MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the month “October, 2017”

A Platanus of history

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©MCD

There is a quote that says, “imagine if trees gave free WiFi; we’d all be planting like crazy. Too bad they only produce the oxygen we breathe”.

Trees are more important and vital for our lives than we believe or even give them credit for. They contribute to their environment by providing oxygen, improving air quality, climate amelioration, conserving water, preserving soil, and supporting wildlife. They produce the wood we use to light our fireplaces in the winter, make our furniture, even the paper we write on. Yet, we cut them down without second thoughts.

It is no wonder then, that when we come across a tree that is centuries old we treat it as a wonder of nature. We stand before it dumbfounded, gazing at this stupendous sight. And it makes you truly feel small and insignificant.

There is a place in North Evia, Greece, somewhere along that nature-blazing road that has you driving among trees, on your way towards the Kyreas River, in between the villages of Prokopi and Mantoudi. There is this place where a sign will direct you to the “Great Platanus”. A plane tree that residents will tell you has been there for centuries. It is “a tree of huge dimensions”, as the sign reads, a “monument of nature”. A Platanus Orientalis. It is 22-23 metres tall, with its trunk’s circumference reaching 18 metres, its trunk diameter at 5.5 metres, the surface of its stem at 900 square metres, and its shadow said to be once stretching over 2.5 acres. Its age is estimated at 500-600 years, although some say that it exceeds 2,300 years! It is said that this is the most ancient Platanus in the Balkans, perhaps even the whole of Europe.

20171028_133927Its tree trunks are larger than what can fit in your wide-open arms. It stands imposing before you and, even though lacking in foliage and somewhat deserted and with broken branches, the vastness of this tree is not diminished. Rather, it is a refreshing site in a world full of asbestos and tar. There is also a huge hollow in its trunk, big enough for 10 or more people standing. In it, you suddenly forget all the problems that trouble your head daily. You take a deep breath and simply be grateful for being alive. For being there. And for being able to witness this. Just think about all the changes this tree may have witnessed. It was there before you and will probably remain so even after you.

20171028_133932As with all over-aged creatures, there are myths and legends surrounding this tree. For example, it is said that if someone falls asleep in its hollow, they will fall ill or harm will come to them, as goblins will come out and cast a spell on them. In another legend, if you are found at midnight under the tree, you will hear voices, music, violins and clarinets, and see fairies and goblins appear dancing at the shores of the river. In yet another, it is said that at midnight two large rams come out of the platanus and start noisily fighting each other. This tree is often associated with fairies and goblins as it was believed that, being over-aged, it was also haunted.

No matter the stories, however, the reality remains that this, like so many others, is part of our natural heritage and should be protected and preserved. We devote so much of our time, energy and funds to things that matter less, yet we abandon those that benefit us more.

N.B. All photos are mine, taken in North Evia, Greece, on 28 October 2017.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Gratitude

 

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Those who mean no harm

petsThey are those you know will never let you down. With whom it is enough simply to look into their eyes and feel all your troubles disappearing. They are those who, no matter how badly they treat you, will always come back with double the love than before. Because they mean no harm and they love you unconditionally.

Having a small animal around – a pet – is good for the soul. Because it relaxes you like nothing else and it calms you down. Simply by witnessing the – sometimes ridiculous – levels of happiness and excitement these creatures can show, is soothing. And it is in those things that make your mind wander that you can find calm.

Even if one of them scratches, bites, hisses, at you, it won’t last long. Because it didn’t really mean to and you know it. In fact, you might have even provoked it yourself. Your fights don’t last because they don’t matter. And you know that the love and care you both share is much stronger than any spat.

An animal is perhaps the only creature that can make you forget every torment the minute you see it wagging its tail and jumping with joy at the mere sight of you. They are the ones who teach us that as humans we worry too much, we overthink things excessively and we hurt each other more than necessary. We don’t exploit our ability to feel deeply and act with kindness. Instead, we allow our selfishness to get the worst of us and in the end we break relationships that once mattered.

Animals aren’t like that. They love unconditionally and their anger doesn’t last long. There are more important things in this world than clinging onto stubbornness. If humans too could be more like these small animals, wouldn’t life be so much easier?

