Alternative – Reedsy Prompts

A short story from a prompt on Reedsy Prompts, the prompt was:

Write a story about someone who finds a secret passageway in their house.

I am going to include my edits for you – so you can see what I’m up to, replaced words with be crossed through – added words will be underlined. 

Minimal sound could be heard in the vast house, the cat purring from the sunlight sunlit bay window, the seat was originally meant for Lynn but Leroy the cat always got there first and you don’t move a sleeping cat. Out in the kitchen, the boiler kicked in, the woosh of the pilot light and the ticking of the radiators, reminding her that while it might be sunny outside, it was not warm. The chaise that she curled up on creaked slightly as she shifted position, attempting to stop her leg from going numb while it tingled its warnings at her. Lynn had lived in this house for just under a year, not her longest time in one place, but not her shortest by far. Lynn had constant itchy feet, needing to move around, she’d taken a job that she could do remotely and a boss that was understanding of her need to not remain in one place too long. It helped that no matter where she worked, she was good at her job and made him no small amount of money, in return he paid her enough to allow her to move around – a lot. Lynn didn’t think she’d last the whole year in this house, although it had been love at first sight, that had worn off fast and now there just seemed something off with the place. Creaks and clunks beyond what was normal for a property this age, she was sure someone had gotten in at some point as things had started gone going missing, like her mobile phone. Yet there had been no sign of a break-in, her brother Douglas, suggested she’d just lost it, but Lynn was a creature of habit and one thing she didn’t do was lose things. Arrogance was how he described it, arguing that no one could ever avoid losing things all of the time.

“Be realistic Lynn, even you lose things now and then.”

“No, I don’t, because I have a routine, a place for everything. If it’s not in its place then it gets lost, so I always put things back in their place.”

“You sure you’re not OCD?” He’d quipped back, she still remembered the smirk he wore as he’d said this, she could have slapped him right then. Clearly, she didn’t find him nearly as charming as he found himself.

“I’m fastidious, not OCD.” She caught herself muttering out loud, as she recalled the exchange. Her voice sounded off, muted almost. The room she was sat in was the loudest room in the house, with an open plan and with a  high ceiling, no quantity of furniture was enough to stop there being a slight echo. And yet In spite of this, the silence of the house seemed to swallow up her words.

She closed her book in her lap, pulling her legs around in front of her and placing her pop sock adorned feet on the floor, straining to hear noises that just a moment ago were loud to her. She heard nothing, the cat sleeping in the window lifted his head to look at her, his eyes darting around the room and he twitched his ears. At least Lynn wasn’t the only one that thought things sounded odd, Leroy clearly thought something was up. Finally, a sound made it through the fog of silence, a bell. A Or perhaps a chime? Lynn didn’t own any clocks, not noisy ones at least – all of hers were digital because that way they were quiet, the ticking just reminded her of all the things she needed to get done. The noise she heard sounded like the chimes of a grandfather clock though, she had no doubt about that, so where did it come from? She dumped her book unceremoniously on the chaise next to her and stood to up ready to track it down. She didn’t see the book slip onto the floor behind her, nor did she hear it, as it soundlessly bounced onto the floor.

Slowly Cautiously, she tiptoed through the doorway and out into the hallway, with its equally high ceilings but with here the only natural light came through the windows around the door, it felt a lot less open and airy than the lounge. Even now the sun streaming through the windows around the door did not lift the room with light but dramatically increase the weight of the darkness/ The shadows in stark contrast to the beams of sunshine falling across the floor at the foot of the stairs. The sound came again, this time it was clearly coming from the kitchen, the Echo! Her brother had bought her a virtual assistant for Christmas, clearly, he’d added this as some kind of prank, yet again proving he wasn’t as funny as he thought he was.

The kitchen was clean and crisp, a modern white room that didn’t really fit with the rest of the house and it’s overly victorian feel. In every other room, she had attempted to work with the style of the property, but she just hadn’t gotten around to doing the kitchen and so it was still as cold and clinical as it had been when she’d moved in. Time was not an issue, that she could always make for the things she considered important, this room just didn’t inspire her and making time for that was not so easy. She scanned her eyes across the room, lingering on the now silent echo, there wasn’t anything else that could have done it, a sigh escaped her lips, it seemed so silly to get worked up over a small prank, yet the tightness in her chest did not let up. Something just felt wrong, completely and utterly wrong.

