Little Joys Ch.78: Coming home and the joy of being alive

This post is part of an ongoing challenge to share a little joy I have found each day of this year, and perhaps for the rest of my life. I hope you enjoy it!

March 27th, 2020

 

When I first began this journey of writing down a little joy I found each day, one of the most important factors was actually, without fail, doing it daily. The concept was similar to a meditation practice, only the focus was to inspire myself through this mindful remembrance of delightful things, no matter how small, that I experienced each day. This was largely inspired by Ross Gays book of small delights, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Sometimes, especially as I was traveling, life would get in the way and I would not post for a day or two, and I would simply make it up by compiling the two or three days into one post. But I find myself having not written a post for 8 days, and that begs the question of whether I should do another list, and I think it is best to just let that go. It is less important to me to be perfect in this tracking then it is to take joy in the act itself of writing about joy, and not be stressing about perfection.

So to celebrate 8 days of absence, I will write quite a long post today.

I find myself now, after nearly 10 months on the road traveling, back in Canada. It was a long and exhausting journey, a journey that was filled with many, many little joys, but also lots of irritations. One of the greatest things we can learn with travel is what we really need in life to be content, and I realize that although I love to travel and will do so again, that I much prefer routine and staying in one spot then running all over non stop. travel vlogs which rely on people watching them to make money paint a rosy picture of travel that is only partially true and ignores all the stress and hardship of being in new locations, especially when traveling for significant periods of time. There are, of course, tons of benefits and wonders to travel. The people you meet, the beautiful places you get to see, the things you learn about cultures around the world, these all help to shift and expand your perceptions and become, hopefully, a better human being who is able to appreciate the simple beauty of life.

I consider myself blessed to have had the opportunity to travel multiple times, and this journey has led me to foray into online work, which will allow me to travel even more freely in the future. That same online work will allow me to weather this economic upheaval brought on by the corona virus much better than many people, and I am very grateful that I have gotten this opportunity to put my writing skills to use that will keep me afloat.

After 3 days, 3 planes, and 3 cities, totaling over 20 hours of flight time, I found myself touching down safely in Toronto airport. I was dead tired, and had not managed to sleep in over 30 hours, I then had to take a rental car and, isolating myself as much as possible, drive 6 hours to Montreal where my parents live, and simply park my car at 3 in the morning in my Fathers driveway, and try to get an hour or two of sleep until I could get some supplies from him and go self-isolate up at a cottage in the north for two weeks. On arriving there, I was delighted to be surrounded by beautiful nature, and a large cottage to keep myself from going stir crazy after such a large transition from freedom in Asia and sun to the cold of winter and isolation in Canada. Unfortunately, due to unfortunate circumstances, I was forced to leave the cottage the very next day, and now find myself in an airbnb here in the city, which although not as beautiful or as liberating as the cottage out in nature was, is still nice and I am grateful to have a comfortable place to wait out my two week sentence.

There is joy mixed into all that mess of a few days, and I am functioning a little better today after so little sleep.

Although coming home is very difficult, especially with corona rearing its head, I am very grateful to be safe and symptom free, with a family that took a lot of time to help me transition more easily here, and friends who are all welcoming me back. I tend to be a very pessimistic person in general, but I can honestly say that this trip has taught me to appreciate life and all the little things greatly, and I hope to continue to share my perceptions with everyone and bring some more inspiration to the world through my writing and work.

Thanks to all who read and listen to my ramblings.

As always, stay healthy and let your geek freak fly.

Little Joys Ch.75-76-77: Sex, Corona virus, community effort and fear control

This post is part of an ongoing challenge to share a little joy I have found each day of this year, and perhaps for the rest of my life. I hope you enjoy it!

March 16th, 2020

One of the more amusing facets of being in Thailand is that sex, although still quite closeted between Thai people themselves, is so openly marketed and sold to foreigners. I found myself enjoying a hilarious moment while I myself was getting a massage. Another foreigner had come in with a masseuse and we could clearly here them bargaining on what sexual favors would be exchanged for what price and whether another masseuse would be brought in as well. My therapist and I found the whole thing quite funny, and instead of a zen finish to my session, I instead found myself randomly giggling with a stranger as we both attempted to remain serious in the face of an obvious sexual exchange happening nearby us. There are small joys everywhere these days.

