What Should I Be Doing?

Lately, I’ve been working on finding the balance between what I should be doing, and what I’m actually doing.

I successfully navigate life using a planner. Each day I have a list of between 3-12ish things to accomplish. I think of things throughout the week, and assign them days to get done, as well as write down things every evening that I want to do the next day. Some days I accomplish everything and more, and other days I accomplish almost nothing. Where is the balance? Why does this happen?

When I don’t accomplish the things I wanted, I usually feel pretty conflicted about it. I feel like, well yeah I didn’t get my homework done today, but I worked on some of my knitting, watched some interesting videos, and saw some cool stuff on Instagram and Pinterest, so really was there any harm done? I also feel like the world is probably going to end, that I’m not going to have enough time the next day to finish everything now that I didn’t do what I was supposed to today, and that I really screwed up. The thing is though, eventually, everything I write down does get done. I never turn my homework in late. The world never ends.

So the battle rages on between what I think I should be doing, and what I actually do. I know that if everything gets done, then there was no harm in knitting or scrolling Pinterest, but for some reason I still feel there is a battle going on!

My goal for this next week is to successfully accomplish everything I need to, and everything I want to, and be happy about it. The battle cannot exist if I do not create it, right?

A lesson in witholding judgement

I got to school today, and picked a nice bench on the quad to sit down and eat my lunch, since its insanely nice out. I watched a group of people, 4 guys and a girl, playing frisbee for a while. The guys were all running around, diving and jumping for the frisbee, while the girl just stood there and stretched her arm out pathetically if the frisbee came near her. They were all wearing athletic clothes, and she was in jeans. I saw her hug one of the guys, and concluded that she must have came to play only because he invited her, and that she was less cool/interesting than the guys who decided that they wanted to come out and play on this beautiful day.

I hear her say, “Guys! What if I use my left hand?” They all refused her, and I was curious, why would she want to use her left hand? The frisbee was thrown to her, and she caught it. She took off running, all the way across the quad, then turned around and threw that frisbee further than I’ve ever seen a frisbee be thrown. I was totally shocked and impressed. She wasn’t playing before, not because she was lame, but because they wouldn’t let her because she was too good!

I am grateful to have received this little lesson in withholding judgement, something I’ve been working on lately.

8 Reasons to Visit Thailand (Reason #8!!)

Reason #8: THE BEACH

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You probably should have seen that one coming. Beaches exist all over the planet, and while there isn’t really anything specific that makes the ones in Thailand special, they do have one thing going for them: they’re in Thailand!

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Many touristy beaches are near markets where you can get a Thai massage, buy souvenirs, or even better, a nice cold Thai Ice Tea or Fruit Smoothie.

If you find yourself on a west-facing beach, do yourself a favor and watch the sunset at least once.

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Wherever your Thailand travels take you, whether to a lovely beach town, or to the jungles of Chiang Mai (hopefully both), I wish you a Thai Iced Tea, a Thai massage, and a Thai Smile.

I’ll be leaving for my second trip to Thailand on the 5th of January, and I’m saving all the money I can for a semester full of massages and motorbike rides. If you’d like to help me out, click here!

On Some Major Diet Changes

Within the past few weeks, I’ve been working on eating in a way that makes me feel most awesome. I frequently get weird brain fog about half way through the day, and guessed that my diet could have something to do with this.

The changes started with sugar. Sugar and I have been at war for a while now, and I suspected he was the culprit of my brain fog. I had been letting him win the war for too long, and I was so over it! It would begin with just one little sugary snack, and suddenly I would go crazy, trying to eat everything sugary in sight! I felt totally like a victim to sugar, like there was nothing I could do to stop this insane craving. Then one day, I decided that enough was enough, and that I would not be a victim to sugar, because I am wayyyyy more powerful than that! And then the war was over. Really! It was that easy! I still crave sugary things, but now I grab something green and leafy instead, and I feel about a million times better. Not to say that I have totally given up sugar, I still eat yummy treats sometimes. But I do it from an empowered space, knowing that I am the one in charge, and that makes all the difference. Did you know that sugar is basically a drug? Check it out!

