MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the month “June, 2016”

The question

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-2DR09KdLUeA/UJzJNw_9YWI/AAAAAAAAGlA/7df7bqIK9kY/s1600/clouds-with-green-nature.jpgIt is truly strange how one question can affect your entire life in ways you can’t even predict. How it can not only change your present, but may alter your future and any expectations for it that you may have had. What is most astonishing is the fact that it may very well be a question that had never crossed your mind before.

Jeremy lay in a hospital bed for the past five hours. He was connected to a machine that helped him maintain a stable breathing rate, supplying him with enough oxygen. His right hand had a long needle taped into it through which serum dripped into his blood vessels. The room was as silent as a temple. Outside the window, a green forest was shielding the stress and clamour of the nearby city. He lay still, to the extent that if you didn’t notice his chest move up and down, you wouldn’t know if he was even breathing.

His body was frail, full of scars and burns. He was lucky to be alive, but he did not know it. His head was wrapped in layers of white bandage, giving him the appearance of an Egyptian mummy. Yet, Jeremy lay there still and calm, as if nothing of what he had just survived had ever happened.

What he did not know, however, was what exactly did happen.

He opened his eyes exactly five hours and twenty-two minutes after he was intubated in that sanatorium.

Standing above his bed was a man sporting a very noble appearance in an elegant grey suit, with a cleanly-cut brown beard, small round spectacles and short hair that betrayed a hint of gray if you looked hard enough. He was observing him, monitoring Jeremy’s every move and patiently waiting for something to happen.

Jeremy had never seen him before.

At least that was what he thought.

But he could be wrong.

Amnesia does that.

As the man spoke, his voice, coarse and deep, echoed across the room, reverberated against the empty white walls.

What are you doing here?

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Matching levels

http://www.letuspublish.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/xCute-friendship-wallpaper-download-1024x768.jpg.pagespeed.ic.qfuv0GACdr.jpgA wise old woman once told me that you should look to find someone who matches your level. It may sound simple, but as you mature and widen the perspectives through which you view the world, you realise that this is more difficult than it seems.

Every day we meet various people from different fields of social life. It depends on what we do and the circles within which we interact, but, regardless, if you look around you, you will see that we are surrounded by people from varying age groups, educational levels, social backgrounds, religious convictions, sexual orientations, financial prosperity, nutritional preferences, etc. What makes us get along better with some over others is, however, common habits and perceptions. Having similar viewpoints is something that would enable you to develop closer ties with certain people. It’s those who you choose to be your friends, your confidants, your partners. But, even with them, some times you need to compromise to resolve potential arguments in case your beliefs collide, and in order to maintain a harmonious relationship.

It is said that as you grow older you become more selective and ultimately more demanding with those you have next to you. You also tend to become more experienced, which in most case (should) mean that you are more knowledgeable of life itself.

Hence, the reason to seek out someone of your level.

Because you need someone on your side with whom you can discuss politics and current affairs, but also sports, technology, fashion, and celebrity gossip. You want to have the option of talking about everything and anything at any given time. It is the concept of having a broad education and being aware of what is going on in the world we live in. That is why you need someone who also shares this outlook.

You yearn for someone who can comprehend that when you say you haven’t slept because you were up all night covering a major ground-breaking news development, that means that you literally did not get any sleep and that is nowhere near the same as staying up at a party (yet getting at least 2-3 hours sleep in the early morning hours).  Someone who can see that when you’re on the verge of exhaustion, you – just like everyone – have your own way of reacting to it, wanting to be alone in tranquility and avoiding chatter. Someone who can actually understand that complex nature of what it is you do for a living and respect the difficulty it entails, despite the flexibility of the job. Someone, who will understand all of the above and try to assist you, even when you don’t ask for help.

We all want someone in our lives who we’ll call a friend, but will really be family. A home away from home when necessary. The person who’ll freely give out hugs or offer alcohol whenever needed. And the one who will know which occasion calls for which remedy accordingly.

