Sunday, March 22, 2015

Reinventing the bucket list

I, like most other people, want to do BIG things; travel, hike, run marathons and climb Mount Everest.
I, unlike most other people, am sick.

So - how to create a bucket list when one is bedridden?

The important question is: "what CAN you do? How much is realistically possible?"

I will assume that a person is more or less confided in the apartment, bed and perhaps a little more movement on good days.

I. Traveling without ever leaving home

It is impossible to create the experience without physically being there. But it is possible to create a virtual reality experience.

Find travel documentaries on DVD or on-line about the place you wish to travel to.
Read travel guides.
Watch movies that are situated in the place in question. Read books about the place

Try to recreate the sensory experience.

Study the cuisine of the area and cook - or have someone cook for you, if you can't cook.
Try the specific spices, fruits and vegetables and drinks of the culture. Try the candy.
Now-a-days almost everything can be reached in most places.

Listen to a local radio channel.
Read about the animal life of the area, and try to find recordings of these animals' sounds.
Find out how the weather is, and try to recreate it.

Find out about the smells and scents of the place. That has a very strong impact.
I will always remember the air in Israel, fruity, spicy,  sweet and fragrant... I made Roly-Poly one Chanukkah, and that smelled exactly like the air of Israel...
If you can't find out about things like that, burn some incense or scented candles that strengthen the idea you have about the place.
Try to find flowers that grow naturally in the area, spices and fruits. Those are usually most pleasant scents of the area. You don't need to recreate the heavy smell of rottening vegetation before Monsoon... ;-)

Decorate your bedroom in a way that leads thought to the culture in question. It's not very expensive to have some fabrics, cushions and plaids, and pictures.

Learn the language. You can take any time you like, and you don't need to get more fluent than able to read and understand. Then you will have larger selection of reading material. You can read blogs, news, popular books and magazines from the area.

One thing to remember here is that it's totally OK to go overboard and create a false illusion of the country, the same way St.Patrick's Day celebration caricaturizates the Irish culture, or how Orientalism and Japonism presented an impression that made Princess Soraya of Persia to say that Yves Saint Laurent's fashion was "too oriental" for her... This is for your own pleasure and satisfaction.
You might not have walked the Great Wall of China, but you have experienced China as well as most people will ever do. You can also be proud of the fact that your traveling hasn't teared any resources...

You can order handmade items through internet from all over the world, to get "souvenirs", or learn to make these crafts yourself.

You can print t-shirts and make food gifts to give to your friends as memento from your trip. :-)

I also suggest you give yourself a nice, comfortable pajamas and/or robe, nightgown, lounge wear, with folklore embroidery or other decoration that makes you think of the country.

The wonderful thing about traveling without leaving your home, is that you can travel ANYWHERE and ANY TIME... you can go back in history or outside this galaxy on your travels...

And you can make scrapbooks of your travels.
Either as some sort of notebooks of what you learned and experienced, a bit like a geography lapbook, but you could also take the... illusion even further, and use photos other people have taken as if they were yours.  It's possible to Photoshop yourself anywhere with anyone at any point of time... and most people don't take photos of themselves anyway. They just photograph the environment, the sights, the nature and buildings and monuments. After you're gone, no-one will know who took the photos. No-one need to know you never left your home.

2. Physical achievements

Well... it might not be sensible to think about running a marathon, but there are things you can do.
There is exercise programs designed for people who can't move much. You exercise the part of you that you can move.

I have fibromyalgia, which is a sort of neural inflammation. It means I'm in pain most of the time, if not all of the time, I am tired and grumpy and feel sick. There are days I can't walk. There are days I can run. I can do yoga every day, even the days I'm aching. I'm not talking about power yoga, I'm talking about calm, gentle stretching. Maybe it would be better to call it that, as yoga has some negative connotations to some people. Most people can manage light stretching, even if they can't do it themselves. I do hope, that if you are in that situation, you have someone who can help you stretch a little.
Also, it would be good, if you could take a walk outside and get some sunlight in the middle of the day. Just take a calm stroll around the quarter or to the mailbox and back home. What you can do.
It is quite possible that 100 meters IS as demanding to you as a marathon is for someone who runs.
Remember to compare only to yourself and remember to be kind to yourself.

3. Be happy

Do every day something that makes you happy.

Start reducing your property. It's easier to keep your home tidy and comfortable when you have less to clean. The cleaner your home is, the easier it is to live in it.
You should really consider the 100 items challenge.
There are several suggestions to a capsule wardrobe that will take you through the year and keep you well dressed for any occasion.
Put the books you have to circulation and let others have as much joy of them as you did.
Reduce your things, decorations etc.
Keep only a mantelpiece or wall of photos of people who are important and dear to you.
Have one or two collections on show, if you like collections.
Other than that... the less you have, the more time you have to do things you enjoy doing.

Now, of course, if you find solace and comfort from things, you should keep things. I myself am in love with my library and I'm proud of it. I know nothing better than to cuddle in a comfy seat with a soft blankie, big cup of hot tea, a good book and a purring cat.
If you are that kind of a person, you should do more of that, and invest in "to read" bucket lists.
Perhaps "to write", as well.
People have written books slowly, just a couple of words at a time. Most people can do it.

Learn to know yourself if you don't know if you would feel better with less or in a burrow of your "things". (No, I'm not talking about hoarding. Hoarding is collecting things without even knowing what you have. Burrowing with "things" means you know exactly what you have, why and where, and are able to find any item at any moment, every thing has its place and every thing is in its place. Your "things" are not just any junk, they are important and meaningful frame to you and your life.)
Be satisfied with who you are. Love yourself. Be comfortable by yourself.

