MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

On being happy and being content

happy penguinWhen you meet someone either by chance or intentionally, the first question that usually flies in the air is “how are you?”. It is usually one intended to find out the state of your health. Physically. So the answer that often follows is “I am well”. Hardly anyone will ever come up to you with the first question they are eager to ask being “are you happy?”. Yet being happy is intrinsically linked to the positive state of your health. We just sometimes choose to ignore it.

We all know it is important to be happy, or at least try to be. And it is not only because of the cringe marks that you get when you frown. It is because when you’re happy, you feel like you’re flying. Like you’re weightless and floating on a cloud. Feeling happy makes you view the world in a brighter and more positive light. And given the problems and stress that are constantly weighing down on us during these times, we need to feel happy.

But more often than not, we aren’t happy. We are simply content.

We may be satisfied with the life we have, what we achieve, and be pleased with ourselves overall. But are we truly happy? Do you feel that spark in your eyes when you smile? Or that flutter in your stomach whenever you see a loved one? Do you have a skip in your step? Do you see the world clearly in a dazzling light or is it dim in your eyes?

Being happy and being content are two different things.

Happy is when you indulge in the fascinating world of a book, when you mingle among the characters, discover the very depths of their beings, and are anxious to learn all their dirty little secrets.
Content is when you turn the last page of the book and re-emerge into the real world, which you realise is nothing at all like the one you just read.

Happy is watching a movie. Being so immersed in it that you block everything out. That you feel part of the plot itself, so close that you can even sense the warm breath of the characters down your neck.
Content is when your viewing is interrupted for some reason and you have to wait to see the ending. And then, it is after witnessing that emotional rollercoaster and acknowledging that life is nothing close to that movie.

Happy is being close to your family; sharing emotions and experiences; and holding long conversations about anything and everything.
Content is when you realise that this family is all you have, as you’re too afraid to go looking for someone who could become part of a new / extended family.

Happy is achieving your dreams and ambitions and being acknowledged for the work you do.
Content is having all that, but no-one to share it with.

Happy is one of Snow White’s seven dwarfs. He is bubbly and bright, friendly and cheerful.
Content is not one of the dwarfs, or any other character for that matter. Being content implies a limitation in the feeling of satisfaction and certainly does not radiate the perkiness of someone who is truly happy.

So, you see, for the sake of the dwarf alone, it is worth being happy. And although there is so much written on how to achieve this, what to do and what not – including the fact that being happy is simply a decision you have to make – happiness will truly flow into your heart when you allow it to. When you stop overthinking, over-wallow, and oversulk, and just be. Don’t compare, don’t compete, just be the best you can be.

The dress and an escape from the truth

the dressIn the last week, we have been arguing over the colour of a dress (blue/black or white/gold?), have witnessed llamas run loose in Arizona, and have been baffled over a Senator’s questioning of the effects of climate change by tossing a snow ball as evidence.

All the while, it has been revealed that the masked Islamic State (ISIS) militant known as “Jihadi John”, seen in the videos beheading Western hostages, is a Kuwaiti-born British man from West London, while ISIS militants ransacked Mosul’s central museum destroying thousand-year old priceless artefacts.

Meanwhile, Eurozone countries continue to bewilder each other on account of their increasing economic problems, leading to internal strife, while the fighting in Eastern Ukraine is ongoing and getting worse.

It is interesting to how we chose to see as news what is more enticing and entertaining to us. The fact that conflict is rampant across the world no longer surprises or even affects us (unless we are in those impacted areas). Nor are we touched by the world’s financial problems, even though these affect our own economic state and employment status. These are things we seek to get away from when surfing the web.

Instead, we’ll click to watch Madonna fall at her Brit Awards performance, we’ll enter the worldwide viral debate on the color of that dress, and we will laugh at the videos of animals doing the weirdest yet cutest of things imaginable.

When we enter the world wide web, we seek to be informed, but at the same time entertained. Our attention span diminishes rapidly when we begin to read a long political analysis on the state of affairs – simply put, this is boring. We want something that draws our attention, that is quick and easy to read, and that is entertaining enough but enlightening at the same time.

We like to engage into quizzes on what your choice of wine says about you, for example, read the daily horoscope and cartoon strips, and be inspired by a quote someone famous said long ago.

What we don’t like, is to be reminded that nothing seemingly works as it should pretty much anywhere; that those who were elected to represent us are sometimes just as corrupt as the people they criticize and place behind bars, and that corruption and clientilism are two trends that may possibly never be transcended.

