The True Sea

Slow Living, Inner Peace and Self Love


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Lately: Literature Edition

Lately: Literature Edition | Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.comI’ve been getting back into reading lately and it’s awesome. It’s the only thing capable of completely quieting my mind and taking me out of my head. Fiction works particularly well, but I have to admit that I’m very difficult to please. Here are the fiction books that I’ve enjoyed lately.

A Pleasure and a Calling by Phil Hogan
Mr Heming is a respected estate agent who has made a copy of the key to every house he has ever sold. He’s a voyeurist (he calls himself an observer) and he has the creepy habit of cataloguing the contents of the houses when the owners are out. This is his story. I wanted more suspense and I was disappointed that Mr Heming was sloppy and unsympathetic for all the wrong reasons. There was also a character who I wanted to get to know better. Despite this, it was an enjoyable read.

Shadow Family by Miyuki Miyabe
The body of a middle-aged office worker is found on a construction site. A murder investigation ensues and it’s quickly discovered that, unbeknownst to his family, he had a shadow family online – a pretend family created in chat rooms. The man’s real life teenage daughter tells the police that she’s being stalked. Most of the plot takes place in a police interrogation room and the dialogue is superb. Things get stranger and stranger in this clever, quick read full of pleasing twists.

She Who Was No More by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac
Travelling salesman Ferdinand Ravinel and his lover plot to murder his wife. They carry out their plans and all seems to go perfectly until the body disappears before it’s discovered. Very strange things start happening. Is Ferdinand losing his grip on reality? The French psychological thriller Les Diaboliques (1955) is based on this book. The original story is significantly different from the film but I highly recommend both. This is French Noir at its best.

The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima
A group of nihilistic thirteen-year-old boys secretly reject the adult world and spend their time talking about how they are superior to adults on various, stupid grounds. (I hate them for reasons that become obvious when you read the book.) The mother of one of the boys meets a sailor and they fall madly in love. At first, the boys idealise the sailor but they soon decide that he’s soft, and therefore deserves to be punished. A beautifully written, vicious tale about loss, grief and finding your place in the world. I picked this little book up because it was one of David Bowie’s favourites and I don’t regret it for a second. It stays with you long after you finish it.

Confessions by Kanae Minato
Yuko’s four-year-old daughter was murdered by two of her students, although officially, it was labelled an accident. Consumed with grief, she has decided to resign but before she leaves, she has one final lesson to teach her pupils. A gripping novel about the dark corners of the mind, vengeance and the struggle of coming of age. I loved the alternate narration and all the brilliant twists. The film from 2010 is great too.

Now what about you? What have you been reading lately?


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How To Reach Fulfilment

How To Reach Fulfilment | Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.comWhen I was younger, I believed that there was this one thing out there that would magically make me feel fulfilled. If only I could find that thing, life would become permanently amazing. I’ve spent most of my life moving on to the next thing in the belief that the next thing could be that thing. Truth is, it doesn’t exist. Fulfilment doesn’t come until we choose wholeness over happiness. Life is the good bits and the struggles. Both are equally vital parts of the story. Fulfilment comes when we use our skills and strengths to their fullest in all areas of our lives.

But unfortunately it’s not that easy. It takes constant work and it requires fitting a lot of satisfaction pieces into one big satisfaction puzzle. It’s a very personal thing and you need to actively make time for what’s important to you. The good news is that you are fully capable of writing your own story. Go out there and create the life that you want to live rather than letting life happen to you. Choose to fill it with things that make you happy every day. Here are ten things that will help you reach fulfilment.

Follow your passion
I cannot stress this enough. If we don’t do what we feel that we’ve been put on this earth to do, we become stagnant and miserable. Find a way to do what you deep down want to do with your life. There is always a way. Don’t let fear stop you from chasing your dreams. Chasing them is not going to feel worse than not chasing them.

Be intentional and put your heart into it
Do all things with purpose and love. Be present in everything you do by taking responsibility for your emotional, mental and physical well-being. Be honest with yourself and others, and be clear on what you want. Choose to positively impact every experience.