But what we need most of all, is people surrounding us with whom you don’t need to lower your level to fit in. People with whom you’ll challenge each other to become better, smarter and more informed. That is how the world would change for the better. By pushing each other forward. Not the opposite.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Companion

Stirring an awe

http://d1bghp9m77ju8l.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Random-Acts-of-Kindness-349x218_c.jpgIs there anything in this world today that could cause your awe?

Audrey was shocked at the essay question laying before her. It certainly managed to prompt her into thinking hard and in that alone it was successful.

But was there truly anything in this 21st century that she could say still surprised or even shocked her?

In a period that has seen almost everything – from peaceful and violent revolutions, to deadly wars, to climate change, to drugs, sex and alcohol, to liberalism in every sense, to more rights for all, to the rise of various communities, to technological advancements beyond belief, and to space explorations, what would you say continues to amaze you?

Audrey wrote down one word.

Humanity”.

And explained: Precisely in this period that has seen it all, discovering that people still retain some form of humanity and emotion inside of them is what would cause my awe. Seeing that they care for those who can do nothing for them in return – animals, paupers, homeless people. Witnessing random acts of kindness that occur out of the goodness of people’s heart, without anticipating any favours in exchange. Small gestures that may brighten up someone’s day: allowing someone to pass in front of you in the supermarket queue if they only  have a couple of items to pay; smiling and saying ‘goodmorning’ and ‘have a nice day’ while serving; offering a glass of cold water on a hot day.

This is what would cause an awe, because at a time when we have become so used to having it all, we have become so accustomed to losing ourselves in the process, together with the little things that truly matter.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Awe

A preemptive apology

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-kYK1Euo8dgk/UPZiUC8dZoI/AAAAAAAAGj4/VUOPHLDqpMU/w800-h800/coco.jpgIt is a fact that you moan when you’re tired. And you get grumpy. And easily irritated. And all of a sudden very emotional.

Being tired is like being drunk. You shift into alternate emotions so rapidly that the person next to you has no time to realise what hit them.

It’s also like being hungry: like that Snickers ad campaign states, “you’re not you when you’re hungry”.

If you’re a woman during a certain time of the month, that simply accentuates the problem. Add the heat and your patience has just run out.

Our fast life rhythms keep us alert perhaps far more than we can cope with. Because sometimes, you need time off everything to re-instate order in your life and make your affairs manageable again.

We all pass through periods of (extreme) exhaustion. It happens, because we want to believe that we can handle more than we truly can. And often because we don’t see the tiredness setting in until our organism itself begins to protest. That is when it strikes you. And that is when you begin to moan. To become irritable, stretching that vein in your head that is ready to pop whenever you reach your limits either of yelling or of tension.

The meltdown / outburst is usually short-lived but long-felt. It is a time when you easily blurb out things you don’t mean, that you shouldn’t say in the first place, but which you do because the exhaustion has drained out the best of you. You quickly regret it all and a feeling of remorse sets in quicker than a brain freeze. You are able to calm down within minutes after the explosion, trying to explain to those around you that you are just not you when you’re tired.

So, for all those instances that this has happened – and it is repeated quite a lot lately for the obvious reasons already stated – I want to apologise. I am sorry I yell so easily, shrieking my little vein off, and jumping at the slightest of remarks. I am sorry that I have allowed myself to reach the verge of exhaustion to the extent that I cannot think clearly or rationally at times, becoming all the more annoyed if people follow a different trail of thought. And I am sorry if my breakdowns end up pushing you away, when in reality all I really need is a warm embrace and the encouragement that everything will be alright. Just like with everything in life, it all passes.

“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles” – Charlie Chaplin

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Apology

Healthy Summer Food

Summer foodIt is quite difficult in those scorching summer months to find something light yet filling to eat and satisfy your taste buds. Because under the heat and the need to simply relax and do as little as possible, cooking becomes one of our lesser-thought-of chores. It is during the summer, though, that we re-consider our nutrition choices and re-instate the determination to eat healthy.

