MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the month “October, 2018”

The language of communication

language-barrierIt’s a strange feeling not being able to communicate due to language barriers. It’s something like feeling helpless and incompetent; as if somehow you are found wanting in certain circumstances. However, this is not always your fault.

Barry found himself abroad on his first trip in years. He had finally overcome his fear of flying – as much as possible to be able to take a quick trip to the neighbouring country he had heard so much about. The target was to relax and get away for a couple of days. To regroup and return stronger and rejuvenated.

But instead… the opposite occurred.

There are some people who see it as a matter of nationalistic pride to refuse to speak in a language other than their own. No matter how much their economy needs tourists, they do not seem to care to put on a smiling face or to even demonstrate the minimum amount of courtesy. In their view, they are not paid enough to serve others. At least not the way they should – politely and brightly. They see foreigners as intruders that come to disrupt their own routine and who inconveniently what things done differently. So many even refuse to speak to them in a language different than their own, one that is universally understandable.

Barry had never faced a similar situation before. In the seven languages he spoke, he always had one way or another to talk to almost every one he met. But here, everything was different. It was almost a stubbornness, a not wanting to communicate. They spoke in their language and their interlocutor could simply sense the tone. Or see the gesture. S/He would get the point sooner or later.

Barry felt unwanted. It was very bad to feel so inhospitable in a country you invested money into going. You were injecting cash into their economy, the least they could do was show they appreciated it.

In the end, relaxing was not as much as trying to remain calm. The best he could do was acknowledge that he was not going to be the one to alter an entire mentality or culture. Being upset about things you can’t change won’t help. All you can do is decline to fall to their level, and maintain your own dignity.

 

The luck of a four-legged friend

©MCD - Tiger2018

©MCD

Everything happens for a reason, they say. Some say it is usually the reason you want to believe they happen.

When you come to think of it though, it’s the smallest of things that make the greatest impact on your life. The simplest of gestures, a few words of kindness, the smallest of beings.

For this latter, it is strange how – if you are an animal lover – your whole being lights up at the mere sight of one. Your mood instantly changes. As if you suddenly realise how trivial everything else is. Like Schopenhauer said: “Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character; and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man”. In a similar light, Anatole France stated, “until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remain un-awakened”.

The best part of having a pet as a companion, a roommate and a friend is that you will receive twice-fold (or more) the love you offer it. If you are as lucky as to have a four-legged creature in your home and your life, you will know what it is to find joy at the simplest of things, how to relax by merely a pet or a hug, how the warmth of a purr can take away all your stress, and how to love unconditionally.

It is only when that love that taught you about life is lost that you fully comprehend its importance. It is that unbearable void that is left behind upon a pet’s departure that makes you acknowledge how lucky you are to have been a part of their life and to have had the honour to have them choose you as their partner during their brief passage from this earth.

We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals” – Immanuel Kant

Our purpose in life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them” – Dalai Lama

Pets are bundles of love wrapped in fur”

Seeking courtesy

http://www.hemantlodha.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Honestly-Be-Polite-62.jpgCommon courtesy – the act of being polite in even the meaningless of situations – is a trait we all have, yet very few choose to use. Take for example any phone call you make to any service, public or private. Or every time you walk into a store or an office seeking assistance. You are almost always left wondering if people simply like to be rude. If it is innate or if it comes to them more naturally than simply being kind or, at the least, fundamentally polite.

Nothing is ever lost by courtesy. It is the cheapest of pleasures, costs nothing and conveys much” (Erastus Wiman).

There is a saying that “courtesy is simply doing unto others what you would like them to do unto you”. Yet it all comes down to one simple thing: upbringing.

Our behaviour is an aspect that we obtain first by mimicking and then by observing and repeating what we see around us. It is a reflection of what we are taught and how we are raised. Of what our society and culture represent. Hence, having manners and being polite is something that makes us shine, to put it simply. The opposite easily places us on someone’s list to avoid.