So we turn to entertainment. To momentarily forget the harsh reality and drift into a realm where all there exists are celebrities falling from grace, animals proving they’re smarter than us, and meaningless chatter on trivial issues.

We all need to get away for a while, and if this is the way to achieve some serenity of mind, then so be it. Just remember, The Dress is the colour you see, and all that says about you, is that you can at least see there is a dress.

The tunnel

TunnelShe first saw him on a sunny day, in a field strewn with golden hay. He gazed into her eyes with a smile imprinted on his face. She blushed and smiled back, eyes sparkling like diamonds in the sun. He came closer and let his fingertips brush against her arm. She chuckled and lowered her gaze.

Ahead was a tunnel. It mystified and intrigued them at the same time. It was one none had traversed before and it conveyed a sense of foreboding inside them, of exploring the unknown. It made them feel excited, sending shivers down both their spines and rapidly increasing the beats of their hearts. Their hands locked and they entered. Together.

The tunnel was as mysterious and unnerving inside, as it appeared from the outside. It smelled of roses and lilies and offered them food and drink and luxuries to fill their heart’s desire. At first. For later, no-one was to expect what would ensue.

It was surprisingly brightly lit for a tunnel. They realized only too late that it was their own glow that provided the light.

When the first storm came they had nowhere to hide. The tunnel had only one exit and that lay straight ahead. There were no sidesteps, no alcoves, to shade them from the wrath of a suppressed storm. Yet they never let go of each other’s hand. Even if they held on by a finger, they still held on.

After the storm, peace and calm soon followed. And everything seemed to return to the bright, tranquil path in which they had commenced their journey.

“I thought we’d never come back from that one.” This was the first thought both had, grateful they still had each other.

But they soon grew tired. Of walking. Of waiting. Of expecting. It seemed that they were looking for a way out that never came. It was not yet even in sight. And the storm returned. Heavier and more forceful than the first. Everyone told them to be aware of storms and the lightening, but no-one ever warned them of the thunder that came along. For the bangs were deafening and shuddered the very center of their hearts.

They survived yet again, but it was not the same. Something had been broken inside and they could no longer enjoy the tranquilities after the rain, as they first did. Yet they still held hands. Even as the tunnel darkened more and more.

Three years, seven months and 19 days they spent in the tunnel.

When they finally found the exit at the other end, they felt the last winter snowflakes splash onto their nose. It was a pleasant coolness from the humidity from which they emerged. They smiled, but it was a crooked smile. One almost forced. The melancholy released from their prolonged sigh wafted in the air around them. And in the second blink of an eye, the sun appeared from behind the clouds, restoring its light on their darkened eyes. But it could no longer retain the glow of their souls.

They had surfaced from the tunnel seemingly unscathed, but inside, they would never be the same again. They were not the same people they were when they entered. He looked in her eyes and searched for that initial sparkle, but it was gone. And she could no longer fix a smile upon his face. They could not recognize each other anymore.

And that is when it happened.

Their hands unlocked and drifted to their respective sides.

The pain in their heart was more than they could ever bear, but all they could do was struggle to go on.

Yet they always vividly remembered their tunnel journey with its memory forever engraved in their souls.

The tunnel experience made them stronger, for it too made them wiser in the ways of this world.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Use It or Lose It

10 ways texting can make you smarter

TextingTalking is defined as the action of communicating or exchanging ideas, information etc., by speaking, or by uttering sounds of some sort. In the modern digital world, talking is equivalent to texting. We spend so much time in front of a screen that our way of communicating has evolved to be through instant messages, emails, or simply put, texts of any kind.

In whatever way it may come about, talking is essential. Because it is always better to share something with others rather than keep it locked up inside of you. Particularly when something good comes along, not having anyone to tell and join in the excitement, sort of sucks out half the joy.

So here is a short list of why talking (in any form, and preferably with others) can make you smarter:

  1. In the quest to share ideas and find conversation starters or goers, you will eventually be incited to read more, thus learn more and expand your intellectual capacity. You will discover worlds out there you never knew existed and will be amazed by how isolated we used to be. You may even be shocked at how things we still take for granted are daringly fought for by others.
  2. If you can’t express what it is you think or desire, then perhaps you are not clear about it either. Albert Einstein had said that “you do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” Just remember you can’t (or rather, shouldn’t) comment on things you don’t know about.
  3. There is no other way of getting your point of view across (well, no other peaceful way) other than clearly stating your position. Don’t expect others to guess what you want unless you state it. The struggle to develop a coherent and solid argument will open the door to interesting information for you too.
  4. You will learn to appreciate the views of others. It’s always easier to criticize than comprehend. Every interaction should celebrate the diversity of views among us. Voltaire vowed to “defend to the death your right to speak”, even if he did disapprove of what you say. Freedom of speech and opinion is a fundamental right we so often take for granted and are so willing to boldly proclaim whenever it is violated.
  5. Twitter’s limitation of 140 characters has made every word count, forcing us to squeeze our minds into making those few words mean the most they can, and constraining us to say everything we need to in the fewest amount of words possible. Consequently, it has made us appreciate all the more the power of words. And spelling. And perhaps enticed us to flick through a dictionary. Or thesaurus.
  6. Talking to others makes you look at the other side of the coin. We all view life through our own one-sided perspective. But what about asking someone in a different situation how they view things? It will give you a different lens through which to view the facts and will open your mind to new thoughts and ideas. It may even bring you a step closer to understanding this world we live in.
  7. Through conversations you can learn how to do a lot – about how to turn a pessimistic person around to having a glimpse of optimism for things in their lives. How to become witty in order to respond to petty comments. Perhaps you will find like-minded people out there, or someone who challenges you intellectually and stimulates a dialogue from which you may all gain. It may lead to arguments you didn’t know you had until someone made you think of them.
  8. Talking may lead to the next great discovery. The innovation we’ve been all waiting for. Exchange ideas, develop them, compliment them through conversations. You’d be surprised at the outcome.
  9. The more you talk, the more you learn. And it is not just about the gossip. The more information and points of view you hear, the more you will be able to distinguish between the truth and the lies; between propaganda and realism. And the more you will be able to develop your own informed opinion about the state of things.
  10. Ultimately, talking and being able to express your thoughts makes you more attractive. It shows you are not a feeble by-stander in this exciting world. You take part and have a view. And there is nothing as powerful as a mind in action.

The ring, the stranger, and the spiders

gold ringThe golden ring was stolen on a Monday. Lewis couldn’t sleep until he had figured out a way to get it back. It was already Wednesday by the time he had devised a plan that might work.

He knew who had stolen it. He remembered a dark, sinister strange, brushing against him as he hastily left the room that day.

It only took a minute. He still did not know how it had happened. But the golden ring with the sapphire-shaped heart in the middle had somehow disappeared along with the stranger that day.

It was an extravagantly dressed, corpulent woman who had noticed it first, as her shrieks even scared the guard dogs outside. It did not seem that the glass surrounding the luxurious and exorbitant ring was cracked at all. So how on earth did they manage to steal it?

Lewis remembered following the stranger into an alley behind the Museum. But there was absolutely nothing there, other than three walls leading to a dead-end. And the stranger was gone.

All day Tuesday Lewis contrived his plan and suitably equipped himself for the mission that lay ahead. Two special policemen accompanied him to the end of the alley, but from there he would continue alone. It was his responsibility and he would be the one to retrieve the ring.

They scanned the area for a whole five minutes before they found it. The stranger’s escape route.

It was a trapdoor at the left side – the darkest part – of the alley. But the minute Lewis shed his torch light on the dark abyss that opened up below, his heart stopped.

A hairy-legged black spider crawled slowly out of the darkness onto the grey-stoned alley road. And then another. And another.

Lewis hated spiders. And most importantly he feared them. He shivered all over with disgust as he dreaded the idea of climbing down there with these awful creatures.

No, he would not. He could not. There must be another way. This would simply be a decoy. The real exit was elsewhere.

Soon the left side of the alley was slowly being taken over by spiders.

Lewis shuddered and jumped up with such a yell that the museum guard dogs ran to his rescue. They had been trained to react with every scream.

Lucky for him that they did not have the same problem with spiders. They quickly forced them all back under the trap door.

But the most fortunate coincidence of all was when one of the dogs chased around one spider which was pretty fast for its genre, crashed out of excitement onto the back wall, and revealed the real exit.

The back wall was simply plaster. Thick layers of plaster.

After that, it all fell into place quite easily.

The wall opened up to a wooden, poorly constructed shed, where apparently the stranger-thief had hidden the priceless jewel in a shoebox until he returned from somewhere. All it took from now on was a hideout until the stranger came. He didn’t take long; only 40 minutes.

The ring was returned to the Museum. And the dogs given a life supply of bones and treats.

What was most surprising though, was that the ring thief was actually the extravagantly-dressed, corpulent woman’s husband, who also happened to be the ex-director of the Museum who had been fired for misconduct and embezzlement a year ago.

Revenge can truly take astonishing turns.

But payback does belong to a dog.