Regularly make time for your hobbies
Doing things for fun is therapeutic. It helps you unwind and calm your mind. Hobbies are not the same as passion. They’re the things that make you relax and connect with yourself. Make sure you spend your free time doing what you love. We all have to work, but the time you spend not working is yours to do what you want with. Choose wisely and plan your time carefully.

Spend time with and on the people who love you unconditionally
Nurture your important relationships. Creating a bond with people who understand us and love all of us, flaws included, is a rare thing and it deserves to be treasured. Give them lots of love and support. Distance is irrelevant when you have a strong bond with someone. Talk to and message them often, and send them things every now and then to remind them that you’re thinking of them.

Take time off work regularly
We need frequent breaks to relax and recharge. If you’re lucky enough to have a job that you love, that’s great! Still, if you don’t take breaks, your love for that job will diminish. Spread your holiday out throughout the year. Go somewhere you’re never been before or visit friends and family.

Trust and let people in
This comes easier for some people, but it is a skill that you can learn. Even if you’ve been hurt over and over in your life, you have to believe that there are people out there who won’t purposefully hurt you. Be open and authentic, and you will attract like-minded people into your life. Show people that they can trust you.

Know that you are significant
You’re making a difference in the world and in people’s lives. You are important and unique. People need you and care about you deeply. Everyone feels lonely and insignificant from time to time, but you are never as alone as you think.

Take time away from daily life to reflect and check in with yourself
Sit with yourself every day. Meditate if that’s your cup of tea or simply allow yourself to just be. Above all, be honest with yourself. Listen to your body, heart and soul. Do what you need to do for yourself because you are the most important person in your life.

Push past your fears
Taking risks helps us grow as human beings. It builds our self-esteem and widens our world. Try new things and push yourself out of your comfort zone as often as possible. Habitually doing new things and putting yourself in new situations are the only things that make you more intelligent. Yes, really.

Always address your needs and listen to your intuition
What you want and what you need is rarely the same thing. Make a habit of asking yourself if you have everything you need. Learn to differentiate between wants and needs. If something makes you feel anxious or sick to your stomach, it could be a sign that you shouldn’t be doing that thing – not to be confused with simply being nervous. If it doesn’t feel right, it means that it isn’t. Or in the words of my dad,”If it doesn’t make you happy, then don’t do it.”.


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Lately

Lately | Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.com1. I read The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada in just a few days and I was absolutely blown away by how clever the plot was. The other night, I started Coin Locker Babies by Ryū Murakami. His books always leave me feeling satisfied. When I went to Northern Ireland a couple of weeks ago, I started the crime novel All She Was Worth by Miyuki Miyabe. It was a very enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to reading more of her books.

2. I listened to the audiobooks The Dark Tourist: Sightseeing in the World’s Most Unlikely Destinations by Dom Joly and Going to Sea in a Sieve: The Autobiography by Danny Baker. Both were very entertaining and had me in tears laughing. I’ve also been listening to loads of true crime podcasts.

3. I’ve been thinking a lot about the people who I have that special bond with – the bond that can never be broken. I consciously choose to spend a lot of my time alone because I see no point in wasting time on people who I don’t feel a strong connection with. That kind of socialising exhausts me. On the same theme, I’ve been thinking about the concept of family. Not only defined by blood or legal bond, but also by emotional connection. I come from a very small family who practise sporadic contact and I’ve always wanted to be part of a big family who celebrate together. One day.

4. I’ve also been thinking a lot about the future and what fulfilment really is. There is no one thing that can magically make us feel fulfilled. It’s all about adding small pieces to a big puzzle. It can be achieved through following your passion, being intentional, trusting, addressing your needs, taking time off, reflecting, pushing past your fears and so on. I’m choosing to pursue fulfilment.

5. I watched season 2 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The first few episodes are slow but it picks up. I find it really inspiring and Tina Fey’s character is hilarious. I watched season 2 of Better Call Saul and the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler comedy Sisters. I also watched the dark comedy series Flowers and I highly recommend it.