The chimes went again, the sound was not coming from the echo but from the pantry cupboard, how on earth was it coming from in there? Lynn headed straight over to the cupboard, Douglas had clearly set up some elaborate prank, there were bound to be cameras too, why else go to all this trouble? The pressure on her chest grew, even as she feigned rage at being pranked she knew that Douglas would never stoop so low as to prank her and film it, whatever or whoever this was, it was not Douglas.

She reached out to grab the pantry door handle, ready to scream and shout or defend herself, not knowing what exactly she was expecting.

Whatever it was, it wasn’t what she was greeted by. In front of her, where the pantry should have been was a hallway, long, dusty and poorly lit – no candles or windows, just small, somewhat grubby fluorescent lights. The tiled floor littered with leaves and dirt, the walls once a pale green, streaked with dirt and handprints. Instinct told her to walk away, shut the door and forget she’d seen anything. It had to be a hallucination so clearly, she was losing the plot and should just go back to bed. She stood for a moment longer, moving briefly as if to walk away and yet still staring down the passage before her. A piece of hair that had fallen from her normally tidy bun flickered against the side of her face as a breeze whispered around behind her. Although not a strong breeze, it pushed her towards the door, just a tiny nudge. She knew none of the windows were open so it had to have come from the passage before her, and even though she knew it wasn’t possible she was sure it was trying to draw her in.

Her left foot lifted off the ground, stepping toward the door as the breeze crept around again, one step towards the doorway, as she moved her right foot it occurred to her that she hadn’t made an active decision to go through the door, so why was she? Her hand slipped from the door handle as she continued to walk tentatively into the hallway before her. Despite her onward progress, her body made down the hallway, fingers sweeping along the filthy walls, collecting dirt as they came, her mind rebelled. She didn’t want to walk down this hallway and she sure as hell didn’t agree to this so why couldn’t she stop herself? What was making her move, because she was more than certain that it wasn’t her.

As she reached the other end of the passage, she approached another door, identical to the one she had just walked through. Gaining enough willpower to at least turn her head, she looked back. The door she’d come through was firmly shut, and now seemed a considerable distance behind her, much further than she thought she’d actually walked.

“What the fuck…?” She whispered, the air here wasn’t the same as her home, the sound of her whisper was not muted as before, but louder and with more echo than the hallway had a right to be. She turned back to face the new door, she was here now and whether she wanted to or not she was going through that door. She knew that much.

The other side of the door held, much to her astonishment, her own house. The layout of the kitchen was the same, the same cupboards, even the plate left by the sink from the morning’s breakfast was where she’d left it. She looked back at the hallway behind her, still there, perhaps she’d somehow just turned herself around? Lynn moved through the kitchen, checking details, looking for something out of place. When she found none, she moved onto the hallway, a large mirror stood against the wall on one side, a mirror she did not own. Dark and gothic in style, with flecks of gold, dusted around the frame, it stood at 7 feet tall. As Lynn walked past, she checked her hair, a reflex that Douglas had teased her about. Her bun, always done tightly to avoid stray hairs, was immaculate, not a hair out of place. Her hand, absentmindedly, moved to the straggle of hair that had tickled her face only moments ago. Her reflection followed the movement, but as Lynn looked on at the hand in the mirror she couldn’t help but notice that it was empty while hers tugged at the tendril that lay on her shoulder. A shiver rippled down her spine, causing a slight shudder that her reflection did not mimic. She stepped back, moving away from the mirror and her reflection did the same.

“You’re imaging things, get a grip.” As she spoke she glanced along her otherwise familiar hallway, her book, if this was her house, her book would still be there. The living room looked the same as it had when she’d left, only minutes earlier. Her book was where she thought it would be, on the chaise, where she had placed it. But the book wasn’t the same, this one was larger, leather-bound. The texture was rough, as she moved her hand across its surface, the edges were worn from being touched regularly over a prolonged period. Whoever this belonged to, they loved it very much, it was well used. Grasping the book with both hands, she lifted it off the chaise, propping it on the right forearm so that she could open and look through the pages.

