Thanksgiving and such

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This is my last post from America this year.  This afternoon I take the Greyhound from Austin to Dallas, then I fly to Costa Rica (Got a nifty blog post about how that came up) at 5am. I’ve spent most of this month sleeping on a dog bed, although Bentley the St. Bernard didn’t always want to snuggle.

That dog bed is so comfortable. I started sleeping on it as a joke, because I was protesting the amount of time it took to inflate and deflate Craig’s air mattress, then I realized it’s really comfy, there’s nothing to set up or clean up, and Bentley makes a great pillow anyways.

I’m writing my “Thanksgiving and stuff” blog a few days after Thanksgiving, because I am grateful every day.  I’ve got a great family (regardless of how much we annoy each other after a few days.  You know what they say “Family and garbage.. they both start to stink after a few days.” :)  ), I’m traveling, I’ve met the most amazing people, I work on projects that engage me intellectually, I eat well, I’ve been gifted so much knowledge by interaction and portable courses (audio books and such), I live in amazing times…. I can make a blog post that goes on for days about the things I’m grateful for…. and I don’t need a special holiday to be thankful.  I do it daily.

A small secret, and I want you to consider it seriously, because it’s one that I’ve discovered and learned to be true…. despite that it sounds new-age-woowoo.  If you spend time every day thinking (even better if you write it) about what you’re grateful for, your life will be amazing!  This is not me being a pompous asshole and bragging about how great my life is…. this is me telling you one of the things that was hard for me to do at first, but that I now do automatically and it’s a life-changer!

I remember in 2006 (I had been listening to audio books for about a year at the time), after my CouchSurfingOri Launch Party, I had dinner with my parents.  Mom and Dad were blown away by what I had put together.  16 lingerie models, great music, free Vodka and Rum drinks for everyone, some giveaways, a Samba Dancer, I featured some artists, and it was all at Pearl’s — the VIP at Nikki Beach Club in South Beach.  My parents had never been to a club so posh in their life. So, were at dinner, and talking, and I said “I think I’ll start my journey, and go around to different cities, like New York, LA, etc, couchsurf, and throw massive parties like that!”

Dad said “Well, I don’t know, New York has some real clubs, and they have so many parties already.”  So, I sat there and recounted that the club they were just at is internationally renowned, that South Beach is quite well known for its parties, and I pulled the party off there.  I mentioned other things, and kept going on and on about why I am qualified for this, until Dad finally ran out of arguments.  Mom looked at me and said “Wow, when did you become such an optimist?”

I guess there are numerous lessons in that story.  One hard one is that you have to follow your own dreams.  Other people often will not understand yours, and will try to protect you from yourself.  Well meaning friends and family are the number one killer of dreams.  People, despite wanting the best for you, often do not want you to succeed at your crazy dream, because then they may have to up their own game, or they may lose you.  It’s a primitive motivator, based on survival and the “Lizard brain”.

On New Year’s, I will have been couchsurfing for a full four years, and will be entering my 5th.  After my 1st year ended, my parents and I had some words.  They thought this was another phase, and that after a year I will have gotten it out of my system.  The exact opposite happened.  The more I couchsurf, the more I love it, and now I finally get to couchsurf outside of the USA, making my dream of being a world-wide adventurer come true… but it wouldn’t couldn’t have happened without me learning to focus on the positive.

I can’t find the quote (just Googled) – but it’s something about “You have to want what you have before you can have what you want.”  Basically, that is happiness.  Thinking that you are great, and the people and things you have are great, and you take personal responsibility for things.  So, don’t go thinking that your life is worthless just because you don’t have the latest iphone 4.  Watching television is a great way to see all sorts of crap you don’t have, and probably don’t need.  Those marketers know more about you than you do.  They use some serious psychotactics to get you to crave their wares.  Again, that’s the beauty of taking those few minutes a day to be grateful for what you have.

