The True Sea

The human mind, old films, literature and podcasts.


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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.


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6 More Things I’ve Learnt This Year

6 More Things I've Learnt This Year | The True Sea thetruesea.comThis has been a bizarre year so far to say the least. Some days, I feel like we’re all in an episode of The Twilight Zone. Though with the latest plot twist (this is likely as political as I will ever be on here), it seems more like an episode of Black Mirror. Yet I’m learning lots about myself and how things are connected. Here are six more things I’ve learnt this year.

Reading gets me out of my head when nothing else works.
Books have always been my escape. Listening to a podcast or watching something can still allow my thoughts to wander or loop when I’m in a stressed or anxious state. But picking up a good book always distracts me from my internal monologue. The instant I become completely engrossed in what I’m reading, my thoughts stop.

It’s okay to not want a busy social life.
I’m not a people person. My favourite person to hang out with is me. I do love spending time with people I like, but truth is I don’t like a lot of people, and it goes both ways. I’m fine with that. There’s a limited amount of time I can deal with social interaction before I need to recharge my batteries alone, and that’s okay too.

I need to do what I love for a living.
Spending only my free time doing what I love isn’t enough to keep me happy. I loop back to this over and over again. A means to an end job just isn’t something I can do long term. I always end up frustrated and questioning my life choices. Frankly, I admire people who don’t lose their minds doing boring work. But I need to accept that I’m never going to be one of those people. I need to do what I love full time. I need to write, and work with books and words.

No one has the right to expect anything from me.
It’s not my job to live up to the expectations of others. If people don’t want to accept me as I am, that’s their problem. I don’t change to fit anyone’s assumptions. The older I get, the lower my nonsense tolerance gets. Healthy relationships and interactions are unconditional. And those are the only kind I want in my life.

Happiness requires constant work.
I know this, yet I still slip up every now and then. If you are, consciously or unconsciously, looking for negative aspects, that’s invariably what you’ll focus your attention on. Life isn’t meant to be good, nor is it meant to be bad. It isn’t meant to be anything. You decide how you interpret the world around you. Your life is only as good as you believe it is.

The best is yet to come.
I never reminisce about days gone by. Things weren’t better back then. They’re better now, and they keep getting better. The present is fine, but the future will be amazing. That’s where the really good stuff is. Every day I’m getting closer to living the life I want to live.

How about you? What things have you learnt this year so far?


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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 outside 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.”.