What met her eyes as she pushed aside the protective sheet, horrified her, she turned the page, and was met with more of the same. Each photo was similar in overall style, showing people lying down, eyes closed, a single flower on their chest. But these people weren’t sleeping, each person missing two vital parts of what were otherwise calm, peaceful faces. People, men and women, faces she knew. Her body started to shake, waves of violent shudders ran through her from top to toe. From behind her, Lynn heard the pantry door slam shut, dropping the book to the floor she rushed out of the room, past a now empty mirror towards the kitchen. The pantry door was closed tight, Lynn stretched her hand out to grab the handle, ready to rip it open as panic powered through her body. She hesitated momentarily, praying that the hallway was before her, but when she yanked the door open, all that met her was the pantry. Not her pantry though, where her jars of chutneys and jams bought religiously at markets each weekend, sat jars of another nature. Staring and unblinking, the eyes looked right back at her. A gurgle stirred as Lynn’s stomach shouted in protest, without moving from her spot she bent and evacuated her breakfast from that morning. As she stood there, hands on knees, panting from shock and panic, she heard a banging at the door.

“Could this day get more fucked up?” Lynn mumbled. Outside a voice answered her question for her.

“Lynn Jessop! This is the police, open the door!”

Migraine – The Internal Rebellion

Migraines can appear at any time of life, as teenagers, adults, they aren’t fussy. But what are the symptoms, are there triggers? Can they be prevented or treated? For those who suffer them, prevention is as important, if not more so, than treatment.

So what causes migraines? Migraines are essentially a form of intense headache, though that somehow falls short of expressing what the experience is like. Their intensity varies as do their symptoms, not everyone experiences pain, those that do might have pain in the sides of their heads, around the temple, others at the base of their head near their spine, or even around their face. This pain could be drawn out and continuous, sometimes lasting from a couple of hours to as long as 4 days, or like the ice pick migraine, sudden, ferocious and short-lived. This pain can be worsened by movement, noise or bright lights. These migraines can come with an array of other symptoms, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, visual disturbances such as auras (like halos or unusual colours) or light sensitivity and auditory sensitivity (as mentioned before, even the slightest noise can cause pain). Other known symptoms include fever, sweating, abdominal cramps or diarrhoea.

Causes

So what causes these internal rebellions? The cause of migraines is still under investigation, it is believed to relate to blood vessels, signals and the carefully balanced chemicals, essentially something causes abnormal brain activity which leads to imbalances or abnormal reactions. They are more common in women, which suggests a possible hormonal connection, and have been known to run in families, which implies a genetic element. But we are a long way from pinpointing a specific cause. Perhaps the reason is that there are many different causes, sufferers look forward to the day the cause is identified as more effective treatments are no doubt close behind.

Triggers

Triggers can be many things, from physical to psychological. Physical triggers can include lack of or interrupted sleep, exhaustion, tension across the back and neck (tightened muscles around the neck and shoulders specifically), dental issues or eye strain – a well-known issue which has led to many companies actively encouraging staff to have regular eye tests. This can also be connected to environmental triggers such as lighting or loud noises.

Emotion triggers could be stress-related, anxiety, or excitement, essentially the more heightened ends of the emotional spectrum (off-topic but if you google emotional spectrum you get a lot of Green Lantern images…). Aside from that, there are dietary triggers, with some being affected by dairy or chocolate, caffeine or alcohol for example. Knowing what your triggers are can make the difference between being incapacitated for anywhere between a few hours to a few days, or have a pain free week.

Prevention

In prevention, the answer is simple, if you can identify your triggers you can attempt to avoid them or put in place things that reduce the chances of one developing. If the migraines are triggered by bright lights such as that in an office, you can get tinted glasses, not necessarily with any form of prescription lenses, but instead tinted to reduce the effects of the lighting so commonly used in offices. If they’re caused by eye strain this again could involve glasses, changing the lighting on your screen, ensuring your monitor is set to the correct height so that you aren’t straining your neck or eyes when trying to see the screen.

With foods it is often a case of reducing or avoiding known trigger foods, it can spoil your fun but is usually worth it in the long run. Psychological triggers are harder to avoid, this is the case with any issues arising from a psychological trigger if you suffer from anxiety or stress, getting help to treat it or reduce it will go a long way to helping reduce migraines. In many cases, if they are overly painful, frequent in nature or only dim to a simple headache between attacks, there is medication that can help prevent them.

