Poem: A Parent’s Love

Writing
A Parent’s Love
Embers of amor engulf us as you touch my face once more.
Held in your arms as closely as the day on which I was born.
You have loved me from the moment my heart began beating.
A childhood spent with you,
If only time could be repeated.
Although I will grow up,
I will always be your child.
A bond that’s shared – so strong,
A love so unconditional – it’s blind.
**Picture taken by me at Woburn Safari Park in Summer 2019.

ASMR – The Weird Addiction

Writing

ASMR – ‘Autonomous sensory meridian response’

Or In other words:

The triggering of a tingling-like sensation spreading from the scalp down the spine as a result of visual or auditory stimuli.

Or in other words:

A brain gasm!

Over the passed couple of weeks I find myself watching and listening to more and more asmr videos. Either I’m somehow subconsciously super stressed or else I need to find a boyfriend. I don’t know, there’s just something so addictive about them! Who doesn’t want to be entranced into a semi-sedated state by the breathy vocals of ‘gentle whispering ASMR’ or ‘ASMR Ting Ting’?

But, to be honest, maybe I shouldn’t be so honest! Much to my own dismay I’ve even started listening to it at work! Dozing off instead of doing my spreadsheets is guaranteed to get me fired, I’ve no doubt! What should I do? Why do I enjoy it so much? Why do we all enjoy it so much? Or are you one of these people who doesn’t react to the asmr triggers, like one of those people who gets poked in the eye yet still stares straight ahead, or the type that doesn’t reciprocate a yawn. If this is you, you may also be a psychopath. Don’t believe me? Then read this.

Anyway enough about your psychopathic tendencies and back to my quarter-life crisis – how the f*ck do I lessen the amount of time I’m devoting to YouTube videos of people chewing squishy foods, tapping their fingernails and whispering softly?(Basically all of the steps I attempt in my endeavours to pull a hot guy at the bar.)

You may be thinking to yourself, where’s the harm? There’s worse things I could be doing, like racing baby snails against their will or forcing myself to run 10km on the gym’s treadmill. I wish I could agree with you, but there is indeed harm being caused by this pleasurable pastime (this sounds gross). I shouldn’t be yearning for spine tingles at 12.30pm on a Wednesday afternoon while making a pie chart and eating slightly salted walnuts. Maybe at midnight when I’m trying to drift off but not midday, surely?!

Addiction is a terrible thing, I need to think of ways to get out of this rabbit hole. Maybe I’ll start watching videos of how to stop watching asmr, only to find myself becoming addicted to them.

Pray for me!

Quantity Over Quality

Writing

I wouldn’t blame you for thinking I’d somehow dropped off the face of the Earth in the last month or so. Eating copious amounts of junk food while watching documentaries on how paintbrushes and heavy-duty bin bags are made has that effect on you. You just drift away from life’s priorities like a plank of wood cast out to sea.

 

Oddly enough, I admittedly don’t know why I paused momentarily with the blog. It’s not like I  fell out of love with writing but moreso perhaps I fell out of love with the way I was writing.  

 

Quality took second place to quantity, I didn’t write what I wanted to write, yet more of what I thought you wanted to see. Which in the end wasn’t as fulfilling as I had intended it to be.Surely every blogger/writer/content creator goes through a stage like this, no?

 

Anyway, with my sanity returning slowly but surely, I endeavour to get back on track. Writing content for you to enjoy and for me to cringe at later in time (like this post)!

Happy reading!

Book Review - Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Book Review – Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Writing

Book Review – Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Having read this book, I now understand why it has sold over 9 million copies. This tribute to hope against adversity should be testament to the human mind’s astonishing capabilities.

Unlike alot of wishy washy self-help books, Frankl’s psychological account provides reason in the most brutal and honest of ways. Re-telling his own harrowing experiences of live as a concentration camp prisoner, and the mechanisms he personally put into practice with his mind which ultimately spared him his mental freedom.

This book has left me stunned and in a state of reflection. If Frankl could remain hopeful in such dire circumstances then really what circumstances can any of us say we can’t survive through?

A truly exceptional read.

A selection of some of the most powerful quotes from the book:

pg 74 – “Is that theory true which would have us believe that man is no more than a product of many conditional and environmental factors – be they of a biological, psychological or sociological nature?”

“…..that man cannot escape the influences of his surroundings?”

“Does man have no choice of action in the face of such circumstances?”

In this section, Frankl questions whether man has a choice of action in any given situation. With specific reference to other prisoners, he questions whether man is, put simply,  a product of his own environment or if he can rise above the situation his environment has put him in – the concentration camp. With uncertainty over his freedom,  over his life, will the prisoner give in and ultimately give up? Or will he mentally make the choice of seeing the positive on even the bleakest of days. Will he use past memories and future hopes to will away his temptation to fade into a type non-existence in an attempt to escape the torturous reality of camp life?