Being well-mannered does not cost much. Just turn the frown into a smile and say a kind word. What you will get in return will be gratification alone. And everyone will be left in a happier mood. Isn’t that worth it?

“Politeness is a sign of dignity, not subservience” (Theodore Roosevelt).

The trickling of drops

©MCD_IMG_20181021_131902

©MCD

Parks – all kind of them: theme parks, amusement parks etc. – all have something that always catches your eye, to the extent that you are left staring mesmerised: water fountains. They have often huge areas where water sprinkles in various shapes, forms, rhythms and intensity, resulting in a spectacle that thrills and excites.

Water is the source of life. 90% of our body weight comes from water. More specifically, 70% of the human body (and about 70% of Earth) is water, while it also comprises 31% of our bones.

We need water to survive. That’s how important it is.

Water is an integral part of our lives. Yet, it is constantly something that enthrals us: we love looking at water – in rivers, springs, lakes, seas – because it calms us down.

As this fascinating article explains, “The immeasurable sense of peace that we feel around water is what Wallace J. Nichols (a marine biologist) calls our “blue mind”—a chance to escape the hyper-connected, over-stimulated state of modern day life, in favor of a rare moment of solitude”.

Moreover, “More recent studies—including those out of a UK-based project called Blue Gym—have found that people who live near the coasts are generally healthier and happier. Other studies find that when shown photographs of natural green spaces, people’s stress levels drop, but the more blue spaces in the photos, the more people prefer them”.

Water is believed to be the most powerful force on earth: either calm or turbulent, its mood swings are something that captures even the most agitated spectator. Water relaxes us. It helps us unravel during our most neurotic of times, it is therapeutic to our moods and, thus, vital to our existence in more ways than we can imagine.

Counting life

http://aleurerblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/shades-of-life-Aleurer-Blog.jpgWe wake up looking at the clock. By the time we open our eyes, we’re already stressed that we might be late for something. Before we even realise what day it is or even where we are, we begin counting to see if we have time.

We spend most of our day like this. Calculating. Looking at the clock. Stressing.

Our heads are filled with perceptions about what needs to be done at what time. The fact that we might be late as per our age for some things adds more stress. The same if we are early. It seems that either going too slow or too fast in life is always frowned upon. Everyone will always have something to say. That’s just the way human nature is.

But we all have our own rhythms. And that is the pace we should live by.

Like Einstein said “not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that is counted truly counts”.

Powerfully stated by Jay Shetty in this short video to watch when pressure is mounting, you need “to be able to create meaningful, purposeful, fulfilling lives for yourselves and learn how to use that to make an impact and a difference on the lives of others. That would be true success”.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what other people say or think. All that matters is how you are.

The truth about memories

https://news.cnrs.fr/sites/default/files/styles/visuel_principal/public/assets/images/129714169-72dpi.jpg

In those moments when you stop and just listen to yourself breathe, what passes through your mind? In those instances when the answer to “what are you thinking” is sincerely “nothing”, what is it that occupies the images in your head?

Often, it is memories. Past experiences, feelings, sensations, things we lived, saw, said.

The truth about memories is that you choose to remember them. You select which ones you carry around with you.

They are usually the happy ones; the ones from your childhood playing carefree with your parents and siblings without any problems hovering above you. It’s those instances that are filled with heartfelt laughter and genuine love. True unconditional deep-down mind-blowing good times.

But there are also the painful ones. The memories that have scarred you. That have broken you and showed you that you are stronger than you then thought because you managed to heal and survive. They are the experiences that have irreparable placed their mark on you. The ones you’ve never truly overcome, either because you’ve not forgiven them or because the hurt serves as a reminder to always be cautious. They are the memories that feel like a punch in the stomach and a cringe in the heart every time they are recalled to mind. But they are too part of what shaped you.