March 17th, 2020

Fear is everywhere these days, and so I find myself comforted by the fact that I remain quite unaffected. Perhaps people will find this statement callous, but I take it as a sign that my travels have instilled in me a greater understanding of what it means to truly be afraid, and of all the really horrifying things that are out there in the world. A big part of our problem in the western world is that we have become so protected from most harms that we overreact to even the smallest of fears in a magnified way. Perhaps it is strange to say, but I take a small quiet joy in my subconscious being under control enough that it does not give in to fear and merely does what it can to stay safe and move on with life.

March 18th, 2020

For many of us, the only real spur to working together with our communities is when tragedy strikes. Natural disasters, sickness, they bring us together and motivate us to work as a team. I happened to witness entire streets being hosed down by trucks, and then the entire community was out there with soap, broom and mop trying to scrub down entire roads and sidewalks as a preventative measure to the spread of corona virus. I am not sure how much scrubbing down the streets will prevent the spread, as it is mainly humans who are doing the spreading, but the positive effects from just coming together and working to help out has many other health improving side effects. It is always a pleasure to see people do what they can to help themselves and others.

As always, stay healthy and let your geek freak fly.

Staying healthy when stressful situations arise

There will always be periods of time in your life where your training will take a backseat to some kind of hectic situation that has arisen. It may be something as mundane as a work project, or traveling, or something more serious such as a sickness or death in the family.

At the end of the day what matters is that you do the best you can with what you have. Trying to make big gains in strength, weight loss, mass gain, or any other big energy consuming task while also dealing with a big amount of stress is not ideal. At that point going into a recovery and maintenance mode is the best plan.

Figure out the minimum amount of training you can do to keep yourself healthy, maintain your muscle mass or weight loss/gain, and do everything you can to keep the status quo. If 30 minutes twice a week is all you can manage, well what is the best use of those 30 minutes?

If you do not have time to make good quality home cooked meals, well then what foods can you stock up on that are quick and easy to consume that are also as nutrient dense and will create the least havoc and fat gain?

There is always a better way to deal with a situation. The worse a situation becomes then the more you need to takeĀ  better care of yourself so that you will be able to handle whatever gets thrown at you.

Ask for help, reach out to friends and family, or even online, where many people have probably gone through what you have and are more than willing to support you.

Remember that you have what it takes to make any kind of difficult situation better, and that people are out there to help. Don’t be a lone wolf, or let yourself succumb to misery. Be kind to yourself, but remember that taking good care of yourself even in the worst case scenarios is a kindness to yourself.

As always, stay healthy and let your geek freak fly.

Little Joys Ch.61-62-63

This post is part of an ongoing challenge to share a little joy I have found each day of this year, and perhaps for the rest of my life. I hope you enjoy it!

When life throws you lemons, make lemon ginger and honey tea. Another mashing of days due to life’s unexpected curve balls.

March 1st, 2020

Nothing is as potent as nature for rejuvenating your spirit, at least for me. I have found myself in a bit of a funk these last few days, as weeks of bad sleep, travel, and sickness have taken their toll. Yet I was blessed enough to be given a tip about a waterfall nearby the town I am staying in. After a 40 minute trek I managed to find my way to it, and it was perfection. I was able to wade out into the river and stand under all that raw power, and just allow it to wash away all the crap from my mind for the next few hours, it was beautiful.

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March 2nd, 2020

Human design is everywhere. As someone who’s heart lies more in nature than human architecture, I can still find myself pleasantly surprised and delighted by the design concepts and spaces we create. Having had a rather negative experience at my last guesthouse, I splurged a bit more on my last two days of stay in Ubud and got myself a room at the outpost penestanan, a co-living and co-working spot. The interior of my standard room is gorgeous, with a kind of rock floor that feels oh so good under my toesies, and great modern style, as well as a comfy couch built in that just sets the mood for lazing or working. There is also a great open space outside with pool and shared kitchen, and a really nice co-working space on the roof. It is quite pricey to stay here, but for those with the cash to spend and looking for a positive environment to work online and be with other like minded folks, this place is definitely worth checking out. I for one do not have the money to stay here long, so two nights is all I can enjoy haha.

