The sense of relief is almost a “high” when you get to the point you get rid of things that aren’t useful, aren’t beautiful, don’t uplift you, or can’t be repaired. Even the things that you have duplicates of, and don’t have a place to be put away – really, if you can’t find it when you need it – how useful is it?
List #1 of 10 Awesome Actions!
You need to start somewhere! Here are some simple actions to start finding Awesome. Pick one a day and just do it! I highly recommend doing 1 & 2 every single day.
1. Repeat to yourself: “I am Awesome!”
- Feels lame and false at first, but keep doing it – every day! Make it something you just do. When someone asks how you are during the day, say “I’m Awesome.”
- I started doing this – practicing on myself by saying and thinking the words at home, then with anyone who asked me how I was. I still remember the day, when at a work meeting, someone I didn’t know well asked me, and I gave my “awesome” reply. Actually, I said, “I am Fantabulous!” They gave me a funny look. Another co-worker who I worked closely with, said, “No, really, she means it.” And, you know what? I really did!
2. Repeat to yourself 20x’s: “Everyday, in every way, I get better and better.”
- None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes, and we have a chance, every minute of the day to work towards overcoming them, even if it is starting by forgiving ourselves, and resolving to get better and better, every day.
3. Compliment yourself in some way
- There is something about you that deserves a compliment. Find at least one!
4. Compliment someone else
- Pick one thing about someone and say something nice. You will make someone feel good. How do you feel after doing that?
5. Hold the door for someone as you enter or exit.
6. Say “Thank you” to whoever holds the door for you!
7. Do one thing, take one step towards an Ultimate Awesome Goal
- What would you do, if there were no obstacle?
- Do one small thing towards it.
- Read something about it
- List why you want to do it
- Ask someone about it
- Make a super broad/general plan on how you could get there.
8. Get a full 8 hours of sleep.
- Being rested makes finding your Awesome easier.
- Turn off the TV, take a hot bath/shower, find a way to turn off your brain.
9. Talk to someone who listens
- Friends, family, help-line, spiritual or lay person
10. Read about someone who did something Awesome
- How did they figure out their version of Awesome?
- How did they start?
What do you do to find Awesome in your day and in your life? I love to hear what you do!
Abandoned buildings are places that have lost usefulness, perhaps holding a memory that no one wants, and left alone to be reclaimed by nature and the fog of human memory. There is just something about these places that capture my imagination.
My friend Alan, who had acted in a short film that was shot in this area, told me about the location, saying he wanted to return to take photos. When he asked me to join him, I said “Yes!” almost before he finished speaking.
We visited an abandoned asylum. I won’t be saying specifically where we went, but if I know you personally, and you want to go, I’ll see if I can remember. Do you get what I’m laying down?
Once we arrived, we started walking around to get a feel for the place. The grounds are set back from the road, and are quiet and peaceful. We could hear the trees moving, leaves rustling, the beat of the bird wings, and were surrounded by bird song. It had just rained, so I got some lovely nature photos.
We walked past many buildings, all boarded up and overgrown.
The walk around outside was neat, but we had a particular destination in mind. Here is a virtual tour…
We came to the front door, which was already gaping wide open. How convenient! It apparently isn’t always like this – I was glad not to have to enter from the basement!
It was at this point I broke out my face mask. We could see the haze. I got a good ol’ P100 dust mask – good for lead and asbestos abatement work. I was hoping it worked for mold spores too – no telling what was in that dusty haze!
This is the first look inside.
Once inside we could hear a perfect soundtrack of drips, splorts, and spatters.
We spent most of our time in this building – there was no lack of things to see and photo. It looked like there was a rave or two thrown here. The “Buddy System” is certainly a must, when exploring this area!
We weren’t the only ones there. A guy and two girls showed up about a half hour after we did. We thought they were just exploring like we were, but learned differently once we made it up to the second level. The fellow is a photographer working on a project of artistic nudes in abandoned buildings. Lucky for the girls, it was a warm day.
One of my favorite parts of the adventure was how nature was reclaiming the structures. Small trees, ferns, and mosses were everywhere there was a “skylight”. Those parts seemed almost magical to me.
Here is a slide show from my flickr acct:
HOW TO: Explore an Abandoned Building*
*Disclaimer: The author of this article does not condone breaking any laws or trespassing. This “How To” is purely for entertainment.
- Bring a Buddy: Always, always use the buddy system when exploring abandoned buildings. You are exploring a place that isn’t being maintained, or monitored. If you get hurt, which is entirely possible, you need someone to help you out of the building or to run and get aid.
- Dress appropriately: Long sleeves and pants. Sturdy shoes to protect your feet and support your ankles. It is probably a good idea for the shoes to be waterproof. No one likes to step in a squishy puddle of questionable liquids. I can assure you, it is nothing you want actually touching your skin.
- Bring in flashlights and spotlights: Oh, and spare batteries. There are no electric lights here! The power company has abandoned this place too!