Memories, either good or bad, are part of who we are. They are what cause us to become the personalities we are, with the mentalities we have, the thoughts we carry and the ideas we generate. They are what are responsible for our moods or mood swings, for our optimism or realism, for our cynicism, our hope, our despair, every aspect of what makes us….unique.

The catch, however, is to remember that these memories belong to the past. The present is there for you to create more memories, to live a life worth remembering in the future.

 

Set in stone

stone-house

©Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

It was part of their family heritage ever since her relatives remembered. But she was around to see it refurbished. The stone walls were whitened and reinforced and the interior completely renovated.

As a child, she pretended it was her castle and she was longing for her prince to come riding along on a white stallion.

Over the years, she stopped being so demanding though. He didn’t have to have a horse. And he didn’t have to be royal.

When she saw him approach, she realised that all that mattered was him being a decent person. And to love her.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Deciphering obscure objects

https://www.google.gr/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=imgres&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjn8a_wuPfdAhXD3KQKHR9mAx8QjRx6BAgBEAU&url=http%3A%2F%2Folhocurioso2015.blogspot.com%2F2015%2F10%2Fcomo-se-forma-neblina.html&psig=AOvVaw0xWhJTnB9Okhc0pQC7eV19&ust=1539108693186256Look at this. Look at it closely. What do you think it is?”

She showed him a picture of an object that was too unclear to decipher. It was oblong with sharp edges. It could be anything really. His mind began to race. The young boy had millions of images in his head as to what that object may be. They were bombarding him like fighter plane missiles.

Here’s the catch,” his teacher told him. “You only have two guesses. So make them count”.

The boy became even more agitated. Only two. The margin of error was too tight.

The object could be anything. How could he make sure he found the right answer?

In his head, he was putting together a jigsaw – placing his imaginary items onto the unknown object and assessing how far it matched.

It was a trial of imagination, of expectation, of prediction.

The task was to understand that very often in life, we imagine one thing, we expect another, we make it up in our heads to be that which we think it is, and in the end we end up disappointed when we find out it is something extremely different.

In the end we get hurt from our own expectations, when all we need to do is train ourselves to expect the lowest, even from the places and people we though the highest of.

Nature’s work

sandras-shells

© Sandra Crook

Look at the pretty seashells and corals over here”. The little girl approached the so-called “Nature Table” barely tall enough to look over it. She stared at the natural sponge, the hardened corals and the various sized- and shaped- seashells. She looked perplexed.

Under the water they look more alive”.

The museum guide suddenly felt helpless for words.

Well,” he began, desperately trying to say something positive.

Water is their natural habitat. But out here, we can observe them better, right?

Strange,” the little girl said.

Despite the waves and the water pressure look how pretty and strong they are”.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Cooking temptations

https://usateatsiptrip.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/gettyimages-887636042.jpg?w=1000&h=600&crop=1His father was the one who taught him to be patient and follow instructions. To risk in trying something new. To be creative, inventive and artistic in everything he did. He was the one who taught him how to cook.

His mother was an excellent cook. Her food was finger-licking tasty. But she was the “safe-type”, the one who preferred to follow instructions exactly as they were written with few if any deviations from the recipe. Like all women, she preferred order in her kitchen.

His father, on the other hand, had a mastery for cooking up his own recipes. He usually made a mess out of the kitchen, but prepared something spectacular in the end. He found that if something looked pleasant to the eye, it probably tasted good too. He was the “innovative chef”, the one who didn’t mind trying unprecedented procedures or cooking methods. Who preferred to get burnt and learn than to keep doing the same thing that was passed down to him. He was the one who wanted to have something new to pass on to the next generations.

So when Anton graduated from the top gastronomy school in the world, it was only natural that he would distinguish himself in the sector. A kitchen was more his home than his living room. He did not fear the blades of his knives or the fire of his stove. What he most anguished about what his most severe critic: his own future wife. For he knew that the best way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. And it was all down to the judgement of their taste buds to give the final verdict.

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