MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the month “October, 2020”

A battle of histrionics

He had been accustomed to tantrums since he was a child.

His histrionics were the key to getting his own way.

They continued as he got older.

People would give him what he wanted to simply stop the wailing.

Until she came along.

He had met his match.

Also part of Weekend Writing Prompt #181

Life secrets from a cat

Have you ever observed a cat? No, not just seen one, but actually studied how it behaves, its features and characteristics, its every move?

Cats are amazing creatures. There’s a reason they were worshipped as a deity and considered sacred in Ancient Egypt. They are free in every sense of the word. They have their own attitude, and are subject to no-one. Even though you think you own them as your pet, it is you who actually has the privilege of living with a cat. Cats choose who they’ll devote their attention to, when they would like to play, where they want to sleep and how much they feel like eating. Yet, they’ll be there for you whenever you need them, even when you don’t know you need someone, they’ll sit by you (or on you), transmitting their warmth and soothing purr, thus healing you. Cats are true friends.

That is why so much has been said about them. And even more can be learnt from them.

Stéphane Garnier learnt so much from living with a cat that he wrote two best-selling books on how to live and think like one. He acknowledges that cats are calm, observant, wise, elegant, charismatic and proud. In fact, he argues that they have found the secret of how we should all live, regardless of our species, and through his books, diffuses the knowledge drawn from cats into leading a better life.

Cats never give up. And that is perhaps the most important lesson of all.

They understand that fear serves no real purpose, and they believe in themselves and their power to achieve whatever they set their minds on.

They know how to be authentic, maintain their superiority at all times, and how to love themselves.

They can maintain their calm no matter what life (or anyone else) throws at them, are prudent and know how to have fun, even on their own.

They are kind-hearted, simple and communicate what they want.

They’ll forgive you and themselves too for making mistakes, accepting what has passed, while being well aware of how to pursue the lives they want.

Cats can teach us to respect the choices we – and others make – be it what we choose to eat, wear, occupy ourselves with, or believe. Everyone is free to make their own choices. We should respect and stand by them if this would lead us to tranquillity and happiness.

Above all though, cats appreciate how to love with all their hearts, because everything is temporary and we should enjoy every single breathing minute we have.

Perhaps our best life coach would be a cat. If only we too could be more like them.

The fall of an angel

What is it that I do so wrong?” she asked her godmother with a voice that was drowning out tears.

She didn’t know that somewhere else, he was wondering the same, but chose to keep it for himself, pretending everything was perfectly fine.

The godmother smiled and sighed. It was a question almost everyone had posed at least once in their lifetime. It usually came after a painful experience. When you elevated too high with euphoria and abruptly crashed to the ground, claiming you never saw the collision drawing near. It was after the fall of an angel.

You know, even the devil was once an angel. People don’t show their true face immediately. Some may feign so well that it takes a very long time to see through them – if ever”.

So we should just never trust anyone? Ever?” She sounded so innocent, so naïve.

You should tread cautiously, drawing lessons from your previous experience. But you should not shut down your heart and stop being you”.

There was silence. She was contemplating what that meant and how it could be achieved.

Even angels find their wings too heavy sometimes”, the godmother continued, aware that the angels’ allegory always worked. After all, she was the one who had imbued it on her.

Sometimes we need to fall to be able to look up. To take a wrong turn so that we eventually get to the right place. We need the darkness to see the stars. Just remember the lessons you learn on your journey through life. But most of all, accept that some things just happen because something greater is waiting for you. It wasn’t where you were meant to be. Stop thinking too much about it. You’ll be grateful you moved on later”.

And then she said this that served as a wake-up call:

We consume ourselves where we’re not meant to be and become blind to all that awaits us”.

Chasing a perfect life

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Do you ever wake up after a bad night’s sleep and you’re angry with the world and everything in it? There are certain moments during the day, week or month, when the slightest thing can make us snap and lose control. We need moments to alleviate the tension we’re building up inside by holding everything in so as to be ‘proper’ and sane. Or at least to appear to be calm and, well…’normal’. But what is normal, in a world that so forcefully tries to convince itself it is embracing difference, uniqueness and diversity?

People interpret words and circumstances differently. It is unavoidable. And it all comes down to how each of our minds functions.