- Dust mask: Check that the mask is rated P100, and or is used for lead, asbestos and mold abatement. We weren’t there long, but I wasn’t taking a chance. They are uncomfortable, and fog your glasses, but lead and asbestos dusts, and mold spores do bad, bad things in your lungs.
- Be safe: The structure is abandoned and thus not maintained. Floors, stairs, surfaces may not be strong enough to hold your weight, and may be slippery. Ceilings may fall at any time – look up and take care walking under things. Know where you are at all times.
- Not entirely legal: Just be aware that if you don’t own the building, it is probably not OK to be there. Check for “No Trespassing” signs. Know that you are proceeding at your own risk.
Has anyone done this kind of thing before? Is anything missing from this How To list? Let me know!
What is a Pirate’s favorite letter?
Are you all ready for tomorrow?!!!
Wait….you mean you don’t know what tomorrow is? No?!? Well, lets fix that situation right now. Now, I say!
Tomorrow is International Talk Like a Pirate Day!!!!
Oh, yes it is! Click on the banner to go to the official site!!!
Tomorrow is a very special day, where we all have permission to TALK LIKE A PIRATE!
Facebook also gives an option to change your facebook language to “English-Pirate”
Often people ask if I’m traveling to find myself. I, happily, really like who I am. I also know who I am. It is because I know myself that I choose, or perhaps feel driven to travel.
I absolutely love the people in my life, and my home. I also deeply love experiencing other ways of life and making new friends when I travel.
Traveling for an extended time is an amazing experience, and challenging, too. Unless you are in a single place for at least a month or so, it is hard to make new friendships, and not to be looked through by shop keepers. Even when you are quite comfortable with your own company, it can occasionally be a bit lonely.
So far, I’ve used AirBnB for most of my lodging. The idea is that people rent out a room in their home or entire flat, and thus have some cultural exchange. Many times it has been a wonderful experience. A few of the times the rentals were run by a rental company, and not very personal. I don’t enjoy those as much. As I was planning Singapore and Hong Kong, most were agencies or hostels, not homey. So, I tried something different.
I just experienced Couchsurfing for the first time.
Couchsurfing is a online board that people can use to find travelers to Host or Couches to Surf. There is no expectation of payment, just cultural exchange, help around the house, or maybe a small souvenir from the Surfer’s home. Or even just conversation.
The process is like this:
- Go to Couchsurfing.com and create a profile.
- Start a search on where you want to visit, and look through the Host profiles, and see what is a good match. See if your interests mesh, do they have something to share that would be meaningful to you? Do you have something to offer to teach, learn, share with them?
- When you find a Host that looks good, send a CouchRequest to them and see if they offer to Host you.
There are all kinds of people in the world, and it is the same in the Couchsurfing world, too.
My first Couchsurfing experience was great! Weizhen, my Host in Singapore is a great person, and we had wonderful conversation about Massage Therapy, which I practice, and Traditional Chinese Medicine, which she is practices. She picked me up from the metro stop and we went to dinner. She asked what I liked, and chose the place, and I treated. I think she was planning on treating, but I beat her to the register.
After dinner and great conversation, she took me to her clinic, where I slept in the treatment room on a massage table. I’ve slept many a time on my own table, and on more uncomfortable beds, so I slept well.
She returned the next morning, and when she found out that I was having some, shall we say, “abdominal discomfort of the travelers variety”, she gave me a consult and prescription of Chinese herbal medicine. THEN, she said when I return to Singapore in a couple if weeks, return to her and she will provide a treatment for another issue (was also diagnosed by a TCM practitioner in NH, USA).
As I write this, I’m flying from Singapore to Hong Kong. I “kind of” have a second Couchsurfing spot lined up. My next Host’s English is loads better than my Chinese, but seeing as I only know how to say “Hello” and “Thank you”, that isn’t saying much.
My seat mate is a woman from Singapore named Lillian. We are having wonderful conversations, and she has been brainstorming on possible options for who she knows who could host me. Her thoughts are so generous! She insisted on buying me a muffin and coffee! If our schedules allow, we may meet for coffee while she is in Hong Kong, and she offered to take me to dinner when I return to Singapore.
A day or so ago, I was feeling not so good, and like a stranger every where I went. (Cuz I am – LOL). I thought hard about what I wanted from my experience, and wished to find warmth of spirit and to feel cared for, and like magic, I was gifted with these people.
Just went through the change on my shelf:
Colones, Pesos, Czeck Crowns, British Pound, and Euros. It’s nice to arrive in a new country with some of the local currency. I’m still looking for the Thai Baht and the Japanese Yen. I’ll need those too.
Ah, Squats. That is an interesting word. Not exactly lovely. Not exactly poetic. Just a description/name of an activity that is essential for health and longevity.
I’ll be honest. The main reason that I joined Crossfit, besides needing to improve my overall fitness very quickly, was to intensively work on my squat.
You might think that joining a gym for a specific motion like a squat is a random thing to want to improve. Well, I’m planning on spending some extended time in South East Asia, and I will at some point have to excrete waste products. Liquid elimination isn’t such a difficult thing, as any of my female readers have all probably performed the hover maneuver. It is the solid waste products, the poo, if you will, that poses a challenge.