Not making excuses is also important in happiness. Make the assumption that everything is your fault.  While this thought may fluster you, hear me out!  This gives you control over your life.  If you’re waiting for so-and-so to finish their piece of the project before you can do you thing, you are giving them control over your life. I’ve had websites that I’ve outsourced, and the contractor, despite me having paid them, did not do a good enough job…. I knew my clients would be pissed off, so… I skipped sleeping for a few days, and did the project myself. End result, happy client, and grumpy Ori (I get grumpy after not sleeping for 2 days).  The point?  People don’t care what happened.  They’ll take your excuses, but if they count on you, they expect the results.  That’s why we love people that overcome difficulties, because they’re not using them as excuses!  Like this guy:

He has no arms, and he still plays the piano better than most people I know!  I guarantee you he didn’t make excuses, like “Awww man, I wanted to play piano, but I have no hands.  *sigh* Guess I won’t ever play!” He found his dream, and stayed with it. Seeing this gives us hope… because if he can learn an instrument so well without hands, then we should be able to do well if we just apply ourselves.  Just remember, every overnight success is 10 years in the making.  “Dream” can be interchanged with goal/business/plan.

Most of the reasons why we can’t do something are in our heads.  I actually wrote some stuff about that in the report I’m giving away on this project I’m doing in Austin right now.

I’ve been in Austin, and focused.  I teamed up with two of my couches to start a more political blog than this one.  It’s more about your rights being taken away, the coming crash of the US economy, things you can do to grow and protect your wealth, etc…  That blog is – there’s even a great report to show you why we believe those things.  I designed our Facebook Page (You guessed it!, which required a little bit of learning (See what happens when you hit the Like Button).

It’s the most focused I’ve been in a while.  We had deadlines set because I am leaving to Costa Rica, Rob swung by and hung out with us in Austin – but only for a limited time – and Craig is taking off the day after I am, to go to Arizona and Thailand.

I really enjoyed working with a team.  It’s been a real learning experience, and I’m thankful for that too.

Oh yeah, thankful… thanksgiving, that’s what I titled this post.

Craig and I spent the holiday at our friend Rick’s place.  We worked, we showed up there with some healthy deserts (Chia Pudding), and we gorged ourselves.  I passed out immediately.  A bit of conversation, great food, great friends… that’s what holidays are about… but why do you need a holiday to do enjoy your life with great friends?  Try calling someone to wish them a Happy Monday, and send them a picture of you in front of a fire hydrant (since Pines have taken Christmas).  Have a feast and invite some friends (My brother and his friends call it dinner parties).

I was doing some Costa Rica shopping, when I was given yet another reason to be thankful.  Yes, I am thankful that I am out of the country during this part of the year… because I dislike having to hear Christmas Music everywhere when I’m out in public, on every tv commercial that makes me want to buy more gadgets to improve my self worth and feelings of acceptance, when I drive and listen to the radio…. I think it stems from having come from Israel… as a Kid there wasn’t much Hooplah about Hannukah — no Hannukah music playing at the mall.

Adam Sandler is a friggin hero, because finally after all these years there was at least a song you’d hear on the radio about Hannukah!  Anyways– you have have your Christmas music, your Holiday parking fiascos, and your giant feast.  I will be learning to surf, writing my book, and celebrating having my phone off for a month (though I’m sure I’ll skype-call people).

Just in case we don’t talk until I get back (though I doubt I could stay quiet that long!  Recently Brandie challenged me to see if I could “not use sarcasm” for 20 minutes.  I made it 14, then Johnny Diggz joined us, and I couldn’t help myself!), have a happy holiday season.  Treat every day like a holiday, be grateful for what you have, check out my new blog, think of what your dreams are, and ignore it when that little voice (your “reptile brain”) and well meaning friends and family try to protect you.  Keep your eye on the prize. Take time to relax.  Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff :)


p.s. hopefully by 2011 I’ll be a wave surfer not just a couch surfer.  Should have a lot of updates about my book :)

2 Responses to “Thanksgiving and such”
  1. Tweets that mention Thanksgiving and such | Couch Surfing Ori -- Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by CouchSurfingOri, Brandie McCallum. Brandie McCallum said: RT @CouchSurfingOri: Hey, I'm leaving for Costa Rica, so I wrote a going away blog post- – my views on Gratitude & … […]

  2. Brendan Wenzel Says:

    i promise you'll be a wave surfer before you leave this country!

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