We are so used to complaining and moaning about all the problems in our lives, most of which are created by our own negative thoughts. We fear of letting them go, of taking a risk and being happy, because we are unfamiliar with that sentiment. We have clenched such a strong grip on the unpleasantness in our lives that anything else seems too much of a leap into uncertainty.

It’s almost as if we persuade ourselves that this stance of misery is the norm. That this is how it should be and we inflict shame upon ourselves for not being someone else, for not being more or less of what we picture as an ideal, of what society illustrates as how people should be. And that shame brings numbness to every emotion. Because, as we try to block out our feelings of grief and embarrassment and irritation at not being perfect, we also numb those of joy, satisfaction and lightness. We refuse to accept our vulnerability, out of shame, and instead shut ourselves down from the inside, alienating everyone around us in the process.

In searching for meaning and purpose in our lives, we may turn to self-help. We think we can fix ourselves and be happy if we follow certain books of wisdom and guidance on how to live. It’s an industry worth $11 billion, but does it actually help? In her witty, poignant and inspiring book Help Me!, Marianne Power goes through a dozen self-help books in a quest for perfection and happiness. But she also goes through a breakdown – or ‘spiritual awakening’ – as she gets too close with the thoughts in her head. She discovers that humans have an innate need to love, be loved and belong, and rejection hurts because we rely on the approval of the group for our survival since our cave-men days. She notes that self-help creates “unrealistic standards about how great life should be, puts unrealistic pressure on yourself to change, and creates self-obsession”; but the more you try to improve who you are, the more you are aware of the flaws, and the more you chase happiness, the unhappier you become.

In “The Power of Now”, Eckhart Tolle reassures us that we all have a voice in our head, which is usually mean and talks us down. It is one that takes us away from the only thing that is real and will give us peace – being right here, right now. If we can quieten down the voice, we’ll realise we are perfectly happy in this very moment. And like British playwright Dennis Potter said: “We tend to forget that life can only be defined in the present tense”.

In her very inspiring TED speech, Brené Brown explores the depth and source of human connection, understanding vulnerability, feeling empathy and confronting shame. She explains that we’re all constantly afraid of not being good enough, with the underlying fear that we won’t be loved, and so we strive harder to be perfect. But instead of chasing perfection, she says we should be seeking connection, to empathise and understand each other, to talk honestly and openly about our fears, insecurities and doubts. “Healing comes from sharing your story with someone who is worthy of hearing it”, she states. “Connection is why we’re here; it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives”. And it all centres around this. For shame, is the fear of disconnection, of not being worthy enough; the “gremlin who says you’re not good enough”. But for connection to happen, we need to allow ourselves to truly be seen, to expose ourselves and be vulnerable. Those who achieve this are whole-hearted people, ones who are courageous enough to show their authentic selves (‘courage’, after all, derives from the Latin word ‘cor’=heart), who acknowledge they are imperfect and who demonstrate compassion by being kind to themselves first and then to others.

The path for a whole-hearted living, according to Dr. Brown’s research, is to be willing to let go of who we think we should be in order to be who we are. To be willing to plunge into something where there are no guarantees, to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out, to practice gratitude in times of terror, to believe we’re enough, and ultimately to simply stop controlling and predicting life and just…live it. She concludes that “joy comes to us in moments – ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary”.

And like Marianne Power eventually realizes – happiness depends on getting up in the morning and being a decent person. Or like her Irish mother, eloquently put it, just “do no harm”.

In the end, there is a truth that when we stop pursuing happiness and the ‘perfect’ life, we will encounter all that matters and we need.

Those mornings

©Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

It was mornings like those that made all the difference.

Laying out the table looking into the garden. Feeling the calmness infuse inside you. Happily joining forces to cook up breakfast and willingly decorating and serving it as if you’re up for a Michelin star at a world-renowned restaurant.

Sitting down for a meal as if it’s the most important thing you’ll do all day. Savouring every moment of it. Because you know what matters is here and now. Being in that precise moment and nowhere else.

Preparing for the rest of the day with a simple process as this.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

The truth of lucid dreams

The uncontrollable capacity to feel everything so deeply often deprives you of nocturnal sleep.

Because the lucid dreams you have make reality and imagination a blurred existence, which you cannot separate.

