okay. so this is it. there is no more procrastinating. no more perfecting my words. no more clearing my throat. or doing more research. or reading more literature. or looking at pretty pictures. The truth is I can’t go to this place you see above, or this place you see below…
… it’s not because I have a broken leg or something. Or because I can’t afford it. No, it is because of something I said.
But what could I have said that could stop me from going to a place as magical as this? Well, the thing is that I only told one person. I mean, I am no speech maker. I only have a little quiet voice. and it wasn’t made for making loud noises. So I haven’t announced this to an audience. Or even a group of individuals.
I can’t visit this place because, well, I made a pact. You know some people get tattoos, or get a second earring hole. Or maybe pierce their nose. Or their tongue. I made a pact. And I declared my pact to this person…
His name is Tenpa . And he was born in the country I can’t go to. And perhaps I’m crazy to have made a pact to say that I can’t go there, because it is obviously full of the inspiration I crave – full of nature, full of colour, and life, and natural wonders, and full of photo opportunities to say the least. In fact, just like all ethnic cultures that us creatives derive inspiration from, this country and it’s culture is at the height of it all. It is in fact, the rooftop of the world. Yes, I’m talking about magnificent Tibet…
Back in the early ’80′s, when some of us were sporting bubble skirts (yes i confess), and large bangs, and listening to Wham, Tenpa’s mom was walking across those mountains with her 5 year old son on her back. She was escaping. Although she had done nothing wrong except breath which all of us are ‘guilty’ of, she was getting the hell out of there. For 15 days she trekked through that snow. And there were others too. A group of about 10 people, some old, some young. And some died. I often close my eyes and try to imagine being Tenpa’s mom on that mountain top. She would have been about my age. What would I see? Would I look back and whisper goodbye to my home? And as I struggle through the snow with nothing but the clothes on my back and my son at my heels, what would I be thinking as I watched others on my same path lay down of exhaustion and die? If it was me I would be scared out of my wits. But something must have been scarier behind Tenpa’s amala than in front of her, otherwise she would never have made the trip. No woman, man or child in their right mind would make that trip without a good bloody, freakin’ scary reason.
So baby Tenpa made it to India alive and so did his amala. But not for long, she lasted ‘in freedom’ for only five years, and died when he was ten.
Fast forward to the year two thousand and Tenpa arrives in Sydney, stepping off a plane for the first time in his life. He’s been granted a special visa to live in Australia thanks to his Dad who endured over 14 years of imprisonment and brutal torture in China for being a Tibetan monk. And yes he was a special sort of monk, he was a Rinpoche. For us novices of Buddhism this means he was a reincarnation.
Now, I’m no Buddhist so I won’t go off on a tangent and pretend that I know anything about monks and reincarnation. But I do know I’ve met many people in my little 30 years on this planet and I can assure you that Tenpa’s pala is without a doubt the gentlest person I have ever met in my life. He has not even lifted a finger to kill a mosquito sucking on his arm. In fact, while he endures the sting from the blood sucking creature he just smiles at me. I can imagine why too, that sting must feel like a kiss compared to what he has endured in his lifetime.
So under miraculous circumstances, Tenpa and my life crossed paths, and we’ve been crossing and weaving each others paths ever since. And that is when I made the pact. My reasoning was simple – for as long as Tibetans are not free to come and go from their own country, then nor am I. I made a pact that I would not go there until Tibet was safe. More poignantly, saved.
Which brings me back to this post. We all know Tibet has been in turmoil for the last 50 years. We all know that it is in the media right now. And we all know why. So just like I put Africa in the Spotlight in light of the horrific-ness of what was happening in Kenya two months ago, the time has come to put Tibet in the spotlight. For some reason it is harder for me to get these words out about Tibet. And I can’t discuss the brutality that is going on right now because it makes me vomit. It has taken me many hours to even get these words out and onto this post.
But since I’m in the habit of making pacts, what the hell, I’m making another one. I am no Steven Spielberg, Björk, Tina Turner, or Richard Gere. But I am the friend of this man. And he is the friend of this man. And his people need us. And lets be honest, are we not sick of hearing about the abuse of human rights in the 21st century? I don’t want to hear about another Tibetan nun shot dead. Or see another photo of a young, unarmed Tibetan protester shot dead. I want to hear that our voices are being heard and we can make this world a better and safer place. And to do that I will be showcasing Tibet and everything and everyone inspirational connected with it here in the (blog)house along with all our other wonderful design finds from around the globe. Tibet will now be an official part of the (blog)house until everyone in Tibet and associated with Tibet is safe. And in the meantime, I stand by my friend while his voice echoes through the loud speakers. He does have a louder voice than me after all. There is no doubt you will be seeing Tenpa on the TV and in the papers in Australia and the world in the months to come. And it will be for all the right reasons. But my wish is that one fine day, my pact will be met and I will travel to Tibet with my best friend and have Tibetan tea in a place just like this…
All Tibet images courtesy of L’Internaute.
And music by none other than the very talented Tenzin Cheogyal. Click here to visit his website, and here to download free mp3′s like this one you are listening to – another example of how generous the Tibetan people are.