My other major diet changes have also stemmed from my quest to feel awesome every second of every day. I have been vegetarian for about 2 months now, and life is basically the same. I didn’t eat much meat before, so it wasn’t a major thing to go without. I’ve been relying on eggs as my main source of protein, eating 2 a day usually. But, within the past few days, I have learned a whole lot about animal cruelty. It is totally not okay with me, so I’ve decided to try and go vegan for a while! I’m not completely committed, since I don’t know how my body will handle this, but hopefully it is something I can work with. I’ve also learned a little something from the Paleo diet, which is that grains are a big no no! They have a whole bunch of stuff in them that our bodies are not a fan of. They can’t digest them properly, and we don’t end up absorbing the nutrients. I don’t know all the science, but you can read more here if you’re interested. Sprouted Grains are grains that have been soaked and sprouted, so they are alive and full of nutrients, and our bodies CAN digest them! So, I’ll be sticking to sprouted grains from now on. I would suggest trying out Food for Life brand 7 Sprouted Grains bread if you’re interested! They sell it at most health food stores.

I’ve been really enjoying working with my body to figure out what works best, and this week I’ve also been helping a coworker do the same! I’ve known for a while that one thing I totally love doing is helping people the become their best, healthiest self, and I think eventually I would like to do this as a profession. Right now though, I’m looking for practice, so I can figure out a method that works best in order to eventually be able to make money doing it. So, if you’re interested, I would love to work with you to help you come up with a diet plan that works best for you! Totally free! If you would like, you can donate a few dollars to my trip but thats not necessary. If you’ve been wanting to get yourself on a diet that makes you look and feel good, email me and lets see what we can come up with! eliotjade@cheerful.com

Musings on Happiness

An assignment for class this week requested 300 words about Happiness, and this was the result!

Feeling happy is the end result of feeling many other emotions, and cannot be found or achieved alone. True happiness comes from living a life of love, excitement, kindness, fun, and other related emotions. One thought path is that in order to feel these emotions, and live a happy life, one must first be safe and secure. This is demonstrated in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Another though path is that our outside conditions should not affect our inner conditions, therefore, we can feel the emotions that lead to happiness regardless. This is a Buddhist philosophy. I believe is is impossible to say for sure which is true, but I lean more towards the Buddhist way of thinking.

If Maslow is correct, then using my definition of happiness puts many people in a position where they cannot possibly achieve happiness because they are not secure. With that in mind, consider people living in rural villages, in poor countries, who are apparently some of the happiest people in the world. This seems to help out the Buddhist point of view.

In my own personal experience, I have found it quite difficult to not let my external conditions dictate my internal ones, but I have occasionally succeeded. It requires much intention, awareness, and practice. This in some way proves both theories to be true!

If a person is living in a constant state of unconscious autopilot, it rings true that they would require a sense of safety from their external conditions in order to experience the emotions that lead to happiness. One who is awake and aware can learn to create a sense of stability within themselves, not requiring a stable exterior, therefore, can feel the emotions that lead to happiness regardless of their external condition.

This poses another question! If both are true, then is the person who experiences happiness when they external conditions are correct really experiencing true happiness at all?

8 Reasons to visit Thailand (Reason #7)

Reason #7: Night Markets!

While Night Markets aren’t only unique to Thailand, Thai night markets are a totally interesting, fun, and noteworthy experience.

Going to the night market for the first time was quite overwhelming, but after a while, you get used to it. When it starts to get dark, one entire street gets blocked off, and vendors set up various booths. Food, knock off electronics, clothes, accessories, souvenirs, and toys are all common.

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The smoothie booth was probably my favorite. For 1 dollar, you get a pretty decent sized smoothie, in whatever flavor you wish! Smoothie vendors are very common in Thailand, and can be found all over the place, not just night markets. Other food booths are also common, you can see photos of them on my food post.

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Another common staple at the night market is cheap sunglasses. You have about a million options to choose from, for only $3!

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Various handmade goods and accessories are also abundant. These booths were always one of my favorite to look through.

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These carved soap flowers were at almost every night market I went to. I didn’t learn until almost the end of my trip that they are made of soap! I never did find out why they make these flowers out of soap or what they’re for, and google doesn’t seem to know either! Anybody have any ideas?

