illustrated moment

making sense with words and pictures


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A sweet reunion!

immmmm

My beautiful people! Can you believe it has already been an entire week since I have posted? Me, neither!

Well, I have been very busy getting excited about illustrated moment and illustrated health (the family just keeps growing) – I have been working on new videos, new posts, and a new header image for this blog. You see, I design my own and usually I have my dorky illustrations but one day I got lazy and decided colourful circles would be enough – now I am embarrassed and ready to remove the shame!

The new video has just been uploaded to the YouTube channel and I have also placed it at the bottom of this post for your entertainment! I would really, really, really appreciate it if you check it out – this is a project I’ve been working on for a while and rolling it out finally is making me a little nervous. Thank you so much in advance!

Oh, I want to warn you all about something – if you have clicked the follow button or subscribed with your email address to this little blog of mine, I will be getting in touch with you shortly – I know that sounds really creepy (accept my apologies), but I have previously written about my desire to reach out to you because I draw so much encouragement from all of your comments and so much inspiration from your great blogs, and I think it’s time to say a proper hello! If you haven’t yet subscribed to illustrated moment but you want to get in on the action and be a part of the virtual group hug, which is about to happen (I sound crazy) – then fret not my friend! Just click the follow button at the top-right of this page!

Here’s the new video – I hope you have a wonderful day!

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Change your perspective with a big smile!

im happy world

Others will tell you – most annoyingly, when you feel miserable and wretched, and you just want to hold onto those horrid emotions for five minutes – they will pick that specific time to coerce you into turning that frown upside down.

Stupid people.

Yet here I am, about to be one of those stupid people. I’m here to tell you to cheer up!

If you are already of the cheery disposition, away with you, I bid you a good day sir!

However, if today is a day when you feel a bit melancholic, a little weak, a bit broken, I’m here to annoy you into happiness!

It really is all about perspective.

Whatever you have going on today, just take 60 seconds to be still. Try not to give into the thoughts sprinting round and round in your head, and just let your body sink into a peaceful void – free from deadlines, free from stress, free from your own criticism. It’s only 60 seconds, trust me, the rushing world won’t notice, but you will feel lighter for it.

Once you have emptied your busy mind it’s time to smile! I’ve found that if you start smiling – a big, cheesy grin upon your lovely face – it is closely followed by an awkward laugh, mainly at yourself and how silly you must look. But you can’t deny such scientific proof – it doesn’t matter how you got there, but you are now happier than you were one and a half minutes ago.

I hope you continue to have an amazing day!


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A one-sided conversation with a busy person

im busy

You don’t have time – I know. Life is busy happening and won’t wait around for you, so you must keep up to its pace, or else you will be left behind – trust me, I get it.

When was the last time you did something at your own pace? Was there ever a time?

Possibly, when you were a baby. You cried out when you wanted something – often food. You enjoyed sleeping, giggling and making a mess just for the sake of it.

Before you knew it, school started. Suddenly, you had to be up by a certain time in the morning, fall asleep by a certain time in the night – and even food was rolled out on a set schedule. Sure you spent your early years as a student of play, but soon the colourful toys were replaced by standardised tests to standardise you. You didn’t catch on immediately but you were being funnelled into a life defined by deadlines and performance.

And now you’re here, reading this. You don’t really have time for it – I’m still aware of that fact. But you’ve decided to stop by today, so here’s a hello to you!

Today is made up of 24 hours. You’ve made time for sleeping and dreaming. You know you will always make time for eating. But the rest of the hours that are left for you to play around with are often filled up by you thinking about what you need to get done – not necessarily doing it all, but definitely making a huge list of it all. The reality is on a day-to-day basis, you are unlikely to use every single hour working away to shrink your professional looking to-do list. Yes, yes, you are very busy and there’s just so much to do – but the thing is, there will always be so much to do which will inevitably keep you busy. I hope you don’t think that life is defined by a tick-sheet and deadlines, because there is more to you, but you won’t be able to see it if you aren’t looking for it.

Do you remember the last time someone you cared about asked you to join them for a day out? An entire day doing nothing! No, no, no that won’t do, you can’t afford to waste time like that – so you told yourself. Then you turned to that loved one and politely rejected their offer, you promised to reschedule and you explained that you hate being so busy all the time.

What you didn’t realise in that self-centred moment was the hand that this other human being was holding out to you. They wanted to spend an entire day with you – talking, laughing, enjoying and exploring – but what you saw was a waste of time.

You see, when you create an infinitely long to-do list, whether it’s in your mind or on paper, you peek into the possible future and then do some mental arithmetic. Dividing up the vaguely calculated time you have until your wishy-washy deadlines by the number of tasks you must accomplish, you begin to sense that your time is incredibly precious – and people will have to wait.