6. I’ve been buying things that make me smile: a writing desk, Japanese crockery, books, David Bowie picture discs, a mosaic tea light holder, two beautiful acacia wooden trays and green tea with mango.

7. I’ve decided to let things take their time. I refuse to let impatience diminish the joy of the present moment. My focus is on improving what’s within my control. The rest will come when it’s supposed to come. In the meantime, I’ll be working hard for the good stuff.


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Conquering My Trust and Commitment Issues

Conquering My Trust and Commitment Issues | Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.comSimply put, trust issues represent a deep rooted fear of getting hurt. They can stem from childhood trauma or abuse, complicated family dynamics, abusive relationships, being abandoned or betrayed by those close to us, unmet childhood needs, and resulting attachment issues.

I’ve had trust and commitment issues for as long as I can remember. All but one of the above causes apply to me. In 2014, I spoke about it in this post after realising just how severe my issues really were. The awareness shocked me into action. I don’t want to live an uncommitted life without trust. Being distrustful attracts the wrong things into your life. Since then, I’ve made huge progress.

In the past, my trust issues manifested as cheating, and I had an awful habit of cutting people out my life. I had a desperate need to create chaos and chaos I created, wherever I went. I was never loyal because I didn’t think that anyone could be loyal to me, which of course meant that people couldn’t trust me. How ironic. I didn’t think that anyone would want to stay with me once they got to know me, and I didn’t think that I deserved to feel safe and to be loved. Now I know that that’s not true at all.

It still takes time and persistence for me to really let someone in. Trust doesn’t come easy for me, but every day I’m actively choosing to trust and commit to the people I love. I nurture my important relationships and focus on being devoted, affectionate and supportive. Deep, unconditional love is the most beautiful thing in the world. To trust is to be open to the risk of getting hurt, but it also means that you’re trusting people not to hurt you. I’m still learning to be completely okay with that.

Understanding the underlying motivations for my behaviour helped me tremendously. I noticed that I feel afraid in situations where I deep down want to trust and commit to something or someone specific. I’ve learnt to face my fear and push through it. I’m letting people trust me.

Last summer, I decided to properly commit to myself and my well-being, and it has completely transformed my life. I created a morning routine, I’m putting money away every month for the future and I’m doing things that make me happy on a daily basis. Without my self care rituals, nothing else in my life works. I listen to what my body, mind, heart and spirit need rather than what I think they need.

In October last year, I signed my first ever contract for a permanent job. A job that is the only job that I’ve ever loved, yet I agonised over it for days and days before I could bring myself to sign. It may sound silly to someone who has no experience with commitment issues but for me it was a huge thing. Continuing in the same spirit, I signed a tenancy agreement the following month.

My thoughts still spiral out of control occasionally, but it’s getting less and less frequent. I’m lucky enough to have wonderful people in my life who know how to talk sense into me. Trusting and committing is something that I will need to actively work on probably for the rest of my life. I choose to trust my journey. I believe what happens in my life, especially the struggles, are meant to teach me something, to allow me to grow as a human being.

Now what about you? Have you experienced trust and commitment issues before? Did you recognise them at the time? How did you work through it? I’d love to hear about your experiences.


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April Goals

April Goals | Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.com○ Make more time for reading.

○ Enjoy every second of my holiday visiting Geenie in Northern Ireland.

○ Go for more walks along the seafront.

○ Sell or donate all the clothes I never wear.

○ Allow myself time to sit silently with my thoughts every day.

○ Rest better and listen to what my body needs.

○ Actively make writing a priority.

○ Practise acceptance of what I cannot control.

○ Develop a new skincare routine and stick to it.

○ Make sure that I have something to look forward to every day.