March 3rd, 2020

We all have our little vices, some beneficial, some harmful, some merely temporarily painful. I have a bit of an addiction to tattoos, and after careful consideration, meaning a day or two of thought, got a new one on my chest, as well as a big touch-up and change of a prior one I had done in Canada but that did not turn out well. There is something about inking my skin that just satisfies some urge I have. Especially for words. Although I have a few designs, most of my tattoos are just words and quotes and poems. It just feels right to have them near me at all times. It brings me joy, lots of it.

For anyone wondering, the symbol on my arm is from the Zelda series, it is a modified triforce. The quote on my chest is from my recently mentioned book the slow regard of silent things by Patrick Rothfuss. I am highly tempted to get a Walt Whitman poem either on my back or my side, so stay tuned.

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Little Joys ch.54

This post is part of an ongoing challenge to share a little joy I have found each day of this year, and perhaps for the rest of my life. I hope you enjoy it!

February 23rd, 2020

Joy is found in simplicity, in the small moments, in the appreciation of many of the things in life we all tend to take for granted.

These things pass by the wayside of our conscious perception, we become adapted to them, forget them, and show disrespect for their ability to uplift us.

Sometimes it’s passing by a beautiful tree right near our home, ignoring the sound of running water, being annoyed by the chirping of birds in the morning, never taking time to be with the friend you have had for twenty years. Sometimes it’s as simple as forgetting to appreciate medicine, and how, even though it can be dangerous and is not a panacea, can sometimes save our lives, or at least save us from massive discomfort.

As someone who gets incredibly sea sick, I decided to take some medicine on the ferry ride back to Bali yesterday. I felt like I was dying on the first boat ride, and it took me two days to recover from the nausea. Yet just taking two little pills not only completely eliminated the sea sickness on the way back, but allowed me to appreciate the beautiful scenery around me, the light reflecting off water, the mountains in the distance, and even just simple conversation with a fellow passenger beside me.

We are blessed to be born in a modern world which allows us the chance to deal with some of the more unfortunate reactions our bodies have to certain things.

I for one am very happy to have found those pills.

Remember folks, stay healthy and let your geek freak fly!

Little Joys Ch.53

This post is part of an ongoing challenge to share a little joy I have found each day of this year, and perhaps for the rest of my life. I hope you enjoy it!

Sometimes we meet someone who’s life is just made for film. All the craziness they have gone through, the strange opportunities they have gotten, the bad events, they all tie together into a tapestry of years that seem unreal. Yet there they are, and they shift our perspective, make us realize how lucky we are, and how amazing the world can be.

One of the delights of travel is being able to hear the stories of others, it expands our inner world, just like a great novel, and puts our own place on this floating blue ball into perspective.

We are all along for a crazy ride, and if you keep yourself open to experience then you will find people who will share some wild moments with you, and a little bit of joy will seep into your world through them.

Stay healthy, and let your geek freak fly.

Little Joys Ch.49

This post is part of an ongoing challenge to share a little joy I have found each day of this year, and perhaps for the rest of my life. I hope you enjoy it!

February 18th, 2020

I think there is a deep biological connection between us and trees. For most of us, the sight of any sort of tree evokes feelings of calm, of appreciation, and especially of beauty.

I see a negative reaction to nature from someone to be a sign that perhaps things are not going very well for them, as a rejection of beauty is usually one of the first signs of depression or anger.

Having returned to the mainland in Bali today, I decided to walk from the pier to my hostel, about a two and a half hour walk with my 12 kg bag. Perhaps not ideal considering I had recently gotten a sunburn on my face, but damn it I wanted to walk.

It was the right decision.

Street after street, trees abounded. Everywhere I looked nature was interwoven into the fabric of the city.

The only other place I had felt this sense of nature and man together was in Kyoto, but whereas Kyoto had imposed its will upon nature, as the Japanese are masters of, here in Bali you felt more of a relaxed atmosphere. Nature had been allowed to thrive in many places, on fences and houses, around buildings, and all down the road.

It was beautiful, and human, and joyous.

Just what I needed to start my day.

Remember to stay healthy folks, and let your geek freak fly!