Master your days

http://lemerg.com/967936.htmlEvery day is a new opportunity. You’ve heard it before. But you know it is true. Because you wake up each day having a new target in sight. At least you should. And you don’t know how much you’ll manage to accomplish, to achieve, to fight, to tolerate, and to accept, until the moment you re-think you’re entire day when you return to bed that night.

Every day teaches us to be stronger. It makes us see that we are worthy and capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. That if we set our minds to it, we can “move mountains”. We are richer in more ways than we acknowledge. And if we read a little bit more, open our eyes a bit wider and allow our minds to broaden, we will find that enlightenment will sweep its way into making our lives better.

Every day we realise that we need to constantly improve. That we won’t always receive what we give; not even what we expect. We see that we’re not always surrounded by people who want our best. In fact, there are so many hypocrites around us, filled with jealousy and envy. Everyone we meet is there for a reason. Those scornful of us are to prove that we are doing something right, being better than them. Life has a way of providing lessons, either through the people we meet or through the situations we face.

Every day is a journey. To find out how much further we can travel. How much better we can be. How stronger, kinder, braver.

Every day is a chance to make life better. Don’t waste it.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Enlighten

A perennial embrace

tree-sandra-crook

©Sandra Crook

The last time she had been there she had climbed up its branches and hidden among its leaves, hoping the world would pass her by. As a young girl, she would always seek refuge there. The huge tree seemed sturdy enough to offer her the security she lacked at home. She would run away and hide there; but she would soon be found and had to return.

Until the moment she simply ran away from the town itself.

Now, years later, that tree was the only fond memory she had of her childhood. The only thing that offered her comfort.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

The world and a star

https://www.dhresource.com/0x0/f2/albu/g4/M01/B1/40/rBVaEVb_gaWAKHKHAADUsZQWqqQ077.jpgThe footsteps in the snow were still there when he woke. It was the last thing she left him when she slammed the door the night before.

She was tired of fighting. She was tired of the sudden mood swings. She was exhausted that every time everything seemed almost perfect, something – the tiniest glitch – would come along to ruin it all.

And it was usually an action incited by another person.

With Harry’s consent.

Of course.

Because Bertha knew well that if he had not wanted it to happen, he could simply say no. He could set his limits. He could actually show his girlfriend that he respected her. That he heard her when she told him repeatedly that she was bothered by certain behaviour. That he was loyal to her alone. Things, that if were the other way round, Harry would not have reacted so calmly or tolerate it all.

Bertha tried to be the bigger person.

But sometimes, even the strongest people break too.

Because all a person truly wants, is the certainty that the person they love will choose them over everyone else, under any circumstance.

She gave him a choice.  She shouldn’t have had to.

But he did not choose her.

She threw away the balloons and the present she was to give him during the surprise party she had organised for him the next day.

It didn’t matter now.

He had not chosen her.

He had placed everything else above what she thought was something that would last through hail and storm.

She would have given him the world. But he was too stubborn to even give her a star.

 

When you love a woman
You tell her that she’s really wanted
When you love a woman you tell her that she’s the one…”
                                                   (Have you ever really loved a woman – Bryan Adams)

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Loyal

A monk’s enlightenment

Monk-who-sold-his-Ferrari-cover CROPImagine if one of the most successful people you knew suddenly disappeared. Now imagine that months, maybe even years, later he showed up at your door completely changed. Imagine if he told you that he had sold all of his material possessions and had sought a life of passion, purpose and peace among the most enlightened monks of our time. Wouldn’t you be intrigued to listen to what he had to say?

Robin Sharma manages to grasp your attention in The Monk who sold his Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams & Reaching Your Destiny”. It is a book that makes you think, makes you re-consider certain things in life and above all inspires you to do things differently.

It makes you realise that the time to live is now, that we need to simplify our lives, to clear our minds of negative thoughts, to focus on the positive, and take risks in order to be able to truly fulfil the potential that is dormant inside of us.