Treatments

Most people start with basic over the counter medication, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or more specifically targeted medication for migraines (often these come with a tablet to help fight nausea as well as pain relief). For many sufferers, these are not enough. In those cases, your GP may be able to prescribe something stronger, possibly with an anti-nausea if you require it. The most commonly used form is a Triptan, these are serotonin receptor agonists (agonists activate the receptor, in this case, certain serotonin receptors). While these are not a perfect preventative measure they do work well for many people if taken in the earlier stages when you first notice the symptoms creeping in.

There is evidence to suggest that a series of acupuncture treatments can aid in reducing attacks and improving symptoms, although there is still a lot of research being done in this field it is well worth a look.

Another well discussed treatment, though far more expensive than most is Botox. Best known for its wrinkle-reducing capabilities, it has a far more important use, in 2010 it was licensed for the specific usage of preventing/treating chronic migraines. According to an article by The Migraine Trust “botulinum toxin inhibits pain in chronic migraine by reducing the expression of certain pain pathways involving nerve cells in the trigeminovascular system”. As treatments go it is possibly the most expensive, and is, like all other treatments, not guaranteed to work.

Whichever treatment you decide to try, there is always the chance it won’t work and with hospital emergency admissions at around 16,500 a year, a more effective treatment is needed (NHS England, Jan 2020).

Have you tried something different? How did it work out for you? Can you recommend treatments or have you figured out how to stop yours?

Botulinum toxin (Botox®) – The Migraine Trust

Improved NHS Care

Brain and Spine – Migraine Fact Sheet

NHS – Migraines

Cochrane – Acupuncture for preventing migraine attacks

When Stress Becomes Something More – Work / Job Stress

Over the years I’ve noticed that a lot of people I’ve met have some form of mental health issue, the most common appears to be anxiety. Some might say that this is just because our generation is so “over sensitive” or that ever infuriating term “a snowflake”. Everyone, I’m sure, has their theory on why anxiety and depression are on the up and I am going to look at some of those over the next few months. Today we are looking at how stress can be a factor, most specifically job stress.

Everyone has stress in their lives, very few could claim otherwise. Before we take a closer look, take this moment to remember that just because you don’t see how someone else could be stressed/unhappy, doesn’t mean they aren’t. They can be wealthy or poor, they may look like they have a perfect life or a great job; they can still get stressed and it can still escalate. Try to avoid assumptions.

Right, back on topic. Stress can come from any aspect of your life, it could be job stress, or family, financial or social, or medical/health. It’s pretty hard to give a detailed look at each of these without making an overwhelming post that no one wants to read but let’s have a quick look, with perhaps examples.

Work / Job Stress

Everyone has job stress at one point or another, it’s fairly natural and can motivate us to get things sorted. Knowing when it’s getting beyond stress is hard to judge and many don’t realise until it’s too late. There are many factors that can lead to job stress, co-workers or superiors – a poor relationship can make it difficult to feel supported or that you can ask for help, perhaps your co-worker does nothing (or it feels that way) and leaves you feeling like you have to stay late etc to keep up? If you don’t get along with a co-worker this can lead to work stress for both of you, and those who have to work with you. Perhaps you’re caught between two others and their infighting.

If your issue is with other team members then looking for ways to improve that can help a lot, speak to another co-worker to get support, go to your boss and if they are the issue, consider going above them. Not an option? Then perhaps reconsider how much you want to stay there, it’s hard to find new work and you may have to change what you’re doing to get out but it’s often worth it in the long run. Poor mental health can affect many areas of your life so changing something to help it is always worth it.

If it’s not another person, perhaps its a lack of staff or excessive workload. With the workload, talk to someone, get help to reorganise your schedule and ask for additional support, most bosses would rather get you help than lose staff to sick leave. Again if that support isn’t there, reconsider your options. If it’s under-staffing, can that be rectified? If not is there any way to rejig the workload between the staff there is? If you’re the boss, what can you do to improve the situation? Avoid asking for assistance from anyone who can only give you negative answers and from those who suffer from what I like to call the “yeah, buts”. As annoying as an over optimistic person can be, they are full of ideas and willing to try, that attitude can go a long way to finding solutions for your work issues. We need to work to pay for, well, everything almost lol, but it shouldn’t rule your life.

Remember to maintain a healthy work/life balance – where possible, leave your work at work. (If you work from dedicate a space, and perhaps even an outfit so that when you leave that space/change clothes, your mind shifts from work, to home).