 

Inspired by Story-ideas-three elements

A porch of memories

Friday Fictioneers - porch

PHOTO PROMPT -Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

It had been years she had last visited the summer estate. It was too painful to return after he was gone. But now she could no longer avoid it.

The minute she stepped onto the porch it all came flooding back – the happy memories of a time past; the laughter; the dreams that were made; the expectations that were created for a life that never was.

It was exactly like she remembered – with the Greek columns reminding her of her glorious ancestry.

But now, the words “Forever” they had carved at the bottom were gone. Leaving only “eve”. Her name.

 

Part of Friday Fictioneers

The Existential Dilemma

1 Life begins where fear endsWe have all at some point or other stopped, gazed beyond the horizon into the unknown, and simply pondered: what am I doing? Where am I going? Why am I doing anything?

It has happened to the best of us. Trying to find meaning in your life. There have been entire philosophies devoted to this – it is called existentialism and it emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice. 2 Hope is a waking dream

It is the view that humans define their own meaning in life, and try to make rational decisions despite existing in an irrational universe. It focuses on the question of human existence, and the feeling that there is no purpose or explanation at the core of existence.

But maybe the truth is that we think too much. Perhaps we should embrace our very existence, our being, our life, and live it to the fullest, experiencing emotions to their full depth and enjoying every minute of our so valuable lives.

3 You only live once

4 If you don't make your dreams a reality

5 If you are always trying to be normal

6 Time to create the life you want

7 Homesick for a place that doesn't exist

8 If you're going to try go all the way

Breaking the Law, Breaking Bad

camping_fullsize_story1Have you ever broken the law? Stealing candy doesn’t count. Something more substantial. Like tying the officer’s shoelaces together when you’re ten years old, so he can’t run after you when you grab an entire ice cream bucket from the town market. Not that I would know how that would be done, of course. So really, have you ever been bad?

I remember a specific summer when we had gone camping. That week was fully, completely, no-turning-back, law-breaking. There was almost nothing legal about it.

To begin with, we had camped in a non-authorised camping zone. And we would soon realise why.

We had gotten off track on the way there, because one of us had forgotten the GPS, and, well, let’s face it, a sense of orientation is not our strongest trait. But that is why we went camping to begin with. To practice.

It took us three hours to set up our tents (when at practice we had them set up and equipped within thirty minutes). The wind was blowing everything away, the tent blew up like a balloon, and then we spent about two and a half hours chasing the tents around the makeshift camp zone in order to bolt them down to the ground. It was kinda funny if you weren’t the one running after the tent.

So, by the time we got that part done, we were starving. Luckily we had brought enough food with us. Well, at least for the first couple of days. We had to light a fire to warm up the pre-cooked food we had cleverly tagged along, yet there were no marked firewood lying around anywhere (as there would have been if we had reached the intended camping site). So, the two “macho” men in our group proclaimed they “would go get wood”. We waited. And waited. Then we heard a screech, a yell, and a bump. Apparently, they had reenacted that cartoon scene where one of them sits on a branch, sawing the wrong end of it, so that eventually both branch and sawyer fell onto the on-viewer who was (stupidly, may I add) observing from ground view. Enough said.

We could not sleep at all during the night, because we were literally bombarded by flying monkeys. OK, so they weren’t monkeys, they were mosquitoes. But they were huge and noisy and were everywhere. They might as well have been flying monkeys.

The next day, we decided to go fishing at the lake. Well, you can see where this is going, so I won’t tell you much. Just that it involved a cut arm, a rusty fishing line, an eel, some whitebait, and someone almost drowning.

Our food ran out, faster than the sun set. It seems that misfortunes, and the absolute lack of any first-world comforts that we so often take for granted, can certainly accentuate your appetite. We decided to hike to the nearest market. On the way, we were almost tackled by a grizzly bear. OK, that is a bit of an exaggeration. On the way, we were definitely tackled by a grizzly bear. It tore off both the “macho” men’s T-shirts and tried to pull of my shoe. Luckily, the boot was tightly fitted on to my leg and I managed to run away.

We had hiked for three kilometers by the time we reached the market and found an inn right on top of it. But of course, we had (smartly) left our money back at the “campsite”. Nonetheless, we decided to sneak in and take a shower. Us two girls, managed quite easily. But when the second boy was finishing up and looking for a towel, the innkeeper’s wife came in. Screaming ensued, mostly from the wet, naked man, who had fortunately managed to grab a towel that turned out to be the innkeeper’s conservative nightgown, and we ran out of there like crazy.

The innkeeper, however, fulfilled the threat he had so loudly yelled at us. Police were called, of course.

