The True Sea

The human mind, old films, literature and podcasts.


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6 Things I Love These Days

6 Things I Love These Days | The True Sea thetruesea.comIntrospectiveness
For a while now, I have sensed something shifting in me and I’m trying to pinpoint what it is. I’m thinking a lot about what it means to carve your own path and live life fully. The drudgery of everyday life is really getting to me and I’m trying to work out what I need to do to not feel trapped. Self-examination can be a very useful tool when you need to move forward, so hopefully something will click very soon.

The Path
A Hulu original drama series about a man (played by Aaron Paul) who’s a member of a mysterious cult called The Meyerist Movement. He suddenly starts doubting his faith and things quickly fall apart. The cult’s lingo is at first confusing, but you soon learn what all their different terms mean. The show goes to all the dark places, and it makes me question how I live my life and what’s important to me. I find it utterly mesmerising and at times, very upsetting. You can watch it on Amazon Prime. Season 3 will be out next year.

Sashiko
I’m finally excited about making things again after taking a very long break from it. Sashiko is something I’ve always enjoyed, but I’ve decided to try to incorporate bead embroidery into my work now. I’ve got a few beautiful Japanese fabrics that I can’t wait to embroider. Starting small is the best way to go though. I’m planning to share my progress on Instagram.

Tabi no Yado onsen bath salts
These mineral-rich bath salts have the medicinal properties of Japan’s hot springs (onsen). They come in a clear or milky version, each making the water a different colour. The scents include cedarwood, moss, field flowers, yuzu and herbs. The sakura is my favourite so far, because it makes the water cherry blossom pink and it smells absolutely divine. I got them on eBay, but I’ve also seen them on Amazon.

Heavy books
I’ve already mentioned that A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara made me cry lots. At certain points in this heartbreaking epic, I wasn’t sure I could continue reading. After that, I read A Cure For Suicide by Jesse Ball and Columbine by Dave Cullen – both thought-provoking. My best friend gifted me Flickan och Skammen (The Girl and The Shame) by Katarina Wennstam. It’s a Swedish journalistic book about slut shaming. I love all her books.

Psychology magazines
There’s something about reading magazines that makes me feel like I’m on holiday. It’s such a treat because I so rarely buy the paper editions. Psychology and true crime are the only kinds I care for really. When I do splurge, I always get a copy of Psychologies as it’s my favourite magazine.

How about you? What things do you love these days?

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Taking Stock

Taking Stock | The True Sea thetruesea.comEnjoying: peace and quiet after noisy workdays.
Listening: to Penntricket, a Swedish feminist podcast.
Wearing: my floral kimono dressing gown around the house.
Making: time for more self care.
Eating: chantarelles, baby kale and Japanese micro herbs.
Drinking: gyokuro and powdered sencha.
Feeling: bored with my current everyday life.
Reading: Columbine by Dave Cullen.
Looking: for a literary day job.
Wishing: I could be a bookseller again, but I can’t afford the pay cut it would entail.
Liking: falling asleep reading.
Waiting: for season 3 of The Path.
Learning: more about cults.
Snacking: on cherries and strawberries.
Loving: the jasmine and sandalwood perfume I made at work.
Watching: Aquarius for the second time.
Getting: better at pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
Noticing: that I’m thinking a lot about Sweden.
Cultivating: inner strength.
Missing: my loves ones.
Bookmarking: articles about gentle living.
Contemplating: giving Shudder a go.
Deciding: to pick up sashiko and crochet again.
Wanting: a house.
Thinking: about A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara still. It made me cry so much.
Knowing: that I need a life change.

Taking Stock is a feature inspired by the lovely Pip of Meet Me At Mike’s.


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A New Chapter: How I Prepare For The New Year

A New Chapter: How I Prepare For the New Year | The True Sea thetruesea.comThe days between Christmas and New Year’s is the time for tying up loose ends, walking away from things that aren’t working and deciding what you want to bring into your life. 2016 was such a tough year for so many of us. Personally, I cannot wait to leave it behind. Let’s make 2017 amazing and make more room for the good stuff. These are the things I do to prepare for the new year.

Buy a beautiful diary and fill it with things I’m looking forward to
In mid-January, I’m off to see my best friend in Sweden for 13 days. The reason I’m going is not exactly a joyous one, but it will be so lovely to see her, my other friends and some family too. The other holiday I have planned is a 10 day trip to Japan with two friends in April. We’re going to my friend’s hometown Kyoto. On the way back, we’re stopping off in Dubai for 3 days. I haven’t even fully processed that I’m going to Japan yet. I also write down important Birthdays and publication/release dates for books, records and films that I’m excited about.