The summer months have the added value of offering a wide range of succulent and ripe fruit and vegetables, which we can use in all sorts of combinations and recipes, with exquisite results.

This is when being a vegetarian pays off, because of the abundance of options broadly available.

Take for example this all-natural recipe (photo): potatoes, aubergines and courgettes, cut in thin layers and lightly cooked, placed below a layer of slowly-cooked natural tomato purée. Best served with feta cheese and fresh bread.

But why would your choice of nutrition have to be seen as a handicap? Why is it that in some places, when you say you don’t eat meat, you are treated as someone who is picky, quirky and fussy? Why is it that when you ask for a “special meal”, due to your vegetarian needs – whatever reason these may come by – you are suddenly presented with some water-boiled vegetables, as if that is the only thing that may be available to your “demanding requirements”?

It is actually not very difficult to cook up food that can suit everyone’s dietary needs. All it takes is some imagination and some compromise. By accommodating nutritional preferences, it would also demonstrate respect for people’s options and choices.

It may be a small thing, but such issues open up even bigger ones, underlining the need to relish in the passions we share, as well as accept the differences that characterize us.

We all have different levels of intelligence, perspectives, tolerance, and patience. And it is true that nobody is perfect, but in our own little ways, we all to some extent can touch upon our own version of perfection.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Perfection

No news is not a fact

https://fcmalby.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/latest-news-headlines.jpgYou know that feeling when you go to bed at night at a decent hour, tired but satisfied with what you’ve accomplished, and then wake up the next morning refreshed and ready to actively engage in a full day ahead? Could you describe what that feels like please? Because in our hectic lives, this all sounds like a luxury. Being able to go to sleep early and wake up having adequately rested.

These current times are interesting in many ways – in the fact that revolutionary movements spur to life, that innovations succeed one another faster than you realise, that societies strive to become more open-minded, that politics reveals just how dirty a game it can be, and terrorism overshadows the entire globe. Everything seems to evolve so rapidly that you sleep-in for a few hours more, and wake up feeling you lost an entire year due to all the things that have happened: violent massacres, gruesome juvenile crimes, train accidents, lost airplanes, mass shootings, explosions, financial crises, political elections, the emergence of radical movements, and so much more than you could ever imagine.

We have reached such a point that when we read fewer than five items of news per day, we begin to worry that we missed something. It’s that feeling when all of a sudden your heart begins to pump faster and anxiety overwhelms you, because you are almost certain there is something you didn’t see or you haven’t heard of. It’s like the restless calm before the storm; when you know that the next day will definitely contain a shower of news headlines to compensate the fewer ones the day before.

But all of this is exhausting. Not only for people who have to cover the news. But for everyone who reads and listens to it. It is physically and mentally stressful to hear all this negativity span our lives. To constantly add to the stress of contemporary living and to know that things will hardly get any better.

So how do you manage this situation? Probably in the only way you can: with a nap whenever possible. Because you may feel strong and able, but after a while, your organism itself will begin to call on you – through headaches that turn into migraines, upset stomach, and drowsiness – sounding an internal alarm that you need to slow down, rest and maybe even hit pause. The news will happen whether you chase it or not. And unless you have some kind of superpower, there is little you can do to change that.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Struggle

Knowing the mountain

http://www.wallpaperup.com/156976/forest_trees_landscape_house_mountains_autumn_fog.htmlHow much do you really know a person? How much can you truly say you understand about them from the few (or even many) hours you spend with them? Can you comprehend the flicker of their eyes when they’re stressed? Or the jolting of their hands when under pressure? Can you tell if they are smiling because they’re genuinely happy or because they’re trying to conceal a sadness unbeknownst to others? Can you ever grasp where their thoughts are travelling to when they gaze blankly into space, uttering that everything is fine?

We meet so many people during the course of our lives. People we run into by accident and never see again. People who stay and become family. People who pass through enriching our experiences and bequeathing us with lessons that help us mature and move forward. But how many of those people can you truly claim to know? To comprehend who they are, even beyond what they tell you? To realise what it is they are saying without them voicing it? How many of those people can you identify with so deeply that you are certain you’re part of their lives?