Whatever the reason behind your stress, knowing the signs can really help you tackle it early on, according to helpguide.org there are some easy to spot signs, such as irritability (at work or home), anxiousness, headaches, sleep problems and/or feeling exhausted, you might find yourself withdrawing socially or drinking more. The more stressed you get, the harder it is to concentrate and the more you feel you’re not doing a good enough job or that’s you’re overwhelmed. Now is the time to reach out and ask for help.

If you think this sounds familiar there are quizzes and tests you can do to see, I’ve picked a few just by looking for stress tests, these were the first 4 in the results. These are not 100% accurate and as far as I can not medically endorsed.

  1. Cigna Care Stress Care Test – this is short but very familiar for those who’ve seen mental health questionnaires. I’m not sure its long enough to give a valid and accurate answer, but they do offer support in reducing that stress. They sell health insurance I believe so there will be ads in your email with this one.
  2. NHS Mood Self-assessment – this is my preferred one for obvious reasons.
  3. Stress Management Society – this is fairly detailed with it’s responses, it gives you a break down of the importance of each point, etc however the images don’t work and although they give the impression that you don’t have to agree to marketing emails, you can’t see the result until you do.
  4. Psycom – they’re questions are not great, most people can say sometimes to at least half the questions in my opinion, I could be wrong, also not 3 minutes long.

So you’re stressed, where can you get help?

This is a tough one, as what you have access to depends entirely on your area/country, the medical provisions available to you and unfortunately your budget. In some areas of the UK there is self-referral options, especially if you feel you’re slipping beyond stressed into more longer term issues, however the waiting lists are long. So first up, here are few tips to help you feel a little less stressed, if these don’t help consider talking to your GP or someone you trust.

A. Exercise – Let’s get the annoying one out of the way first, no one wants to hear it but it does help, even if it’s just walking. If you can get out of work on lunch breaks then do, go for a walk, meet a friend.

B. Change your outlook – when you find yourself saying you can’t, stop, your brain believes you when you say these things, it’s gullible that way. Change how you word it and take back control. Instead of I can’t do this, it’s too hard, perhaps tell yourself that you need a little assistance and you’re going to ask for it. Turn a negative into a motivator, it’s not I hate my job, it’s more, I think it’s time to move on.

C. Talk – talk to a co-worker/friend/family member or even occupational health if your work place has it. – but don’t rant or bitch – that will backfire. Tell them you’re struggling and you need help. Acknowledging the issue and allowing others to assist takes a huge weight off.

D. take time out, book a day off and spend it friends, reconnect with your family. Holiday time/family/social time, they’re invaluable. Even introverts need human contact now  and then, (despite what the media tell you – they do actually want to socialise, its just exhausting) even if we don’t realise it. 

E. Look at how you handle it – can you change behaviours? That glass in the evening might seem to help, but if you end up drinking the whole bottle and then feel extra tired the next day, you’ve solved nothing. What can you do, to counter the stressful feelings, that won’t sabotage you in the long run?

My favourite one on the NHS Reduce Stress Tips is this:

Capture

So very true, and remember to go home, working late every day is not the answer, starting early all the time isn’t either. Manage your time and when it’s time to go home, do just that. We get nagged at 5pm to go home, they need us ready for a new day, not stressed and over worked. It’s an important attitude to have and if you’re an employer who expects they’re staff to work very long hours and you’re keeping them from their family/social life – be prepared to sign a lot of staff off sick, you should want to take care of your staff, happy, healthy staff are loyal staff.

Oh and one more thing…

Snowflakes are beautiful, complex, unique and in large numbers incredibly dangerous.

When Wellness Gets Too Much

The word wellness is meant to stand for mental and/or physical well-being, but has it lost it’s meaning? Is wellness still about taking care of yourself?

Wellness, self-care, well-being, these are all buzz words that are thrown around online and in the real world, they came to the foreground with people trying to improve their own health, mental and otherwise. But somewhere along the way it became big business, now when you search on Twitter or Instagram, the mixture of posts shows an unhealthy trend. Just today a search using the hashtag #wellness, revealed a worrying trend. The posts that came up were a stream of carefully prepared food in glamorous setups, idyllic homes and healthy toned people working out in the gym. Very little was something you could easily identify with. This led to the question of whether we’ve lost sight of what wellness should be.