Night markets can be found in towns all over Thailand, so head over there and check it out! If you enjoyed reading this post, don’t forget to check out my next trip to Thailand.

8 Reasons to visit Thailand (Reason #6)

Reason #6: Thai Massage

Thai massage really should probably be the #1 reason to visit Thailand. I don’t have many photos of the experience, since I was not usually very focused on taking photos when I was about to get an epic massage.

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Thai massage is a lot different than your average message, and personally, I would say way better. When you arrive, you change into very loose fitting clothes; a big cotton shirt, and pants that tie. The massage is done fully clothed. You lie down on a thin mattress on the floor, or a raised platform, and the massage begins. Thai massage is also called Thai Yoga, if that gives you a better idea of what goes on. Your masseuse, starting with your feet, will push and pull your body in every different direction, getting you all nice and stretched out. Some people Thai massage “Lazy Man’s Yoga.”

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After the massage, you’re almost always given a cup of tea, and once I even got a mini banana! You are expected to drink the tea, as it helps you to settle down after the massage, instead of rush out the door. Even if you don’t find it to be that great tasting, (I think it tastes ok!) you should try and gulp it down out of respect.

BUT I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet! The massage only costs 6-9 dollars (depending where you are in Thailand) for a whole hour!!!!!!!

We’re almost through with all 8 reasons! Have you booked your ticket yet? 😉 I’ll be booking mine soon for my next trip!

On Ant Farms and Being Magical

It’s a very strange thing to know you’re magical in a world of sleeping humans. It’ve been slightly deprived of magical people contact for the past few months, so this weekend I took an adventure day to a reiki healing group, and a Thai massage class. At the reiki group I was told to “give myself some Eliot gifts” which really made me feel all nice and fuzzy, so I’m working on that this week.

The weather has turned a little cooler and I’ve been inspired to start working on knitting some socks! Using this pattern but altered a little bit. Also because of the weather, I went to the park after work today. I sat on top of a hill, did some stretching and reading, and noticed a man laying on the ground looking for something. After a while I got too curious so I went over to talk to him. He was digging through ant hills trying to find a Queen Ant for his ant farm! He taught me alllll about ants, and it was a very enlightening experience. People are cool, and life is fun.

Today marks the end of my first full week of eating on a $40/week budget. I spent 50 cents over, which is totally not bad. It’s great to know I can do this! I’m learning what things are worth spending money on and what things really are not. Tonight I splurged on some ice cream as a reward for doing an A+ job at eating healthy and sticking to my budget.

If you read this and you’re cool and magical, contact me! Let’s be friends!

8 Reasons to visit Thailand (Reason #5)

Reason #5: FOOD

There are many things to say about eating in Thailand. First of all, where else can you order french fries out of a photo album?!

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But seriously, food is a big part of the Thailand experience. I went to Thailand a very picky eater, and came home eating everything. While they do have some “normal” food there like Burger King, Pizza Hut ect. the Thai food is much more abundant. The most famous dish I would think is Pad Thai, which coincidentally I have never tried! While there are many other Thai dishes that I didn’t end up getting my hands on, I did eat lots of yummy seafood! One of my favorite dishes from my trip was this baked fish.

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At the night markets, fresh sea food is always an option.

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As well as this insanely delicious pancake/crepe type dish called Rotee. You can get it with nearly any fruit or syrup, and then it is usually glazed in sweetened condensed milk. Sweetened condensed milk is also used in other insanely delicious Thai treat: Thai ice tea. I will forever be sad about how Thai tea costs $3.50 in america instead of the $.60 cents that it costs in Thailand.

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Thailand also has an assortment of yummy snacks to be found at any 7/11 which are on nearly every corner. Some of my favorites were this mocha flavored milk, and jello packet!

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There really is something to be said about food in Thailand, and I think it has a lot to do with the people. Thai people are so happy and kind, and when they bring your food to the table you can’t help but be happy about it! But hey, go check it out for yourself!

If you enjoyed reading this article, consider donating to my next trip to Thailand!