Introverts, they say, feel more comfortable closing up in their own shell at times. But that is often when they need someone the most. Someone they don’t really need to talk to, drawing comfort from the fact that there is just someone there, who (shows s/he) cares. That doesn’t necessarily only apply to introverts, though. All people need some time alone. But we all need the reassurance that someone is quietly looking out for us and worrying when we’re not OK.

The key to understanding people is noticing the little things they do. Those small gestures that betray some minor, yet significant, trait of their character. How people play with their hair or fiddle when they’re nervous. How their eyes sparkle when they’re happy. How their voice changes according to the emotion. How they can rejoice with the tiniest of things that make them feel special. How they are fighting an identity crisis on the inside but are seemingly invincible and fearless on the outside. How even the most certain and outgoing people have a part of them that is fearful and in need of encouragement.

You may live with people your entire life and never truly know them. It is like residing in the mountain valley and never climbing the steep path to the top. It may take effort, but the result will justify you in more ways you can imagine.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Mountain

Determined to succeed

https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/378800000386057424/700b2ca43fd3ddec52c8adb98e8f7f8d_400x400.jpegIt takes a lot to wake up in the morning with a goal in mind. Heck, it sometimes takes great effort simply to get up in the morning, let alone set targets to achieve.

Albert knew it well. He battled his bedcovers every day for at least fifteen minutes, before he garnered the willpower to get out of bed.

The day usually proceeded smoothly after that – well, after a couple of hours, a good breakfast, strong coffee and a very slow easing into the day’s workload. But at the end of the day, he would also return to his bed satisfied with what he had achieved. He was a person who believed that you had to manage to do something that pleases you each day. Be it mastering something outside your comfort zone, perfecting a skill you already have, or simply expanding your horizons. Either way, 24 hours were enough to make you do something that would lift your spirits.

But there were days when even Albert could simply not get out of bed. Those days when he just wanted to be lazy and stay under the covers, hoping everything would disappear and he would continue to live in that hazy world he was dreaming of.

It was exactly those days, however, when his grandfather’s words sprung to mind, like Yoda appearing to instruct a young Jedi: “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination. You can’t expect to accomplish something without putting some effort into it. The secret to achieving success, is not that because you are destined for it, but because you are determined to. Because in order to make those dreams a reality, you need to replace excuses with effort, swap laziness with determination, and be able to self-discipline yourself. Everything else will fall into place. Having determination is harder than it sounds. It is not enough to say that you’ll do something. The hard thing is to do what needs to be done, even when you don’t feel like doing it. You see, you can always find inspiration from others, but determination, that is solely your responsibility.

That would usually be enough for Albert to jump out of bed and not let another day go wasted. Even if it would be spent simply sitting on the couch and thinking about nothing and everything, he would be satisfied that at least he did something that calmed him and restored his mental balance. The next day he would be ready to conquer the world. At least the one he had constructed in his mind.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving” – Albert Einstein

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Purpose

The benefits of expecting nothing

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/271/19556344430_40ee1d3f10_b.jpgSurprises are beautiful because they come without waiting for them. Without expecting them to happen. And that often augments that wonderful feeling of euphoria that overwhelms you when you realise that sometimes what you are looking for comes when you’re not looking at all.

The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us” (Ashley Montagu).

It is like when we were children and out of the blue received small presents, simply for acing a test, or because there was a toy on offer, or because we hadn’t seen a particular relative for some time. Remember how excited you got then? From those little drops of unexpected happiness that got you active for hours, if not days?

There is a saying that happiness sneaks in through a door that you did not even know was open.

From impromptu decisions you may take, which may later affect your life in greater ways than you may have ever imagined. In simply allowing yourself to take a chance and try something different. In living every day as it comes, fully and deeply.

Sometimes it is indeed better not to expect things to happen. Because it’s better to feel surprised than disappointed. And in the end, it is the unexpected that changes our lives.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Childhood

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