I posed this question on twitter today, asking what wellness means to other people, and I’ll add the responses as they come in (if they come in 😉 ). However, yesterday I took the time to ask my friends what they see wellness as and how they feel about the wellness movement, the consensus wasn’t an overly positive one. We’ll rename them for the sake of anonymity, answers came from A, T, J and S. For A, it felt like the culture of wellness was a “push culture” blaming the victim for not trying hard enough to make themselves well, implicating that they were not making enough effort to do things recommended by pseudo-experts. Not to mention that the vast amount of it seems perpetuated by companies that want your money but don’t seem to actually care about your wellness. T believes it started with good intentions, but has become too commercialised, losing it’s meaning among all the Instagram celebrities that try to tell you what it means to work on your wellness. A third suggestion from J, argued that the only real negative that had come from the wellness movement was from those who used it to show off, a “look at me” attitude, that seeing someone fit and healthy in the gym stating they’re there to “get fit” didn’t encourage others so much as demotivate those who had a lot further to go. One response from a twitter user blamed meme culture, stating that it led to a demise in the original meaning, indeed memes are frequently inaccurate quotes and in more than a few cases, are somewhat disingenuous.  Lastly S had a few very interesting comments on the whole scene, that the idea of wellness wasn’t to blame, that those who were willing to perpetuate a falsehood in order to get likes/views on social media were, largely, the main reason the message was lost. Indeed wellness on social media is a shocking thing that doesn’t seem to actually focus much on the developing a feeling of wellness.

Indeed it was only recently that an article came out in the Sydney Herald, that examined how wellness was actually making us sick, as I read it, the general feel was that wellness was not about how to improve yourself as a person, by helping yourself and others, but merely about what you can do for yourself. There are a lot more points made in this article that are fascinating, I recommend giving it a read.

I digress, S pointed out that his own feeling of wellness had not been achieved by following social media posts, following a movement, or getting fit but in focusing on the things that he loves, taking the time to enjoy them. Indeed, in my own mission to learn more about wellness and well-being, I have fallen into the trap of memes, posts and camera angles. This question has reminded me that focusing on doing the things I love, does more for my health and well-being than staring at the posts of those who claim to encourage wellness.

So let’s start focusing on real wellness and self-care, if that means cheering yourself on for going to the gym, then well done, but for others, it is often a very different idea. Take the time to decide what it means for you, and what will help you with that. It might be doing things for yourself, or it might mean accepting help from others, perhaps it’s going out to see friends (or sit in your front room with them), or it might mean taking a nap to get your through the day. And remember, doing something for others can give you both a pretty awesome sense of well-being, my favourite birthday card ever was made by a friend (A) and I’ve kept it safe for several years. I hope knowing that brings her a warm fuzzy feeling, because reading it makes me smile.

Do you agree with this? What’s your feelings towards the wellness movement?

The Endless – Prologue

Here it is, the prologue. Enjoy, but do not copy or take without permission from myself directly. I’m not hard to get hold of, send me a message. Let me know what you think, as I work on some of my projects you’ll be able to find there right here:

WattPad

prologue - outbreak story

The Endless – Prologue – an outbreak story by Michelle Quinton

The Universe, the planet and me.

The universe is a fascinating place, I don’t pretend to know much of anything about it, in terms of how much information is out there I think it’s impossible to truly know all of it. One of the reasons I started this blog was to put out there what I do know, discuss theories and maybe find out what you know. Please do share with me.

Today’s contemplation is about feeling a part of things, or feeling alone. Do you sometimes feel isolated? Unhappy? Perhaps you’re wondering what about me? Where do I fit in? I suspect you won’t be alone with those thoughts. I often feel the same way, so I’m looking for connections with the universe, a way to feel connected that doesn’t rely on a connection with other humans. I’m lucky enough to already have that, though it was difficult to get to that point where I felt like I had people to turn to.

Back to the universe, what ways can you help yourself feel more connected with the universe? I remember once someone showing me a video of how small and inconsequential we were in the grand scheme of things and when your problems feel blown out of proportion that can help. But it definitely didn’t make me feel connected. Listening to the universe helps, if you can listen you can sometimes spot pointers, things happening and the good that can come it, if though it may have been pretty crappy at the time (this is of course not true for all things, only you can determine if, in the long run, it helped you or changed you for the better). But again, some people feel as if they aren’t getting a response, or can’t see the signs. So I’ve put together a few little reminders, that we are one with the universe, you are and always will be an important part of it.

