have been spontaneously fun, but with a risk of regret).
The artist’s wife greeted me by the entrance. Â The artist was quick to notice “Hello,” he said.
He was doing a tattoo job for another ink virgin. Â He was a guy, he looked perfectly comfortable and excited. Â Not a trace of pain in his face. Â “This is a good sign.” I said to myself.
LET’S DO THIS!
I decided in my head, but I haven’t seen his samples yet. Â I was already convinced. Â But it wouldn’t hurt to double check. Â Yep, he was good. Â His expertise is – in the make-up world we call it – blending. Â He specializes in tattoos that are realistic. Â Complicated, full of shades, depth and colors.
I LOVE IT!
I asked for a design book. Â Some were his own designs. Â Some more general.
He gave me the “pop” book. Â Americanized designes, cute unicorns, the sexy kittens I wanted before, a sexy scorpion (my zodiac). Â Meh… nice, cute sexy, but my heart didn’t beat for them. Â First impressions of me of course – one naive girl who wants a tattoo because she wants to.
It wasn’t what I was after.
I asked for traditional Nepali designs. Â A design that has a flavor of Nepal.
Check out the artist’s designs here.
Then I saw Shiva. I don’t know what kind of a Shiva god it was (there are many gods), but I saw the symbol “Om” à¥ somewhere in the design.
“I want this.”
and I decided to put it on my nape. Â I think it’s the only right place to putÂ à¥. Â I think it puts balance to my body. Â and besides, it would rest on my spine, where my nerves flow. Â The life of my body, the electric, biological current that influences my state of mind and body, where my body transmits pain and pleasure etc.
This is it. Â I’m doing it. and I voiced out all my concerns
- is it safe?
- I don’t know how to take care of it
- Could I shower? Enjoy paragliding tomorrow?
- Does it hurt? Can I tolerate the pain?
- The neck. Â I heard it hurts especially in that area… But I didn’t even ask this question anymore, I didn’t care how painful it would get.
He addressed all of my concerns. Â He was very nice, chatty. Â He wanted to get to know me too like I wanted to get to know him. Â I think he wanted feel my character too, to match if the design I picked fits me.
I don’t know much about it except that I hear it in Yoga class. Â Something relaxing… Something that makes me feel good.
Then I researched and heard it has so many meanings. Â But the important one is that “Om” is the shortest mantra. Â A mantra – sound or group of words that usually helps in meditation and considered capable of creating “transformation.”
I heard people voicing their mantras when I went around the Stupa.
His name isÂ Anands.
Know more about Anands, the Tattoo artist in Nepal in his website:Â anandstattoo.com
This was the most crucial part. Â The getting of the tattoo.
There was no turning back. Â I felt the needle. Â I think I could make it – for the first 5 seconds that is…
I thought the pain would go away, but after 2 minutes of that initial pain (he just did the outline), I nearly vomitted!
Of course it was painful! Â I could hear and feel the drill especially when it passes my spine’s bone part.
I stood up, I said I needed a break.
He was concerned.
I was concerned that he is concerned. Â He just finished an 8-hour tattoo. Â He was tired. More tired than me, and if he still needed to get my tattoo done. Â The more I get him tired, the greater risk my tattoo won’t be as best as it should be.
I decided to cooperate.
I coudln’t back-out… I WOULD NOT. I had no intention to.
“OK, let’s do this,” I said.
“Listen to me.” Anands said instructively…
“Inhale deeply, now hold it for 5 seconds… Exhale”
“Take your time in doing this, just keep on repeating it.”
Then I realized what he was doing. Â He was teaching me how to meditate. Â And scientifically, this meditating exercise helped bring oxygen to my cells and helped my blood’s circulation.
I did as instructed.
UH-MAZING! Â for the entire 10 minute of being under the gun, I only took breaks to stretch my back. Â PAIN TOLERATED! Â Of course it’s still there, but for such a weakling like me… it felt so bad-ass to go through with it without actually barfing!
MEDITATION… wow. Â It’s FREEDOM! It freed me from pain… moments after this, I realized I could free my worries, anxieties etc. Â just meditate.
and before I thought of meditaion as a boring hobby. Â You sit there doing nothing. inhale, exhale… what do you even think about?
This whole exercise changed my life. Â It controlled my emotions which I have so many of. Â That, I needed so much on my life. Â And lately, I see my self in my friends too. Complains, confusion, a mix of emotions. Â Been there, done that. Â I am still on my journey towards enlightenment (I’m not Buddhist, I’m just a weakling trying to rise up). Â I’m not perfect, not close to being one… and I still get ticked a few times (traffic in Manila, hello). Â But it helped me mature in so many ways.
I think, meditation is the key to get smokers to quit smoking, for those in grief, to those in rehab… for people with a whole lot of emotional baggage like me.
It’s time to move on. Â I highly recommended pole dancing because it ended my quarter life crisis. Â Now if pole dancing isn’t really for you, try meditation.
There are two kinds of problems in life – external and internal. Â You can’t do anything about the external, you can’t control or manipulate it no matter how hard you try. Â But if you touch the inner-self, you would also begin to know how to react to your external problems in a way that would benefit you.
Let’s not cloud our minds with negativity and things we cannot change.
Let us move on.
Go beyond our fears, failures, mistakes and devastations.