The True Sea

Slow Living, Inner Peace and Self Love

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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?


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 | 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.


7 things I’ve learnt this year so far

7 Things I've Learnt This Year So Far | Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.comI need to allow things to be good.
I’m so used to struggling just to keep my head above water that I don’t know what to do with myself when life is good. As human beings we get used to things being a certain way, and we tend to want it that way because it feels familiar and safe, even when it’s unhealthy for us. Some days, I feel terribly frustrated and crave a challenge because that’s what I’m used to, but I’m learning that it’s okay to be bored. (Thank you, Geenie.) Things being good is a good thing. It just happens to be something that I’m not fully used to yet.

Deep, unconditional love is the most important thing in life.
Distance is irrelevant and the commitment is real. As much as I enjoy my own company, I need those super connections too. They’re vital for my well-being. I’m focused on nurturing my close relationships, and I thrive on the deep love I have in my life. I feel so blessed to have people who I can trust and who love me unconditionally.

Consuming refined sugar makes me feel like I’m suffering from exhaustion.
Throughout January, I felt exhausted. I slept a lot more than usual but I still woke up tired. At work I was half asleep. It got so bad that I started worrying that I was getting seriously ill. Then it dawned on me that I was eating sugar almost every day. Let me explain. I don’t experience a sugar high; I head straight for a sugar crash. It’s like I’ve taken sleeping pills. It’s bizarre. If I can’t sleep, I just have a biscuit and go right to sleep. Completely cutting refined sugar out of one’s diet is hard, so I’m happy to have managed to drastically limit my intake of the white poison.

I can survive in a world without Bowie in it.
Losing Bowie was a tough blow. He was a father figure to me and his guidance has always been there. I felt so broken and lost, like I had lost myself. I still cry, but I know that I can and will go on. Somehow, in the collective conciousness we all seem to have thought that he was immortal. His legacy didn’t die with him though and after all, he was only visiting. He truly is one of the most wonderful men and talented artists to ever have walked our planet.

Dedicating one day a week to self care elevates my well-being tremendously.
After a long work week full of social interaction, I need a day of being with myself and doing lots of nice things for myself. Some of my favourite things to do are: taking long essential oil baths by candlelight while listening to true crime podcasts, treating myself to some new lingerie or beauty products, writing or reading in bed while drinking cherry blossom Sencha or Gyokuro, writing in my self empowerment notebook and watching comedy or horror films in bed.

Writing needs to actively be made a priority.
Having a full time job makes it hard to find enough time to focus on my raison d’être. A change of scenery is a good idea so I’m contemplating places I could go to get some peace and quiet. I want to make more time for writing personal essays and articles. Reliving my troubled past is tougher than I thought it would be, so I’m letting my autofiction book take its time and come out organically. It’s something that needs to be written.

I’m fully capable of breaking unhealthy behavioural patterns.
My past behaviour doesn’t define me. Just because I used to behave a certain way, doesn’t mean that I have to keep it up. This ties in with the first thing on this list. Just because I used to accept, and even create, chaos in my life because chaos feels familiar, doesn’t mean that I have to keep on doing it. Every now and then, I have a dream in which I mess everything up and I wake up feeling awful and guilty. These nightmares are reinforcing my determination not to do it.

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


Taking stock

Taking Stock | Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.comEnjoying: being alive.
Listening: to Nine Inch Nails.
Wearing: my lucky elephant necklace every day.
Making: more time for reading.
Cooking: white miso ramen.
Drinking: orange and lotus flower green tea.
Feeling: hopeful.
Reading: Evil and the Mask by Fuminori Nakamura.
Looking: forward to the days I’m taking off work to write.
Liking: that the cat next-door at work comes over for cuddles almost every day.
Waiting: for slightly warmer weather.
Snacking: on Cocoa Brazil nuts in raw chocolate.
Coveting: Gyokuro from Whittard of Chelsea.
Hearing: lots of episodes of Those Conspiracy Guys.
Learning: things about myself.
Loving: my new Japanese cherry blossom perfume.
Watching: season 3 of Bates Motel.
Wondering: if it really is supposed to be like this.
Noticing: how important it is to always have things to look forward to.
Giggling: at Comedy Bang! Bang!.
Bookmarking: anything about Chip-chan.
Deciding: to start getting up earlier to get more alone-time before work.
Hoping: to visit my dear Geenie very soon.
Contemplating: when to visit my friends and family in Sweden.
Wanting: to go and stay in a hotel because I love hotels.
Thinking: about forgiveness and letting go.
Knowing: that all my dreams will be fulfilled eventually.