Set my intentions for the new year
Throughout 2016, I couldn’t shake the feeling of being forced to go with the flow which caused a lot of frustration. I want to live an intentional life that I love, and focus on what and who is important to me. Therefore, my mantra for 2017 is ‘Live and love on my own terms’. It’s a bit cheesy perhaps, but I need something that reminds me to live my life my own way and to not put myself in situations where others have power over what happens in my life.

Decide what I need to increase my happiness
As I’ve already mentioned on here, creating a home in my own place, spending more time with the people I love and changing day jobs to do what I’m passionate about are my top priorities for 2017. I’m intending to get rid of everything that has no value to me and keep focusing on taking care of myself better. For a long time now, I’ve been feeling a bit bored but hopefully, getting back into writing regularly and learning new things will cure that.

Unsubcribe, unfollow and uninstall
My dear friend Geenie wrote this wonderful piece on decluttering your digital life. It’s a must-read. Along with unsubscribing, I also unfollow people who I’ve never engaged with on social media, uninstall apps I never use on my laptop, phone and tablet, clean out my email inboxes and remove unused browser bookmarks.

Clean, declutter and organise my belongings
I find doing these things incredibly therapeutic. To me, there’s no other way to start a new chapter than with clean, tidy surroundings so I always do a thorough clear-out at the end of the year. Anything that doesn’t make me feel happy, goes. Marie Kondo, too, believes that we should only keep things that spark joy. And that’s why I picked up her book Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying on my Christmas Eve walk.

How about you? What things do you do to prepare for the new year?


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6 Things I Love These Days

6 Things I Love These Days | The True Sea thetruesea.comSafe bet books
Recently, I got out of the habit of reading every day simply because I didn’t feel excited about the books on my reading pile. So I got a few novels that are safe bets. I really enjoyed Herman Koch’s The Dinner. His new metafictional thriller Dear Mr M sounds like it will tick all my boxes. Japanese crime fiction and horror never let me down, so I also got Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama and Ring by Koji Suzuki which surprisingly, I’ve never read.

Preparing for 2017
I’ve started writing down my goals for next year. Creating a home in my own place, spending more time with the people I love and changing day jobs to do what I’m passionate about are my top priorities. My wellbeing is more important than anything else. I also want to focus on learning new things, relaxing better and establishing more healthy routines.

Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories
A beautiful life drama series based on the manga Shinya Shokudō. A chef referred to as ‘Master’, only opens his little restaurant between midnight and 7am. He has a very small menu, but he will happily cook whatever his customers ask for as long as he has the ingredients for the dish. This is a thought-provoking show about the interactions we have and the relationships we form over meals. You can watch it on Netflix.

Laughing every day
It helps me de-stress and take life less seriously. When I’m not working, I listen to comedy podcasts and watch fun stuff. I’m really enjoying Maron and Brooklyn Nine-Nine at the moment. Mascots is one of the funniest films I’ve seen in a while and I highly recommend it. It’s basically Best in Show, but with mascots instead of dogs.

Ruminations by Conor Oberst
I’ve been listening to Conor’s new album in bed with my eyes closed. Everything he creates evokes such a wide range of feelings and memories. There’s sorrow, nostalgia, happiness, melancholia, hope, comfort, affection, determination, acceptance and love. His music feels like home to me in a way that no physical place ever has. It makes me feel safe.

Making myself feel good
Doing things that I’ve been putting off. Sorting through and organising my belongings. Becoming a Cats Protection sponsor. Donating stuff I don’t use to a Mind charity shop. Selling clothes I never wear. Finally paying off my student loan.

How about you? What things do you love these days?


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6 Things I Love These Days

6 Things I Love These Days | The True Sea thetruesea.comMy mala necklace
Mala necklaces are traditionally used during Japa meditation where a mantra is repeated 108 times – one time for each bead. I couldn’t find quite what I wanted, so I decided to make one myself out of rosewood, turquoise and lapis lazuli beads. I’m so pleased with how it turned out.

Anything that makes me feel cosy and safe
Snuggling up under a throw with a big cup of cherry blossom or mango green tea and a Japanese crime novel in the evenings. Watching an old horror film in bed by candlelight with a box of chocolates. Taking a long Epsom salt bath while burning a rosewood scented candle. Writing my thoughts out while listening to Nine Inch Nails.

Spotless
A CANAL+ Création Originale genre-bending drama series about Jean Bastière, a crime scene cleaner who lives in London with his wife and their two kids. One day, his estranged, wayward brother Martin turns up at their house and asks for a huge favour. Things escalate really quickly from there. It’s dark, gory and satirical – everything I want from a tv show. You can watch it on Netflix.

