Do you know the official term for the type of image that you see above?
It’s called a “meme” (meem).
An image, video, piece of text, typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations. ~ (Google)
The past three months for me have been consumed with this little social media tool that has changed my life.
On my recent year out from life after suffering anxiety, I took up a life changing opportunity to cultivate a life worth living and loving—I joined elephant journal’s apprenticeship program. I was at a crossroads in my life, having just completed a yoga teacher training course in India and staying on in the country, I was accepted to Elephant Academy, a three month apprenticeship taught by this inspiring, mindful publication where you can learn journalism, ethics, editing and social media.
During our first meeting, I was full of anticipation, and a little anxiety, as we were told how to manage a Facebook page and post things called memes.
I had no idea what people were talking about…and there was the start of a steep learning curve.
Many articles that I came across contained deep and meaningful quotes. I am not begrudging of these, they have their place, but sometimes when life is sucking all your energy a sense of humour is all that you need, I mean who doesn’t like a cute cat dressed in a suit?
In today’s media driven world words and images are constantly flashed in front of our eyes, we sometimes barely pay attention to them, but when those words and images speak to our soul they can make a positive impact to our lives. We read quotes every day, whilst scrolling through social media feeds, in books and newspapers. They inspire us, make us laugh or cry and make us think about our lives and our actions. They may come from our favourite films, celebrities, religious leaders, scholars and authors or those ‘anonymous’ ones that some soul penned somewhere at some distant time to enhance our lives.
They can be in beautiful lettering, scrolled over an inspirational landscape, or harsh bold type shouting at us over an image of Leonardo DiCaprio.
By sharing a quote, it means that it spoke to us we connected with it. Something of its knowledge, wisdom or humour resonates with how we feel at that moment. It is a little glimpse into out current state of mind, how we view ourselves and this gesture shapes how others feel about us.
This made think about the quotes that have inspired me of late. I hope they put a smile on your face and remind you to not let any struggles get you down. Use them as your daily mantras or add your own story to them. Most of these quotes are not attributed to a particular author, but if words can touch a person then they are worth sharing.
“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” ~ Unknown
I created this meme during on the final months of my last journey. I had just climbed up to the top of Mount Triund in India—the wrong way! Thankfully, I was with a wonderful friend, one that had been through similar struggles as me.
As we sat at the top of the mountain, feet and legs sore and admiring the pure wonder of the beauty around us, we reminisced about the hard road we had taken to reach our destination—just as in life, we had climbed up the mountain the wrong way.
But that view, and the satisfaction of reaching our destination—was well worth the struggle.
This touched my heart.
It had been a long and difficult road to get there but facing up to those difficulties and aiming for my destination led to beauty. It led to a new life and this has to be one of the greatest lessons that we learn. So when things are getting you down, just remember that life will always be difficult, but we have to go through hard times to appreciate the good times more.
“Everything will be alright in the end, if it is not alright it is not the end.”~ John Lennon (supposedly)
This quote was on my fridge when I first moved into a new home in London with new housemates after a devastating break up. It got me though those tough times, the heartbreak every time I reached to get milk for my tea. Because, you know what, life is sh*t, and its hard work.
Adversities are sent to test us and make us better.
I urge you to read this quote if things are feeling too hard, if there is that dull feeling in the pit of your stomach and tears prickling your eyes. Read it and read it again and remember it. Remember my story and the stories of many others who have shared their journeys here on Elephant Journal. It will be all right in the end—it has to be.
There will be an end in sight, but it may take time.
My struggle has been four years in the ending, but it is turning out alright.
“Sometimes you need yoga. Sometimes you need wine. Sometimes you need both.” ~ Anonymous
This is a nice light hearted meme and to me this sums up how I now look at life: to stop taking life so seriously. Follow the 80:20 rule or the 5:2 diet, whatever you do enjoy it and enjoy life’s luxuries in moderation. Don’t deny yourself the things that make you happy. This is true for every part of your life; work, diet, exercise, love, independence.
Perfection does not exist and things are there to tempt us for a reason, so why limit yourself from the things that you love?
“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.”~ C.S. Lewis
There are two things that you will notice if you visit my house: I have a lot of books, and the kettle is always on. A friend bought me a frame with this quote in and I love it. It sits proudly with my books and I have yet to find both.
For me, the bigger the cup of tea and longer the book the better.
When suffering from a mental health struggle, I find it very helpful to identify a place that I can go to to give myself some much-needed “me time.” Sometimes this means escaping into a good book. Pair this with a big and comforting cup of tea and all of the minds chatter can be quietened for a little while. For you, it may be watching a film with a big bowl of popcorn or engrossing yourself in your favourite magazine. But is should be something comforting that is completely on your own time.
“Do what you love what you do.” ~ Anonymous
This quote sums up the best way to cultivate a new life.
I had this postcard on my dressing table at home, and I would read it every time that I looked at myself, repeating it out loud to my image staring back at me. It was the inspiration to change my life and start to cultivate my loves. I love the alliteration in the quote—there is something about it that sticks with me.
That’s where this apprenticeship comes in—to cultivate a lifestyle of doing what I love and loving what I do. To travel, to read, to drink tea, do yoga and write.
These are all part of this journey. I think we all need a little reminder that this is possible if we put our mind to it and to realize what we love.
I hope that these quotes complete their meaning in life—to speak to you, put a smile on your face and be of inspirational mantras to write on your mirror, use for your phone background, your dashboard or your yoga mat.
I hope that they will help you be happier.
Author: Justine O’Connell
Images: via the author
Editor: Renée Picard