A Lavender Soul

She loved the smell of lavender
floating through the breeze,
so she planted herself a border
beside the evergreen trees.
She loved her colourful garden
with phlox and anemones,
and the old determined ivy
with its bright and glossy leaves.
She loved the friendly buzzing
of the workaholic bees.
But the thing that she loved most of all
that put her soul at ease,
was the fragrant scent of lavender,
floating through the breeze.

When the Curse of the Eternal Winter is Broken . . .

Tomorrow brings the first day of Spring, so today I bring a short story about the season of new beginnings.

She came from a world victim to an eternal winter. Daytime was twilight and the night was darker than we could fathom. The brightest light came from the dim glow of the miniature moon hanging in the starless sky, its light mirrored from the snow-covered ground.

Navy blues, deep purples, and the dullest greys were the only colours that were able to penetrate the omnipotent darkness. Even the trees resembled the colour of the moody sky, but when the frost clung to its concrete bark, she pretended they were made from the finest silver.

Life struggled to survive in her world and she rarely crossed paths with other humans. She was lucky enough to be gifted life, but she never felt alive. The cold and violent weather meant that the few who inhabited the darkness scarcely left their homes.

In a sad, undiscovered world, the only comfort she found was within her imagination. She tried to picture places where freezing winds didn‘t carry ghosts in their gale, or where the sky wasn’t in a constant state of pure darkness.

Every night she would write of other worlds to lose herself in, “dreamlands”. After each new world that she wrote of, she would fall asleep and visit the place in her dreams. But every morning she would wake up back in her own bed again, in her land that was the colour of bruises.

Until one story changed everything.

A raging storm was consuming the night outside of her lonely cottage. Frozen rocks hammered at the doors and windows, and the wind screamed through the cracks in the walls, tormenting her in an icy isolation.

The storm had approached so quickly that she had no time to replenish her firewood store and the stove was beginning to die down. Every breath became a misty cloud and her fingertips began to sting. She would not allow the storm to engulf her as it did the night.

She marched to her writing desk, pulled out her notebook and began to write, pressing the lead of her pencil into the paper so hard, that it began to carve the wooden desk beneath. Gripping her pencil with all of her might, she held her breath and wrote the words. . . .

“I open my eyes and see tall, green trees reaching towards the brightest sapphire skies. Birds sing a sweet melody as they fly between the clouds and a dragonfly with emerald wings flutters by, landing on a nearby flower. I watch them as they sway in the cool breeze which carries the perfume of the wildflowers surrounding my feet.”

As she always did, she lost herself in her words. However, something was different from the other times.

She could no longer hear the violent roar of the storm from her world and she didn’t feel the cold anymore. She released her suffocating grip from around the pencil and ran her fingers through the pink heather that was brushing at her knees. She was really here.

Standing in a field of wildflowers, surrounded by sweet chestnut and blossom trees, where snow-capped mountains dominated the horizon. The air was clear and liberating.

She began to run through the field. She ran and she ran. Feeling alive for the first time in her life.

The clouds gathered together and light rain began to fall from the sky above. Each droplet was cool and crystal clear. Closing her eyes, she danced in the rain and in this moment, everything that she had ever worried about began to wash away.

The rain slowly came to an end and as she opened her eyes again. She looked up to where the clouds were moments ago and in its place was an archway glowing with more colours than she had ever seen. She never knew that a world could be so beautiful and she never wanted to leave.

After a few months had passed and the days began to get longer, the birds sang louder, the flowers bloomed brighter and the sun got warmer. And when the sun finally decided to sink beneath the horizon, the sky became a canopy of twinkling stars. The world that she had found has so much to show us.

Gradually, the pearlescent peach and pink sunsets were shown earlier and the green leaves turned hues of orange as they cascaded to the ground. During this time, she believed the world was made from solid gold.

Occasionally she would think about the place she came from and only every once in a while did she miss the sparkle of the snow. Then came her first winter in this world. The warm oranges slowly turned to blues and greys. The bark would glisten in the moonlight like fine silver, and she would feel like she was back home again.

Just for a little while, before winter gave way to spring again.

She spent the rest of her life in this ever-changing world and she explored each of its magical lands. Some lands had metallic cities full of people with hopes and dreams; others had magnificent forests filled with creatures which sang, chirped, roared, and hissed. But every single Spring, she would return to the field of wildflowers where it all began. Where she discovered this paradise, Earth, and where her life truly started.

Hello Monday…

Monday has good intent, but zero motivation,

Tuesday is always anxious with disappointment and frustration,

Wednesday “the hump day”, just isn’t as fun as it sounds,

Thursday is just waiting for Friday to come around,

Friday comes and brings the beers, it’s going to be a good night.

Until Saturday knocks with a pounding head and a complexion an unhealthy white.

Then Sunday smiles and beams, telling everyone it’s not so bleak,

Monday will be back again soon so we can fuck up another week!

Perseids

I went to the valley where the sky is darkest,

Briefly escaping the manmade miracle and the burdens it carries in its hands,

To lie in the grass surrounded by black,

To stare into the unknown and wait for natures fireworks to begin,

To feel a purpose with every flash of light that shoots across the sky.

I let the vastness swallow me whole until I feel the true, beautiful insignificance of my significant existence.

The Wake Up Call

I was talking to a friend tonight who told me he was struggling to find the motivation to do anything good for himself. I tried to offer some advice until I realised I had also fallen into the same habitual state of working and then wasting away in front of Netflix my entire time off. It isn’t a productive or healthy way to spend our time. I remembered that a while ago, on a different blog, I had written a post entirely about motivation and self-improvement. I went back to it this evening and was so surprised at how inspired it made me feel afterwards, so, I thought I would share it again and see if it gives anyone else a little boost . . . maybe?