By the time we returned to the campsite, the police were already there. So was the bear. We were the ones to get a heavy fine for all this confusion and illegality. But we did also get a ride back to town. Not matter if it was in a police car. With the sirens on. Apparently, the police thought we had something to hide and that is why we were acting so strangely. Little did they know, this is how insane we were. We were forced to spend the night at the police department and pay the fine in full before we were released. It was certainly better than spending the night with a grizzly bear in our tent.

One thing is for sure though. We definitely learnt to appreciate all the things we usually take for granted. Clean water, food of all sorts, warmth, technology, bear-free zones. But the camping trip did us good, for we realized that we need a little order lest our world springs into chaos; a little light to save us from our own darkness.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Breaking the Law

Take back the night

Lone wolf

 

 

 

 

 

The silence of a room feels so much louder
When you’re not here.
Everything seem so much darker
without you near.

In every picture we had
we used to smile
so widely
so truly
so fully.

We’ll never know what happened.
What changed.
What never did.

But now…
Where do we go from here?
how can it all go on
without the fire of passion
to fight away the fear?

How easy it easy to melt away,
like ice in a summer heat.
To long for air or water,
like love is the only thing you need.

What are you waiting for?
What is it that you need?
When will life ever be complete?
Or just a bit like you’ve always dreamed?

So, what are you waiting for?
Get up, move, even if you fall.
Don’t you want to live and be free?
Don’t you want to accomplish at least one dream?

The time will never be right.
Nor the location or the night.
There never was a plan.
Just a lot of faith.

All you have to do is take a leap
and believe you can fly.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Baggage Check

Meltdown

Are you living your dreamIt’s always there in the shadows. Looming in the cupboard and in the drawers. In the places you least expect it to be. It takes the slightest bit for it to sneak up on you. But when it does, it covers you tighter than the black cape that wraps Batman in the midst of the night. Some find it after the second bottle of wine, some after a nervous breakdown, others during a breakup, but more often than not, it is there in the simplest and smallest of things, waiting to be noticed.

Parker was a quite boy. He was the smartest in his class all through college. He grew up to become a charming young successful professional, and career-wise he had a lot of potential. He lived up to and beyond the expectations of his superiors and everyone praised the fantastic work he did.

Then he went home.

He went home to an empty house. Not even the cat would stay there because it was so cold, as he was at work all day. He ordered in food or picked it up on the way home, never having the time or energy to cook something on his own. He was in a town where there was nothing much to do either and all his college friends where someplace else. He was the only one who had returned to his hometown. And he disliked this, more than he hated the burnt mushrooms on his pizza.

Parker’s life had become nothing more than work and home. And although he enjoyed the flexibility of sometimes working from home, he chose not to. Because no matter how many electronic messages he exchanged with tens of colleagues, not leaving the house meant he had absolutely no physical contact with anyone. Not even the aforementioned cat. The isolation he already had was more than enough.

His job was that of a copywriter. And that did not mean copying other people’s writing. It meant coming up with inspiring and unique ideas that could be used in, for example, advertising a company or product. And Parker was great at that. He had a creative mind, mainly because he dreamt a lot, and could find inspiration in the slightest of things. To him doing this was as easy as breathing. Until it stopped. Being easy that is.

Because it hit him.

It came when he least expected it. It was triggered by the tiredness, the spying on others through their social media accounts, the exasperation of being stuck here when everyone else was seemingly living their lives and doing the things he wanted to do, the not having anyone to follow away, the not being able to fully indulge in a head-over-heels love affair, the simple realization that he had not accomplished half the things he had dreamt of doing by now.

That is when the meltdown hit him. And it struck hard. This time was worse than when he finished college and didn’t know what to do. It was worse than running out of Nutella at midnight on a weekday while studying for a midterm, and even worse than the sobbing that ensues a depressing Gilmore Girls episode. This time it was painful. Because, this time Parker did not want to do anything. At all. He did not leave his home for two weeks, at least. The cat was forced to come over and see if he still existed.

And that is when he realized he would do something to change things. Because he realized that even his cat had moved on, when he saw that someone else had put a collar on it. That was the trigger to get up and do something.

He packed up a suitcase and left.

He would go to the airport and fly out on the first attractive destination he would find. He saw it done in movies so many times. Thinking practical and realistic all this time never got him anywhere anyway, so why not take a risk?

He would start afresh somewhere new. All he had to do was accept the challenge. And he was more than ready to do so.

What point was there anyway to keep on dreaming, if he would never even try to accomplish them? Otherwise, they would just remain that. Dreams. Unfulfilled.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: All Grown Up

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