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5 Spine-Tingling Contemporary Films

5 Spine-Tingling Contemporary Films | Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.comMusarañas (Shrew’s Nest)
Spanish horror thriller (2014)

Montse is a religious seamstress who suffers from severe agoraphobia. She lives with her younger sister who she spent her youth raising. One day, a neighbour falls downs the stairs and drags himself to their door. Someone has entered the shrew’s nest and he may never leave. Macarena Gómez is perfectly cast as Montse in this perverse, claustrophobic shocker set in the 50s.5 Spine-Tingling Contemporary Films | Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.comCoherence
American science fiction thriller (2013)

A group of friends gather for a dinner party on an evening when a comet happens to be passing overhead. They begin the evening by talking about how the comet might cause technology to malfunction. Soon, very strange things begin to happen. Coherence undoubtedly has its flaws but if left over-analysed, it’s an enjoyable mind-bending ride. Films featuring quantum physics, parallel universes and alternate realities tend to be interesting.5 Spine-Tingling Contemporary Films | Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.comCreep
American independent found footage horror (2014)

A videographer replies to a Craigslist ad for a one day job with the promise of being paid $1,000. He drives to a remote mountain town where he meets Josef, who placed the ad. His request is simple. He’s terminally ill and he wants to make a film for his unborn son to remember him by. It soon becomes apparent that he isn’t who he says he is. Mark Duplass (of The League) is terrifying as Josef.5 Spine-Tingling Contemporary Films | Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.comTime Lapse
American independent science fiction thriller (2014)

After their neighbour goes missing, three housemates stumble upon a huge camera that takes photos 24 hours into the future in his house. They decide to use it for personal gain which, of course, is a really bad idea. The camera is interesting, but the main plot is about human relationships and the lengths we’re willing to go to in order to protect them. Another mind-bending flick with lots of flaws, but it’s entertaining to marvel at the incredibly stupid decisions the characters make.5 Spine-Tingling Contemporary Films | Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.comHangman
British thriller (2015)

When a family returns home after a holiday, they find that their house has been burgled. Nothing really seems to be missing but things don’t seem quite right. Could someone be inside their home still? We follow the family through the eyes of the intruder using a hand-held camera and surveillance cameras that he has installed throughout the house. The man with the voice, Jeremy Sisto (of Six Feet Under) co-produced and stars in this refreshing take on found footage horror.

How about you? Have you watched any spine-tingling contemporary films lately?


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Self Care Exercise: Being Thankful For The Everyday Things

Self Care Exercise: Being Thankful For The Everyday Things | Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.comOur brains have an inbuilt negative bias due to our ancestors’ primary need for survival. We have more neurons dedicated to responding to negative stimuli than we do to positive stimuli. This is why it’s so easy to forget to appreciate the good things in life, and why it’s so hard to get out of a downward spiral. Happiness takes practise and determination.

We tend to get stuck obsessing over what we don’t have rather than appreciating what we already have. It requires patience but we can train our brains to focus on the positive things, and by expressing gratitude for them, we can significantly increase our well-being.

When a tough situation improves, we quickly forget to value that things have become better. Our minds get used to situations, good and bad, and we risk falling into a routine. Let’s banish those mind poisons with this simple self care exercise.

Grab a pen and write a list of the positive things in your life, and read it every day to remind yourself of how blessed you are. Actively cherish the everyday things, especially the ones that you didn’t always have. Never take anything in your life for granted.

Below are the things in my life that I will never take for granted.

I’m thankful for having no unwanted commitments or drama in my life. I’m thankful for having friends who make me laugh and feel loved, and best friends who never judge and are always brutally honest with me.

I’m thankful for the men in my life, who keep me grounded and who always tell me to do what makes me happy. I’m thankful for their encouragement, support and never-ending belief in my abilities to do anything that I want to do.

I’m thankful for feeling safe, relaxed and comfortable in the house I live in. I’m thankful for living by the seafront with an intelligent, mentally sound woman who I really enjoy hanging out with, but who also respects my need for alone time.

I’m thankful for working at an amazing organic essential oil company which provides products that contribute to people’s well-being. I’m thankful for my fabulous colleagues who I can’t wait to see every day. I’m thankful for feeling appreciated and valued at work, and for not having to worry about money.

How about you? What are you thankful for?