So where can you see it? The universe reflected in us and vice versa? How about we start with the eyes, shown here, eyes share an amazing likeness to the galaxies around us, I’ve even see some comment that they look like black holes. Very much a reflection of the universe, I’ve seen this image around, if you know who created it, I’d love to credit them – it’s everywhere so I haven’t been able to work out where it started.

eyes and galaxies

In a strange way it feels almost as if the galaxies are gazing at you, looking into you. Fascinating if a little unnerving for some. How about we go a little smaller? The next image shows the similarities between brain cell networks and the galaxies, again showing very similar structure, you can see that we developed to a pattern that the universe has used time and time again.

According to onecussion.com there are almost the same number of neurons in our brains as there are stars in our galaxy, perhaps on it’s own it may seem to be a coincidence. This is the image shared on onecussion’s article, I recommend it, it’s a fascinating subject.

developing brain and galaxies
Onecussion.com https://www.onecussion.com/developing-brain

Looking towards individual cells, you can see that same symmetry inside and out, individual brain cells (neurons) look very much like the universe themselves. Check out this post on “The Universe Grows Like a Giant Brain”, which looks closely at this, the image below is borrowed from their post, I recommend you read it as opposed to just looking at or borrowing the image. 

The Universe Grows Like a Giant Brain
The Universe Grows Like a Giant Brain https://www.crystalinks.com/brain.universe513.html

Can you see how we reflect the universe, each one of us is walking around with, what looks like, mini universes within a brains, millions of tiny neurons, firing off the messages and doing their best to keep us running, indeed, just as we sometimes appear to sabotage ourselves and our homes, the cells in our bodies attack and sabotage us, making us sick in the same way we make our home sick. You can even see it in the way we build and create, cities from above look very much like brain cells, connections and passages, sending information to and fro, check out this image from PetaPixel’s article on the similarities between human cities and human neurons. The universe has a design template programmed into all of us, and we recreate that when we build.

Photos Showing the Strange Similarities of Human Cities and Human Neurons
Photos Showing the Strange Similarities of Human Cities and Human Neurons https://petapixel.com/2013/01/15/photos-showing-the-strange-similarities-of-human-cities-and-human-neurons/

Seeing how we reflect the universe, at least for me, reminds me of just how much everything is connected. It helps me be open to the idea that things can change for the better and that sometimes the universe can leave little crumb trails for you to follow.

A little example of the universe and little pointers for me, at 19 I worked as a secretary, my works mates were great except one and I left because of her. I did regret leaving as I had opportunities there that I missed out on because that decision. As soon as I left I started job hunting, I had an interview in London, I was sold the wrong ticket, missed a train and next one was cancelled due to snow. I could have fought through it, but perhaps because I didn’t really want to go or maybe because I knew it was an agency not a direct employer, I decided to take the hint and go home. Not long after I saw a job advertised, it said croupier, I didn’t even know what one was (and google wasn’t an option – my phone didn’t do internet lol). I phoned to ask what a croupier was and spent a year working there, becoming more capable and confident in myself. I’ve never regretted working at that Casino (Grosvenor in Reading), and I’m glad I made the choices I did.

There are other instances, including the ones that led me here, having worked at a Sleep Hotel (as admin), worked as a weight loss coach (with life coaching as part of the training), studied psychology, life coaching and mental health. The universe keeps nudging me in the direction of mental health and wellness, so I’m taking that hint.

What can you look back on and see as a positive, that maybe felt like a negative at the time? What decisions have you made that you thought at the time you’d regret, but that you’re really glad you did now?

Can you see any other examples of human creations that reflect the universe (inside us or outside)? Share with me, sharing is good 🙂 (unless it’s your cold, don’t share that 😉 ).

Current plans

Sorry for the silent treatment, I’ve been a busy beaver so to speak. I’m working on a collection of short stories inspired by conversations overheard on the street, called Stories from the Streets, and obviously my Outbreak story which is nearly halfway through the first draft. I’ll be sharing a few samples of those here on the next couple of weeks.

Next up a change of day job, I don’t know if it will make it easier or harder to post here but we will see. I’m working on getting back in shape at the moment so I’ll share my journey there on my personal posts. Writing updates will appear under professional. Keep and eye out and let me know what you think.