Drop all the "lose weight" "eat healthy" and "have a bikini body" from your list. Focus on joy and pleasure, and being satisfied with what you have.
Get a big mirror and sit in front of it and look at yourself. Really LOOK and SEE yourself. Go through your body and tell yourself what you would WANT to hear. Thank your body for having worked so hard to support you through all these years. Thank your skin for being there. Know that your skin is your body's biggest organ and it's working hard.
All the ideas of that you "should look" this or that to be good enough are pure bull. Every human being is different. Not even models and USonian actresses are alike. You are in perfect shape to be you. If you do what you love doings, live your life as YOU think it should be lived, enjoy life and all its treasures as you please, your body will be a perfect fit for such a life.

All people don't like exercise. Some people do. Why should every body look as if the person inside loved exercise?
Some people love to cook. Some people love to cook and eat and bake and feed others, and I think they should look like they love food, too. "Never trust a skinny cook" someone said.
Some people love to read and watch movies and stay inside 24/7. Why should they look like they love exercise?
And looking "healthy"? Why should I look healthy when I'm not? And whose idea of "healthy" is it? All the people in the world look different. Why is one look "better" and more desirable than another? I can understand that people look at looks when it comes to choosing a spouse. Most people choose a person who looks like their mother or father or a person who had that role in their lives. The beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. And it's not even very important. Choosing a spouse, things like preferences, opinions, values and attitudes mean so much more than looks. I would much rather have a kind husband who loves me, than a handsome husband who loves only himself. An ugly and loyal husband rather than a beautiful cheat. Besides, I'm not such a beauty myself... I would feel even uglier by a handsome man. Most people look plain.
So - forget the beauty ideals and numbers on scales, and focus on things that mean something.

In a dating book from 80s, the author gives some good advice.

1) People are what they see
- focus on the beautiful, the good, the valuable and the nice. How you see the world reflects from you. Happy people are prettier than angry people. People are nicer to smiling people who think nice things. That's why everyone loves lovers.

2) People are what they hear
- Only listen to nice things, praise, kind words, positive remarks, stories of joy and beauty. Listen to hopeful stories, stories that move you, stories that make you smile and laugh. Listen to truth and lovely dreams. Listen to encouragement, support, comfort and enthusiasm.

3) People are what they speak
Try not to add more ugliness and misery to the world. Let your every word be kind and positive.
Talk kindly to yourself and of yourself, too. There are no angels of modesty and hubris who will strike you down if you say "I'm feeling fine, thank you!""I'm doing fine!" "I'm happy!" "I love..."
"I want" in stead of "I would like", "I will" in stead of "I wish". "I'd love to!" in stead of "I have to", "I do" in stead of "I'll try..." "That sounds so interesting, exciting, lovely, wonderful!" "Perfect!"
Say "The food was delicious, the show was wonderful, I had such a lovely time!" Don't try to diminish the value of your pleasure by using words like "terribly" or "unbelievable".
Laugh as much as you can. Read funny books, watch funny movies, read jokes and cartoons, tell funny stories... learn to tell jokes well and practice often. Try to make someone else laugh every day, as well as yourself.

4) People are what they think
The kinder you think about people around you, the kinder you appear to be. Be kind, compassionate, loving and caring, and you attract kind, compassionate, loving and caring people around you, and you inspire the kindness, compassion, love and care of everyone you meet..

Surround yourself with all the beauty, goodness, loveliness and wonderfulness you only can must. Always choose pleasure.

Eat dessert if you like dessert. Eat food that is beautiful, smells delicious, tastes good and make you feel good. Eat as much as feels pleasurable. A lot of times we eat too much because we have decided to eat a lot, or "taste everything", or because we eat of habit. We eat candy and snacks as much as there is, because it's a habit to bring the tasty bit in your mouth and eat it. You could really have everything you want if you stopped when you are satisfied in stead of trying to "finish" or "empty your plate". I truly believe that if we eat what we want to eat, as much as we want to, when we want to, and stopped eating, in the middle of a spoonful or chew, when we don't really feel like eating anymore, we would feel a lot better.

Dress in clothes that are comfortable and pleasurable to wear. Don't give a damn about "rules"; how a person having your body type or build or size should be dressed and how to enhance your "good sides". The whole of you is good. You look exactly as you should.

Use the colors you love, don't bother finding out which colors "suit" you. Surround yourself with colors you love.

All the items in your home should be as beautiful and pleasing all senses as possible. Find the softest, smoothest sheets in colors you love and use linen scent that makes you smile when you put your head on the pillow. Choose a pillow that is perfect. Choose the softest, warmest duvets if that is what you like, or the heaviest cotton quilts. Have all the interior design elements of the most pleasing colors, shapes, sizes and materials you can find. Only have things you consider being beautiful AND useful in your home. Remember, soul food is also a use... :-)

Have pictures on your walls. Reproductions of your favorite paintings, or some new finds from some internet self promotion site, like Deviant Art or Etsy. Or learn to take photos and have them on your walls. Surround yourself with beauty. Especially places where you spend most of the time, like kitchen/dining space, bedroom and bathroom/toilet. Those places should be as perfect as you can create.

Remember to please all your senses. Make certain of that you will see something pleasurable, smell something pleasurable, taste something pleasurable, hear something pleasurable and feel something pleasurable. Especially people who can't move much need to create a haven and paradise on earth of their home or room in which they are confided.

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