“The Wake Up Call”

I have never been satisfied with my life. That is a very depressing statement to make, but I feel that it is one which many people can resonate with. I am the master of starting things and never finishing them. There are many reasons why a lot of us do this. I think my reason comes down to a reliance on instant gratification. I enjoy reading, listening to other peoples ideas and more than anything, I love to sit and think. My blog title, The Diary of a Self Proclaimed Mastermind, came from the Myers Briggs test. I by no means believe that this is an accurate description of my personality and have, at different times fluctuated between Logician, Architect, and Mastermind. I do, however, believe that these tests can provide a poetic foundation to further develop yourself and sometimes offer some kind of affirmation that you are capable of much more.

So, why does what I have to say matter? It doesn’t. I am the ultimate Millennial cliche – a twenty-five-year-old barmaid, living with parents and wondering where the hell do I go from here. I did terribly in my GCSE’s. I didn’t go to 6th form, I instead went to college where I later dropped out before receiving a grade. I didn’t attend university. The only qualifications I have are a few GCSE’s and a level 2 beauty therapy qualification. So whether you read on from here or not is up to you (and your prejudices).

I believe that the lack of “educational” experience I have in comparison to my friends and acquaintances can occasionally be made up for in my “life experience”. I have by no means had a difficult life, but I have had a life so far that I have found difficult. My love for sitting and analysing and my general dissatisfaction with my life were bound to cross paths at some point and have done several times. I have read books and poetry, watched videos, listened to debates on the subjects of philosophy, physics, religion and tried to keep an entirely open mind about the ideas of others (something that is certainly easier said than done with me).

Sometimes we get stuck in routines that don’t work for us. Despite being fully aware that we need to change the routine, we continue to allow ourselves to be unhappy. I was and to an extent, very much still am, in a routine that isn’t working for me. Through learning new ideas and philosophies, I came across a group of ideas, lessons, and quotes from different intellectuals that totally resonated with me. Together they hold some of the most important lessons, especially when you are looking to improve your life…

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”

-Jim Rhon

Discipline

Discipline is eating healthily, exercising, not buying that coat you don’t need even though it’s “fully my colour”, meditating, developing routine and structure in your life… all things that improve mental and physical health and overall life quality. Not having the discipline to do those fundamental things results in suffering in some shape or form. So we have to choose wisely, whether we would prefer to suffer from the discipline to become a better healthier more fulfilled person, or would we prefer to suffer the regret of having never tried. I severely lack discipline. It is obvious with every day I sleep in, every time I have a joint before the evening, every time I say, “I’ll do it tomorrow”. Discipline rages war on bad habits and instead of giving our troops a helping hand, most of the time we let our bad habits win the war. When I read the quote by Jim Rohn, “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” it made me realise, from a black and white perspective, the grandeur and importance of this choice and I would struggle to see why anyone would choose regret.

The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment

Despite everything, I remain stagnant, idle and “unmotivated”. I began to think about why this was. If I knew that I would be happier if I was more disciplined, why am I not being more disciplined? Then I read about the Standford Marshmallow Experiment. This was an experiment performed in the 1960’s-1970’s by psychologist Walter Mischel, on delayed gratification. Children were offered one marshmallow there and then, or two marshmallows if they waited a longer amount of time. The results from these experiments showed that the children who waited for the two marshmallows tended to have better life outcomes.

I know for a fact that I would have been the child who took the one marshmallow and I believe that this is still my problem. My brain is in the habit of receiving instant gratification and despite knowing that with discipline and time, the rewards will be greater, it is going to be something that my brain finds difficult to do naturally. I need to consciously think about my decisions, even the small things, like washing up. My instant gratification loving brain will tell me, “Chill, I can wash the dishes later.”. This is where I will have to change my thought pattern to, “If I get the dishes done now, they will be out of the way (and less chance of manky, dried on food that you need to get Kim and Agie in to scrub) and you’ll be able to chill out after with a clear head and clear to do list.”. Once you learn how to hone your decision-making skills to benefit your life in the long term, you are actively taking steps towards your goals. Discipline is important in all aspects of our lives, including relationships, hobbies and work. So the next time you look at your to-do list and say, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”, make the decision logically and rationally and discipline yourself. The to-do list will most likely benefit your life in the long term and you will feel a sense of pride and relief once you have completed your goals, which I find much more comforting now than the guilt and disappointment of holding everything off yet another day.

“You’re not going to master the rest of your life in one day. Just relax. Master the day. Then just keep doing that every day.”

Motivation

I learned from the above that I need to be more disciplined and make better decisions that will benefit my life in the long term more often, but I started to tell myself that on some days I just don’t have the motivation. It was so easy to tell myself that I was feeling depressed that day, so what I need is a duvet day. On one of those duvet days, I watched a video where Mel Robbins spoke about her Impact Theory, she says “Motivation is Garbage”. Again, I had found somebody else that I could totally relate to. Back to the washing up again, she says that you are never going to feel motivated to do the dishes. You just have to do them. She tells us that people have this idea that they are going to change at some point and that they just need to feel ready for it. Whether that is stopping smoking, starting exercise, getting a new job… but the truth is that you are never going to feel like washing the dishes and you are never going to feel ready for change. Nike really hit the nail on the head with their logo.

“Motivation is garbage”

-Mel Robbins

So, the bottom line is, I am never going to feel like I am ready to change, change is going to be scary and exciting. If I start to live a more disciplined life now I will be much more likely to live a more fulfilling and healthier life. The best thing is it is all free. Some of you may be embarking on a similar journey of self-improvement and I wish you the best of luck. I think it is always important to remember this quote when we are facing new challenges…

“Next time someone complains that you have made a mistake, tell him that may be a good thing. Because without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.”.

-The Hero

Professor Stephen Hawking