I’m going to burst your bubble. You are being lazy. How can something be more valuable than someone? Of course you have to work hard, make money, pass exams and run tedious errands – so does 8 billion other people. You let your unrealistic list of tasks build up in your mind and exhaust you from the inside out. When you do get an hour to yourself, you feel too tired to bring someone else into your picture – keep going like this and it will be a lonely portrait. It’s time to change. Value life above menial tasks.

Make a date with your best friend – time spent together is an investment for the future of your dreams. Spend time with your family – hear what they have to say and be interested in what they have been doing. Put in the effort for your loved ones – if they can’t come to you, then it’s time you go to them. Treat your loved ones with the respect, support and crazy charm that only you can dish out.

Building relationships is the true hard work of this world. Now go out there and reciprocate the love that you have been shown!


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Human sacrifice

Long-dead ancient civilisations used blood sacrifice to appease their gods. Communities would gather round and celebrate the death of another human being – and afterwards they would rejoice and party the night away.

Gruesome, right? *shudder*

Human sacrifice was seen as a way of ensuring the victory of a battle, a good harvest, a change in the weather and other nonsense. You may think that such silliness is long behind us, but human sacrifice is still in existence – it’s just that the method has become less gory.

If you have ever stuck through a job which you loathed with every single atom of your existence, but you did it because you wanted the money to pay bills and survive, then you sacrificed yourself. If you have ever been in a relationship where the other person has made you feel uncomfortable, upset or disrespected, but you fought through your tears, then you sacrificed yourself. If you have ever been in a situation where you were in pain and agony, but you still smiled to keep up appearances, then you sacrificed yourself.

My question for you is: is it all bad?

In order to be successful and achieve your ambitions there is no doubt that some sacrifice of time and energy will be involved. But what if you were sacrificing a lot more?

What if you were staying in a workplace which didn’t value you enough? You may feel depreciated, saddened or even angry, but you had a family to support or some other goal you were saving up to reach – so you continue to do your best and show up everyday, because you are aware that your sacrifice is greater than yourself.

What if you continued to stand by someone who failed to hear what you had to say and make you feel cherished every second of every day? You may feel disappointed, betrayed or even infuriated, but you saw through their external walls and witnessed the internal conflict they are struggling through – so you continue to keep your promise and stand by them through the storms, because you are aware that your sacrifice is greater than yourself.

What if you were stranded in a painful social or physical interaction which pulled up the vicious insecurities from the depths of your mind and soul? You may feel vulnerable, uneasy or even lost, but you appreciate that fighting through the pain and discomfort is your only chance of beating your demons and rising out of this abyss – so you do your best to smile and stand your ground as firmly as your body will allow you, because you are aware that your sacrifice is greater than yourself.

When you get passed that negative moment in your life, and you are standing taller and stronger than ever before, you will realise how it was your sacrifice which got you there. When you can think beyond yourself you will see that your actions today equate to greater, more beneficial things tomorrow – and it won’t only be you who gets to reap the rewards. Your sacrifice will have given your loved ones and some others you haven’t even met yet, the chance for a brighter future. People may not always be good at appreciating your efforts out loud, but I just want to tell you that your sacrifice means the world to someone else, and because of your selfless act you have become greater than yourself.


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The seeds of Spring

NB: This post is going to get really excited about the momentary Sun the Northern Hemisphere has seen recently. The imminent arrival of Spring is a joyous occasion that will release us Northerners from the chains of a miserable Winter. If you happen to live in the Southern Hemisphere and seeing your Summer time disappear rapidly before your eyes, please try not to hate us too much. After all, you are just now leaving an amazingly warm season behind, which you partied through while we shivered under our blankets.

It’s mid-March. The Sun is attempting to re-enter our lives and it’s bringing warm joy with it!

This Winter definitely felt longer than the year before. It was cold, damp and just miserable, but now that London has seen a few moments of sunshine, hope has filled our hearts.

Oh London, the land of unpredictable, yet often rainy weather. You scare us into carrying our umbrellas wherever we go. However, a single minute’s worth of Sun last week was enough to cause the daffodils to bloom, and the people to strip down into some nifty shorts. How exciting is this? Soon we will be in the summer months, eating ice cream and laying comatose in the patches of green dotted around the city.