Here are some of the most noteworthy quotes:

  • A person’s life can be summarised in certain key moments, which for everyone are the most important and crucial, the ones that mark their very existence.
  • Everyone has inside them reserves of life, more than we ever dreamt of.
  • Everything is created twice; first in the mind and then in reality.
  • We are the creators of our thoughts.
  • During a normal day, around 60,000 thoughts pass through the mind of an average person; 95% of these are the same ones that troubled his/her mind the previous day. Most of them are negative. Instead of focusing on all the good we enjoy in life and all the positive we can aspire to do, we cling on to things that happened in the past, trying to find justifications and reasons to explain our actions. We wither in our thoughts and hinder our mind from fulfilling its true potential of creating magic and realising all the things we dream of. Being able to properly manage your thoughts is key in managing your entire life.
  • You truly cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought – not even one.
  • When one door closes, another opens. But we often look so regretfully upon the closed door that we fail to see the one that has opened for us.
  • The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your thoughts.
  • You need to empty your mind of negative thoughts to allow the positive ones to enter. You can’t fill a glass if it is already full.
  • The images you create in your fantasy affect the very image you have of yourself.
  • You need not change your world in a day. Start off small. The thousand-mile journey begins by taking that first step. We grow great by degrees. Small daily steps lead to stunning results over time.
  • Develop a lust for learning. Read regularly. Reading for 30 minutes a day will do wonders for you. Do not read just anything. Be very selective about what you put into the garden of your mind. It must be immensely nourishing. Make it something that will improve both you and the quality of your life. Something that will inspire and elevate you.
  • It’s not what you will get out of the books that is so enriching – it is what the books will get out of you that will ultimately change your life…Books will allow you to see what is already inside of you.
  • A burning sense of passion is the most potent fuel for your dreams.
  • Failure is not having the courage to try, nothing more and nothing less.
  • Fear is nothing more than a mental monster you have created, a negative stream of consciousness.
  • The only limits on your life are the ones you set yourself.
  • All progress comes from unreasonable people, people who follow their hearts and the instructions of their consciences rather than the commands of the crowd. All progress has come from risk-takers and men and women who were willing to visit the places that scared them. Greatness arrives once you refuse to buy into what others see as impossible.
  • There are no mistakes in life; only lessons. There is no such thing as a negative experience, only opportunities to grow, learn and advance along the road of self-mastery.
  • Being able to master your time means that you are able to master your life.
  • In order to awaken your best life, it’s important that you “die while you are alive.” Most people live as if they have all the time in the world. They wish they had more time in their days and yet they waste the time they have. They put off living until some event in the future occurs. In order to awaken to your best life, every day should be lived as if it were your last day on the planet.
  • It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is what are you so busy about?
  • Never postpone the life you can live today.
     
  • We live in an age when we have forgotten what life is all about.
  • The purpose of life is a life of purpose.
  • Decide to be brilliant at what you do. And in how you live.
  • Life has bigger plans for you than you can possibly know.
  • Never forget the importance of living with unbridled exhilaration. Never neglect to see the exquisite beauty in all living things. Today, and this very moment, is a gift. Stay focused on your purpose. The Universe will take care of everything else.
  • Be patient and live with the knowledge that all you are searching for is certain to come if you prepare for it and expect it.
  • Life doesn’t always give you what you ask for, but it always gives you what you need.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Enlighten

In search of treasures

http://www.treasure-hunt-ideas.co.uk/site/siteImages/bg.jpgSantiago was in search of a treasure. Like all people, he was trying to find his place in this world. He read a lot and tried to travel even more. He longed to find where he belonged and what his purpose was. He was certain he had something exceptional to do.

But not every treasure is silver and gold. It took him a while to realise it.

For after travelling for years alone through sun, rain and snow, in lands that where not so welcoming, meeting all sorts of persons and seeing things he never even dreamt of, all he finally looked forward to was returning home. To a home that would be surrounded by the person who had stolen his heart from the very first time they set eyes on each other. Because life has a strange way of sending us signs for things that should happen. Falling in love is one of the strongest ones. And if you’re strong enough to fight for it, you are bound to find something amazing.

Santiago acknowledged after years of searching that his treasure was not material things. It was the knowledge and experience he had accumulated during his travels. It was the way his mind opened up and his spirit liberated. It was the push he felt inside him to constantly evolve, to want to become better for himself and those around him. It was the urge to become the exceptional person he believed he could be.