Being alone with my thoughts
For a while, I haven’t allowed myself to simply sit and think. When I’m stressed out and my thoughts are racing, I use constant distraction as a coping technique to prevent my OCD from triggering thought loops. Even though I’m still under a lot of pressure at work, I’m back to normal now, allowing my thoughts to pass through as they wish, visualising the future and letting myself daydream.

True Crime Japan
A podcast about true crime and mysteries from Japan. To my delight, the hosts cover some cases that haven’t received much attention outside of the Land of the Rising Sun. My favourite episodes so far are The Suicide Website Killer and The Psychic Spot Disappearance (The Spirited Away Hotel). There hasn’t been a new episode in a while, but I hope they’re intending to make more.

Patricia Highsmith books
I can’t believe I haven’t read any of her work until now. So far I’ve read A Suspension of Mercy and This Sweet Sickness. The latter had a big emotional impact on me. Next up is The Cry of the Owl. Patricia’s exceptionally well-written psychological thrillers very much get under your skin and inside your head. Her characters blur the line between imagination and reality in such a fantastic way that even the reader isn’t sure which is which.

How about you? What things do you love these days?


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8 Things You Need To Let Go Of To Be Happy

8 Things You Need To Let Go Of To Be Happy | The True Sea thetruesea.comHappiness is hard work. The brain is wired to to pay more attention to negativity, but thankfully it’s also malleable. It’s fundamentally flexible and it loves structure so much that if it can’t find any it will create it for you. This means that we can change our emotional, behavioural and thinking patterns. Don’t let perception be a passive process. Start by letting go of these things.

The misconception that happiness means that everything is good
Rather than chasing happiness, choose to embrace wholeness. Life is never going to be perfect. Suffering is part of life. Accept the pain as part of your journey, but never let it hold you back. Difficult times can teach us so much about the world and about ourselves, if only we let them.

What other people think and expect of you
Do what you want to do. Be who you want to be. You have to make yourself happy. No one else can make you feel fulfilled, and no one has the right to expect anything from you. It doesn’t matter what other people think you should or shouldn’t do. You are here to live your life.

Your expectations of how you want things and people to be
Be accepting and compassionate with people. They’re (one would hope) doing their best. We can’t control others’ emotions, behaviour and thoughts. Be flexible with how your life unfolds. Things very rarely turn out the way we plan. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a plan though.

Your comfort zone
It feels safe I know, but staying there prevents you from growing as a human being. Do things that scare you on a regular basis. Even if it’s only little things. Challenge and push yourself every day. It will make you feel amazing every time you do something you didn’t think you could do.

Negative patterns
Whether you have a need to blame someone or something, try to control everything, employ negative self-talk or complain a lot about things – stop. By doing these things, you are taking the power to be happy away from yourself.

The past
Work on forgiving others who’ve wronged you, and forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made. Dwelling on the past has no benefits whatsoever. You are here, alive, in this moment. The past is over. It can only affect you as much as you let it. You need to heal yourself and move on for your own sake.

People who have a negative impact on you
If someone doesn’t want the best for you, they have no place in your life. I know I say this a lot but it’s crucial for maintaining your wellbeing. Spend your time and energy on people who support and love you unconditionally. Those are the people who matter. Cutting people out of your life can be very difficult if it’s, let’s say, someone you work with or are related to, but you can at least limit the time you give them.

Excuses
Stop being scared of failure or waiting for your ‘real’ life to begin. This is it. It’s happening right now. There is never going to be a perfect moment to do anything, so start taking steps towards what you want to do with your life today. Write down what you want your life to be like, then go out there and make it happen.


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Taking Stock

Taking Stock | The True Sea thetruesea.comEnjoying: days of alone time.
Listening: to The Unresolved Podcast.
Wearing: my 2nd chakra symbol necklace every day.
Making: peace with my past.
Drinking: Clipper Green Tea with Raspberry and Ginseng.
Feeling: slightly blasé about this year.
Reading: Silence Once Begun by Jesse Ball.
Looking: forward.
Wishing: I had more time to write.
Liking: how visiting Sweden always reassures me that I’m on the right path.
Waiting: for the next season of American Horror Story.
Snacking: on cinnamon almonds.
Learning: to be more patient.
Loving: wandering around a bookshop for an hour.
Watching: Stranger Things and Happy Valley.
Admiring: Rose McGowan. Always.
Getting: lots of blog post ideas.
Noticing: my negative thoughts and redefining them.
Giggling: at BoJack Horseman.
Bookmarking: Creepy Catalog articles.
Deciding: to be kinder to myself.
Wanting: to move into a house.
Thinking: about the connections we choose and the ones we don’t choose.
Knowing: that I’m conquering my commitment issues.

Taking Stock is a feature inspired by the lovely Pip of Meet Me At Mike’s.