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

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Delightful little things

Delightful Little Things | Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.comA list to celebrate the delightful little things in my life.

○ Treating myself to a bunch of Body Shop products.

○ Adding more David Bowie picture discs to my small record collection.

○ Falling asleep to true crime podcasts.

○ A colleague surprise lending me her copy of Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood.

○ Watching horror films to unwind after work.

○ Getting to know our fabulous new manager over tea and waffles at a Nordic café.

○ Taking long essential oil baths by candlelight.

○ Having friends over for tacos and tiramisu.

○ Waking up earlier to hear my favourite podcast before work.

○ Finding an organic flapjack bar made with agave nectar instead of sugar.

○ Making banana blueberry raspberry coconut smoothies.

○ Adding a couple of my favourite books to my book collection.

○ Meeting up with a friend for vegetarian lunch buffet and cheesecake.

What delightful little things have happened in your life lately?

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10 ways to relieve stubborn frustration

10 Ways To Relieve Stubborn Frustration | Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.comI’ve harboured frustration my whole life. I grew up bitterly asking “When is it my turn?” over and over and over in my head. By the time I got to my mid twenties, my frustration and anger with the universe had grown so large that I felt like I was going to break. Holding on to all those negative emotions was exhausting. I couldn’t go on living like that.

For one year straight, I did intensive self work: learning how to control my emotions and how to change my perception of the world. I was lucky enough to have not one, but two life coaches on hand to help me realise my goal of moving to the UK. It worked in the end, but even with all the self care I practise and self work I do, that awful impatient feeling occasionally comes back to haunt me. The difference nowadays, is that I don’t let it own me.

You know what kind of frustration I’m talking about. The kind that doesn’t seem to dissipate no matter how much deep breathing you do or how many walks you take. It requires more than just applying a constructive coping technique. It requires an emotional release. Here are ten things that work for me, and that I hope will help you too.

Listen to music that makes you cry your eyes out
Let it all out for as long as you need to. A good crying session will leave you feeling light and refreshed. Nick Drake and Elliott Smith do it for me.

Write it out
Putting your feelings and thoughts into words on paper will allow you to pinpoint exactly where your frustration is coming from. Don’t think about the actual act of writing and don’t censor yourself. Stream of consciousness journalling every day is the best way to figure out what your true desires are.

Go deep into the woods and primal scream
If you don’t live near woods, scream into a pillow. It feels so ridiculous that it will make you laugh.

Pour your heart out to someone who loves you and who you know won’t judge
Even better if it’s someone who’s brutally honest with you. It’s so important not to hold feelings back. Venting as a means of figuring out a solution is a good thing. This works just as well over the phone or social media as it does in person.

Consume true crime documentaries, podcasts or in written form
It will put your life into perspective. It sounds awful but I promise you that it will.

Watch a horror film or a really disturbing film
This is another thing that will put your life into perspective, and the adrenaline will distract you from your thought process. Horror films rarely frighten me (I find them comforting) but it’s such a treat when they do.

Listen to your “You can’t tell me what to do” music loud
What I mean by this is the musicians whose work makes you feel motivated and determined. Music that makes you feel like you can do anything, survive anything. For me, it’s Nine Inch Nails.

Immerse yourself in a good novel or lose an hour in a bookshop
Distract yourself by absorbing yourself in someone else’s world or by looking for your next adventure. Books are full of inspiration. You might even find the solution to your problem in there.

Write a plan for the future
First, write down what you want your life to be like, then work backwards writing actionable steps of how to get there. Include yearly, monthly, weekly and daily steps. If there’s something that you can do today, do it.

Have a nap
Give your mind and body a break. Sometimes a nap is the only thing that will work.

How about you? How do you relieve stubborn frustration and what’s your experience with it?