Frankl answers his own question with the eloquent statement below:

Pg 75 – “And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.”

 Pg 84 – “Nietzche’s words “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.”.”

Pg 51 – “Standing outside we saw sinister clouds glowing in the west and the whole sky alive with clouds of ever-changing shapes and colors, from steel blue to blood red. The desolate grey mud huts provided a sharp contrast, while the puddles on the muddy ground reflected the glowing sky. Then, after minutes of moving silence, one prisoner said to another, “How beautiful the world could be!”.”

When your environment comes to be what is only contained within the four fences of a concentration camp, positivity must be sought after in the most simplest of forms. Frankl remarks on how a newfound appreciation for nature would act as a crutch to the dying man. How the beauty of the sunrise and sunset would offer a temporary moment of escape to the prisoners of war.

Pg 85 – “We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.”

Viktor Frankl discusses openly of the frequent suicide attempts by fellow prisoners, he exclaims how camp rules made it strictly forbidden to help save a man attempting to end his own life, you could not for example cut him down. He states how those men who felt suicidal felt like they had nothing more to expect from life. Frankl’s response is that life is still expecting something from them. Perhaps not today but someday in future. Perhaps they will be a father or a husband. A future child or wife will need them.

 

Man’s search for meaning is by no means an easy read, as much as it made me think about methodologies and attitudes, it made me honestly feel deeply emotional at points, as I was so immersed in the experiences Frankl unfolded. Lessons learned from his work can be taken into many areas of our lives, this book, although focusing on the most brutal and evil parts of human history has managed in the process to give liberation to both Frankl and the reader. We have been given a chance to learn from Frankl’s horrific experiences, and so the question is, as one of the book’s main highlights – will we make that choice?

The Bookworm In All Of Us

Writing

7 top books to unleash your creative potential

For alot of the time, being creative means being resilient. Baring your soul to the world can lead to many highs and lows. For this reason I have a few books up my sleeve which may help see you through any situation. In addition to some lighter reading ofcourse!

 

  1. The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck

As heart-warming as the title sounds, this book really does make you think about your priorities! We get wrapped up, worrying about the smallest things, this book helps you see what really matters i.e. the meaning behind your lyrics coming across rather than aiming for the perfect recording quality or getting your art to exhibition not worrying about how many people turn up to see it. Summary: Spend less time worrying about how others will perceive you and just release your creativity already!

  1. Steal Like An Artist

Dabbling around the idea of ‘originality’, that nothing is ever truly original. Yet the author Austin Kleon gets this message cross in such a friendly manner that you accept this without (much of) a fight! The point in case is that it’s not about creating the most unique art, yet instead, being as true to yourself as you can be. Summary: highlighting the necessity of being the individual when it comes to creativity through ten top tips definitely worth sticking on the fridge door..

  1. Creative Confidence

Flipping the idea of what a ‘creative person’ looks like on its head, this thought-provoking book, eloquently acknowledges that each one of us is infact creative. Some struggle to tap into their creativity but this by no means does not mean that they don’t have the ability to be creative. The authors  Tom Kelley and David Kelley act as the saving grace to anyone who is struggling to unleash their creative potential by sharing with us the principles and strategies which they hold dear. Summary: Lawyer, Painter, Accountant or Writer – we all have creativity, yet we all don’t know how to release this, well perhaps now you do.

  1. Bird By Bird

As offbeat as the title, the author Anne Lamott certainly likes to dance to the beat of her own drum in this go – to guide combining writing wisdom with self-help scenarios. I don’t know what’s more engaging, her writing style or what she’s actually writing about! Using her own words as a summary: “Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. ………. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again.”

  1. The Tenacity Of The Cockroach

Perhaps the best way to be creative is learn from the best. Stephen Thompson emphasises just that in his interviews with the likes of Gene Simmons and ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic. By reading this you will gain an insight into how some of the most creative minds think and how they built their careers in the creative world, so hopefully you can take inspiration from them and build yours too. Summary: biographical but not in the boring way!

  1. The Accidental Creative

Todd Henry provides both a witty and informative short novel ‘how to be brilliant at a moments notice’. We all take mental blocks and have days when we don’t perform at our best, so how can we put our creativity to use in the blink of an eye? Well, perhaps Henry will have the answers? Summary: Engaging food for thought.

  1. The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do

Maybe you are at a stage where you know you want to follow a creative career, but aren’t exactly sure what in? Jeff Goins’ insightful read directs us down a path of self-discovery. He emphasises how bravery is essential in finding the creative career you are truly meant to follow. Summary: An eye-opening and inspirational read.

I hope these books don’t collect dust on your mantelpiece and atleast one of them brings some solace to your life. If not, keep searching for a book that does. Once you read that sentence which gives you that ‘aha’ moment, then you’re on the right track to releasing your true creative ability. You can do it!

**Please note this article is intended solely for ERIC Mag, and I will link to the article on their site if/when it becomes live.