Treasures are first and foremost located in our hearts. We just need to first open our minds and souls to realise it.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Exceptional

Take a breath of life

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BuY3ZuxIEAAVFHC.jpgTake a deep breath. Slowly. Inhale and feel the air enter your lungs and fill your insides. Close your eyes. Now exhale. Free your mind of your thoughts. Allow yourself to be conscious of what you’re doing: you’re not just breathing. You are being alive.

Now do something more. Don’t just exist. Try to live.

You don’t need to worry so much about everything. Life has a way of making everything work out. Some way or another everything will fall into place.

And remember, smile. It’s the prettiest thing you can wear, and it’s contagious.

You’ll always be hit by negativity – from the people surrounding you to events that affect you. But you need to train your mind to see the positive behind it all, or rather despite it all. Don’t allow a little negativity to stop you from seeing all the good that’s around you.

Happiness, they say, comes from inside you. You just need to find the motive to bring it out.

It’s all a matter of choice. Just like the quality of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.

So breathe.

Believe that better things are coming.

Breathe.

Everything will be all right.

Circle of light

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©Ted Strutz

She loved full moons. She believed they represented completeness. And that light they emanated in the darkness was truly a remarkable sight. Plus, they never seemed to be the same: they differed according to your location.

Ever since the start of their relationship, he had always tried to make those full moon nights special.

Even now, fifty years later, he would still try to surprise her. And she somehow always was impressed.

This night he had rented a yacht in the marina they used to go for walks.

A candlelight dinner, staring blissfully at another circle of light. Love revived.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

The run on a Monday

http://combesetcretes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/072282f3-6d65-4182-8ec1-8d9e63dad0a3.jpegLike most people, Isaac disliked Mondays. It wasn’t really because something dreadful happened on this day, but because he associated it with the fact that a new week full of responsibilities and duties began, taking him away from his loved one and forcing him to better manage his time. Often he failed to see that it was the start of a week where wonderful things were waiting to happen. Positive thinking is always a crucial factor.

This Monday, however, Isaac was also troubled by something else. He wanted to move things on with his girlfriend but the time just didn’t seem right, and lately she too appeared distant, as if something was holding her back. He just didn’t see what.

They were running partners. That’s how they first met; while trying to run away from their troubles, they ran into each other. And they became more than friends. Running was a hobby they did together. And they didn’t always have to talk while at it. That was the best part about their relationship. They were comfortable even in each other’s silence.

Alyssa, on her part, always found Mondays to be the start of a week when everything should be put into place. It was the day to organise everything, but by midday she often allowed herself to be overtaken by the melancholy of the season – whatever that was. Right now, it was the autumn blues.

Lately she had invested all of her energy and excitement into a race she and Isaac had participated in. But now it seemed that the wheel of emotions had once again turned and she felt somehow depressed, not really knowing why. It was the time when her thoughts muddled her mind, depriving her of sleep or even some hint of serenity.

She put on her running shoes and went out the door without thinking about it too much. She would just run. It didn’t matter where or for how long. All she needed was to feel better.

Lost in her thoughts she acknowledged she was upset. At a time of emergency a few days ago, Isaac did not turn to her first; but rather to some other friends and relatives. He preferred to give them access to his home, despite the fact that it was Alyssa who spent a lot of time there, sometimes even more than Isaac himself, and it was she who helped him with household chores when necessary. Yet, he bypassed her and thought nothing of it. To him it wasn’t as important as it was for her. She felt hurt. But how do you discuss a controversial matter without leading to a fight?

She began running faster, her heart now beating into her chest.

Her shoes ran over the fallen yellow-brown leaves, the crackling sound being the only thing that she could hear, apart from her very loud thoughts.

Suddenly she could feel someone behind her. He was running up to her, almost chasing her. She turned around without stopping and was surprised.

It was Isaac. He had found her, even though she never told him where she was. He smiled and caught on her tempo.

Perhaps it was a sign that he would finally open his eyes as much as he opened his lungs to breathe in more oxygen. That’s what she truly needed: for him to comprehend even the things she didn’t say. It was difficult, but in essence, the things we fail to do are not the ones that are impossible, but the ones for which we do not try hard enough.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Athletic

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