Sunday, June 19, 2011

Life Around the Globe

Hello everyone, I have now been here a total of 33 days and I must say I feel like I am learning a lot, not only about Thailand and music therapy, but I am also learning and observing Thai lifestyles. I have noticed some great aspects about the life of a Thai, and have tried to incorporate some of those ideals into my life too.
A typical day for most of us readers would most likely consist of a routine schedule focusing on time. Week days may be planned out minute by minute: wake up at a certain time, eat breakfast from 8-9, get ready for class, go to class from 10:00 to 12:00, have lunch for an hour, class from 2:00 to 3:00, break, class again from 4:00 to 5:00, work out from 5:30 to 6:00 , shower, have dinner, and socialize with friends from 6:30 to 8:00 , do homework from 8:00 to 11:00, read a book or meditate for 30 minutes or so, then go to sleep. If one is late to that first scheduled event, they may be thrown off the rest of that day. This may bring one stress, which could affect their school work, bodies, mental health, and even relationships.
Furthermore, there may be a feeling of stress if a schedule changes. For example, a person’s stress level may rise if a schedule has been interrupted and time is now a worry which could ultimately change a person’s energy level. Energy can dissipate through relationships, jobs, stress, lack of sleep, lack of proper physical and mental activity, as well as lack of proper nutrition. I believe people may focus their energy too much on stress through their daily schedules, judgments, as well as worry about their past and future rather than what their body is telling them regarding their personal needs. They must think about the amount of sleep they need in order to expel all this energy, or the amount of food they need to regain themselves. It is almost sad in a way, to think life for an American “has” to be focused around these aspects of time and money, when in reality there is so much more to life.
Here in Thailand, there may also be scheduled classes, jobs, and eating and sleeping schedules; however, from what I have observed, this is not the main interest. For example, today our class time was scheduled at 1 pm. Due to heavy down town traffic, our professor was late. There were no students complaining, or watching their watches; the students patiently talked amongst themselves and waited for the professor to arrive. In my school back at home however, Montana State University, we have a time limit for if the professor does not show up in ten minutes, we are allowed to get up and leave.
Here in the “land of smiles,” I personally believe, people handle their energy and stress levels wisely. From observing some lifestyles, which is very Buddhist influenced, people are very good at noticing things without a label. I have noticed when plans go wrong, if there is a buildup of traffic for example, no one will honk at each other to hurry up. Everyone is patient; I haven’t noticed any road rage, or impoliteness towards others. Why waste energy honking and getting mad at the other drivers if everyone is stuck in traffic together and no one can really go anywhere? I believe this may come from their culture: the Thai’s don’t express much emotion when they are excited or angry. This I believe is a wonderful trait to have when a person is angry, by not becoming more stressed about the situation, just trying to let it go. However, this also to me is somewhat of a bad trait to have in respects to letting out emotions: such as showing a great amount of happiness from winning a competition, for example; I think it is necessary to congratulate yourself when you have accomplished something so special to you
I think we all can take in many lessons from developing Thailand. Even though Thailand may be a developing country, I believe I can take many life lessons from here like living in the moment instead of worrying about time. I am learning how to be more patient, forgiving, and non judgmental. I am trying to live more in the moment, accept everything for what it’s worth, and appreciate what happens even if it is not as planned.
I would like to know how you have grown as a person from being here in Thailand, and what you will take back with you and try to incorporate into your daily lives.

The picture I uploaded is of my roommate Sara and I receiving a blessing from a Monk, experiencing the Thai Buddhist traditions!!


  1. Sarah, wow, lots to think about in your post. Thank you!

  2. Sarah- I am very glad to be in such a mindful and wise culture. In America, I feel stressed out so frequently because of time commitments. Here I don’t worry so much about time and focus on what really matters in my life, like living in the moment, learning from life experiences, and giving back to others. I find that without worrying about time, without even using an alarm clock, I can get up and get to where I need to be in a timely fashion without the stress. I feel productive without the effort. There must be something about being around people who are so unconcerned and mindful, because I feel peaceful being here.

  3. I really relate to this post, Sarah. For my entire time in school, my planner has been my most prized possession. I live life in an organized and measured way - I am rarely spontaneous and everything is according to schedule. Here in Thailand, however, I have been working really hard to adapt to the "mai bpen rai" attitude and to take things in stride and not stress out about what can't be changed. Melissa and I say "mai bpen rai" to each other whenever we have no idea what's going on or something comes out of the blue and I hope that I can take that flexibility back home.