I greeted the warm weather by sowing the seeds of the plants I hope to grow this year. As an amateur vegetable gardener, I have eagerly planted some tomatoes, aubergines, peas and lots of chillies. The one downside of living in London? Space – well, the lack of it really. Unless you’re rich (and own an actual garden) or lucky (to own an allotment garden) the chances are that you do you’re ‘farming’ on a truly miniature scale – probably on a window sill. Thou shalt not fret! After all, people pay good money to purchase greenhouses, and here I am, living inside one. My window sills have produced lots of lovely vegetables in the past, so here’s hoping that this year we will see lots and lots of Sun to nurture those tiny seeds of Spring.


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The philosophy of the hard boiled egg

Welcome to the world of super-intellectual philosophical research department at the University of Magical South Pole Elves. Our department has a piece of news to share, and please don’t be offended – keep an open mind!

We are all hard boiled eggs. With the shell still left on.

Take a look at the picture above – take it all in.

A hard boiled egg may not be the compliment you were looking for, but I mean it with the best of intentions.

Your outer shell is fragile and thin. It is the layer of relationships with friends and the part of you which is exposed to the external world. It’s superficial, but it’s based on hedonistic values. It’s the part of you which chooses the enjoyable experiences of life. You tend to spend time doing what you like, you talk to people you get on with and avoid everything that doesn’t bring a smile to your face.

Take away the shell and you get to your egg white! This layer is thicker and deeper. Everything in this part of your life is close to your core self. Your close friends, your dear family members, your sentiments and memories belong to this part of your being. You have the strength to endure through tough times for this portion of life. You can make sacrifices for your closest relationships and really important possessions because you highly value their existence. Everything that you hold dear in the egg white affects your values, opinions and ultimately the actions you take.

Beneath the egg white is the yummy yolk. This is your core. No-one but yourself can access the things that go on in this yellow centre. If you have ever booked a one-way ticket to experience life in a temple somewhere exotic, in the hopes of finding yourself – it’s this bit you are looking for. Enlightenment stems from turning into yourself, your high-calorie yolky core. Ultimately, your level of contentment and the feeling of bliss is determined from this central part of yourself which is hidden from all the worlds you choose to inhabit. Your core essence can be neglected if you constantly focus your attention and energy on the egg white and egg shell, and you can help nurture this crucial area of your being by periodically taking the time out to quietly reflect on your self.

Yes, the moral of the story is that you have to allow some room in your busy schedule to be a bit selfish. Wind down without the constant barrage of information attacking you for once, switch off from the worlds you inhabit for only a moment. Look inside yourself, figure out why you are happy or unhappy, discover where your passions lie, wonder about which part of the future you would like to explore – have a moment to yourself so you can take a deep breath, and a few more.

Your real goal in life, just like everyone else’s, is to be at peace. We can all list a million and one things we would like to achieve, accomplish, attain but at the core of everything we want to be happy about the lives we have led. You may find it a morbid topic – but let’s not deny that we are mortal beings, and often is it not until we find ourselves in the dying process that we begin to work through our internal chores in an effort to depart peacefully. As the external egg shell and all the pleasure-giving superficial attachments in our life begin to disintegrate. As we say our goodbyes to dearly loved ones and possessions to ready ourselves for the severance of the egg white. Only our yellow egg yolk centre is left, and it represents our true self, free from all emotional and physical attachment. It is the part of you that is content with having lived, it wanted nothing more, and nothing less.


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Are you having a dumpling day?

There are days when nothing feels right.

You woke up groggy, got dressed grudgingly and didn’t really feel like having breakfast. Your journey to work or school sucked, everyone is lame and you just want the day to be over. You’re miserable and you don’t know why. You’re melancholic and feel great annoyance towards chirpy people – what’s there to be chirpy about, huh?

If you’re slowly nodding to yourself in agreement when reading this, I’m here to tell you that you are having a dumpling day. You may be feeling miserable or less caring than usual, and you may not know why you are feel down in the dumps but you really can’t say you’re happy at the moment. Just like a Chinese dumpling, you feel confined in a steamy prison, squashed in with other irritating dumplings when all you crave is some serious personal space and fresh air. You may be contemplating that you need a change of pace, a new hobby or that the only solution is to run away and live on the streets of a foreign city. I’m here to tell you that it will be just fine. You will wake up and be yourself once again. The joy of Life will run through your veins and dreams will fill your head, just like before.

We all suffer from transient episodes of dumpling syndrome, and then we just snap out of it. However, if you’re finding that your dumpling day is turning into dumpling weeks or months, you should ask for some advice from your doctor who could give you a hand on the journey back to your fabulous-rainbow-unicorn self.

You’re not alone. We are 7.138 billion strong on this wonderful planet.

Even if you’re having a crappy day, I’m here to tell you that you are lovely parcel of potential!