I have been to Thailand and Laos, and have had to go into a public rest room and had to rethink my whole process. The process became a “plan of attack”.
Why attack? A hole in the ground, with places indicated for the waste eliminator to put his/her feet – right next to said hole is called a Squat Toilet. That is a threat (to my shoes and lower garments), and, when you aren’t used to the process, it seems like an aggression. You have GOT TO “GO”, and don’t have the accustomed tools to get the job done.
I try to only post photos that I have taken. I didn’t get a photo like this while I was in Thailand, as I was slightly traumatized by the experience. I did not take the photo that the following link will show, but this is what many of the Thai Squatty Potties were like.
Note the furnishings.
- The potty is actually porcelain or perhaps plastic. I was not going to touch it to find out for you. Some were visually identified as stainless steel.
- You can observe the foot positions on either side of the “basin”.
- Also there is a spicket, with a large bucket/basin of water, and a small scoop/cup.
Note the lack of Toilet Paper. One can not or should not “flush” toilet paper down them. The toilet paper has to be disposed of in the trash can, which is usually in the back corner. Happily, the used toilet paper bin is not depicted in the photo. The bin isn’t usually full, as the public rest rooms do not supply the toilet paper. You must bring your own. Be prepared. I also recommend bringing some wet wipes, but that is just me. I’ve found suggestions on the web to use a long piece of twine, thread it through the center of a toilet paper roll, and tie the ends securely, and hang the combination around your neck, like a toilet paper necklace. Etsy, here I come!
If you already don’t do so, perhaps change your diet while on your trip. I recommend a healthy amount of fiber in your diet. Consider restricting food items that cause loose eliminations. Just sayin. Moving on…
Most of us have become accustomed to the Western Toilet. I know I certainly have. So I did some research on how to make the process of elimination via squatty potty as graceful as that function could be. According to the info I found, elimination via squat is the original way we humans eliminated waste. Makes sense, right? Physiologically, it is also anatomically correct position for efficient and easy elimination. Things just move smoothly, if you catch my meaning. That all supposes that one can assume the position.
Here is one of the best descriptions I’ve found on line. With instructional images!
Basically, the process goes like this:
- If you are a newby to this method of elimination, you should probably remove your garments from the waist down, and hang them out of splash range. Keep your shoes on, for the sake of all that is Holy.
- Place your feet on the textured foot prints, and assume the position thusly.
- Do not fall over.
- Perform your waste elimination function.
- Remember that basin of water and cup? These, my friends and readers, are the tools used for what we in the West call the “wiping” function. Except, in the Squatty Potty process, it is more of a splash/rinse function. Your LEFT hand will perform a wipe motion. Yes, you will be touching your own anal area, and most probably your own poo.
- Once you are traumatized by the touching your own ass, you will then use the scoop to rinse the basin of your excrement, three to five times.
- Hopefully you brought hand sanitizer with you.
- Re-clothe your nether regions with the garments previously removed.
- Remember to eat with your RIGHT hand.
Prior to Crossfit, I tested out my squat motion, and found it significantly lacking. I always thought of myself as flexible person, hip wise. Well, I could get down there, but it wasn’t pretty, or comfortable, or steady. One requires a steady squat, to avoid tipping into and touching bad things. So, for two months I’ve been practicing my squat, in conjunction with the other activities that require good strong steady squats. I have a good position now, but luckily, I have another month or three to, shall we say, get it down.
But wait! THERE’S MORE!
Luckily improving my squat will provide much more in the way of life long benefits. I actually just spent time with a personal trainer to improve my squat. If you are in the Manchester NH area, Dayne Johnston at Granite State Crossfit is great to work with on Mobility. In fact, all of the coaches at GSCF are awesome, and I’ve learned from each of them. (Love you guys!!!!)
Squatting is not just a lower body exercise. Think of it as a whole body exercise, especially for your core and hip muscles. I’ve done a crap-ton of squats in my short time, so far, with Crossfit, and while I haven’t worked specifically on balance, abdominal, back, foot, or ankle strength…all of those have amazingly improved. My posture has changed, and I feel like I walk differently. Granted, I’m always a bit sore, but once that discomfort passes, I am actually stronger. With all of the benefits above, wouldn’t that make other activities of daily living easier? I think so!
According to my research, squat lifting heavy (tailored to you) weights trigger the release of testosterone and human growth hormone. Both of these hormones help in muscle growth.
Stronger muscles burn more fat, and flexible muscles help with general mobility. Squats prevent injuries by strengthening the stabilizer muscles, and improving your flexibility.
Here is a good article that I found doing a quick search on the benefits of squats.
For anyone interested in learning some stretches to help improve their squat, definitely check out anything by Kelly Starrett, who is a doctor of Physical Therapy, and the founder of Mobility WOD. Most in the Crossfit world know who he is, but here is another cool article singing his praises, and includes some links to some of his videos:
Here is a great link on stretching for squats.
Thanks for reading! I leave you with this blessing:
May all the water you drink be potable, and may all your moves be smooth.