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?


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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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?


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?

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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?


Let’s talk about the ugly stuff

Let's Talk About The Ugly Stuff | Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.comI no longer have any patience for superficial things. Small talk, shallow relationships and anything that only goes skin-deep add nothing to life. It’s not real and it feels like a waste of time because it provides no emotional fulfilment.

This frustration has worsened over time. I need those deep, meaningful conversations and interactions because they make me feel alive. Offline and online. My attention has gradually shifted completely onto the people who I have that super connection with. For the first time ever, I have no desire to introduce new characters into my life. I’m content nurturing the relationships that I have.

Life right now is all about giving and receiving love, and working towards feeling entirely fulfilled in all areas of my life. My focus is on the future and on writing. I’m happier and calmer than I’ve been in over 5 years. I’m surrounded by authentic, loving people which makes me crave more of the real stuff in its rawest form. The stuff that truly matters and creates deep connections.

I don’t read blogs the way I used to. I carefully choose what blog posts I read and I’ve unfollowed hundreds of Instagram and Twitter accounts. Online life feels too manicured to me at the moment. Don’t get me wrong. I’m the first one to say that my writing and social media posts are all edited to various degrees. In no way am I judging anyone here. I just want my online presence to reflect all aspects of my life and my personality. I’m on a mission to weave more real and unedited content into my online presence.

I want to write about conquering trust and commitment issues, managing anxiety, healing from abuse, coping with loneliness, banishing stress, facing fears, dealing with frustration, overcoming self-harm, finding purpose, recovering from depression, letting go of jealousy, cultivating forgiveness and everything else that we need to talk about.

Suffering is universal. Sharing our pain gives us power and brings us together. Let’s talk about the ugly stuff and our dark experiences. Let’s talk about our troubling thoughts, afflictions and disturbing emotions. Show me your scars and open wounds.

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Intentions for 2016

Intentions For 2016 | Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.comFor me 2015 was a year of creating the life that I want to live and learning how to make myself happy. For years it seemed like no matter what I did, things just wouldn’t fall into place. In August, something happened inside of me. I decided to start forcing my life to happen the way I wanted it to. From that point on, I refused to take ‘no’ for an answer.

It was a year of letting go of everything that wasn’t right for me anymore. I stepped away from crafting and designing to focus on writing. In June, I left London behind and moved to Brighton. I quit the magazine and a job that wasn’t for me at all. I ended unhealthy friendships and limited the time I spend online.

It was a year of doing what I needed to do for myself. I found an amazing job and fabulous colleagues at an organic essential oil company. I went to Sweden for a month to be with my friends and family. I found the perfect flatmate and moved into her beautiful flat by Brighton Pier. I strengthened my bond with the people I love and I reconnected with myself.

This year I choose to focus on continuing to create the life that I want to live.

I will invest in myself.

I will set healthy boundaries.

I will work towards my life goals.

I will do only things that I genuinely want to do.

I will trust my journey.

This year I choose to make my future a priority. This year I will keep making things happen.

Happy New Year, my lovelies! May 2016 bring us clarity, fulfilment and serenity!