But when you wake, you know exactly where you want to be.

Also part of Weekend Writing Prompt #179

One bright day

©C.E.Ayr

It was the first day in over a week that they woke up with sunshine streaming through their windows.

“We need to exploit this brightness!” she said all perky, jumping out of bed to draw the curtains so more light can get in.

“I know exactly how!” he replied.

He revealed a bicycle for her with a basket in front, just as she had coquettishly requested when she saw his own bicycle about a month ago.

They cycled to the marina, where he had prepared another surprise: a boat ride along the calm waters of the canal. Just for them.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Time in 8 days, 8 months

8 seconds are all it takes to jolt awake by an alarm clock.
8 minutes may be necessary to get out of bed.
8 days are enough to change a habit.
8 months are required to make it a routine.

8 seconds are abundant for the door to close with your keys inside.
8 minutes are sufficient to take a decision that may change your life.
8 days is the time then spent waffling back and forth.
8 months to realise you’ve made the right choice.

8 seconds are enough to scan through a room.
8 minutes all it takes to start a conversation with someone.
8 days may be wonderfully spent in good company.
8 months may be erased as easily as they began.

8 seconds is all it takes for the mind to turn.
8 minutes for an eruption to destroy a dream.
8 days for your mind to accept what your heart cannot.
8 months is too long to be without an embrace, away from home.

Time is a concept, which we all forsake. We think we have it until it is gone.

We say we don’t have it when we don’t want to do something. Yet we moan there is never enough of it when we are overwhelmed with engagements.

Sometimes you don’t need too much of it, just enough to spend it with people who matter, doing things that satisfy your soul.

“Time is a storm in which we are all lost” – William Carlos Williams

“An inch of time is an inch of gold but you can’t buy that inch of time with an inch of gold” – Chinese Proverb

Staying afloat

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When you fall into a river you’re besieged with an innate instinct for survival and you search for ways to keep afloat and to get out. It’s natural. If you stop trying to swim, you’ll sink, and ultimately drown.

This is somewhat true in how you survive in your daily life as well. In the relationships you build and maintain. What holds you down is what makes you drown. And that can range from the negative thoughts in your head, your problems, your stress, the prejudices you carry around, even past traumatic experiences from failed relationships that have left a bitter aftertaste.

When you exit the river, you’re never the same person as the one who entered. Something has washed over you and infiltrated you even if you can’t see it. You’re changed by every experience you have, every person who walks in – and out – of your life. There is a lesson to be gained from everything. As long as we want to acknowledge it.

Seminars on self-help and self-growth are abundant. This was an excerpt from one of them. She was drawn into it because the metaphor was cunning. But, this was nothing new. Theories are so easy to develop. They’re easy to state, even to ourselves. Acting upon them is what is necessary and means something. And that is the hardest to do. Because accepting reality and that some things just happen, is the most difficult of all.

She would give herself completely in someone she felt was worthwhile. She would fall head over heels from the start. And perhaps that was her mistake. That she would put herself on offer willingly, without being asked. Her friend told her that this made the other person greedy, thus provoking his insatiable attitude. But she would do things because she wanted to and felt pleasure in doing them. Because happiness entails making others smile. Because we love the way we want to be loved. It’s the only way she knew.

But when things snapped in an instant for no rational reason, she was the one left heartbroken, wondering why others don’t treat her the same way she would. Why they wouldn’t run to surprise her and make things right. Why they wouldn’t even call to talk and solve the dispute that so abruptly and harshly erased their laughter.

They say “we accept the love we think we deserve”, but that’s not true. Because we don’t always attract what we want, but rather what we need at certain periods in time. We learn something out of every incident we face, regardless of how good or bad it is. We don’t always end up with what we crave. But sometimes we realise that maybe it’s for the best. Sometimes pain is meant to be felt, so we can appreciate serenity when it finally arrives.

Trampled emotions

There is an element of self-torture when you refuse to let some things slide and move on; when you’re constantly seeking an explanation, a justification, and a response to your ‘why?’.

Sometimes there is no answer. Or it may come when it no longer matters.

But the truth is, it already has no importance if it’s causing you so much grief and pondering.  

Some things are meant to be experienced. We’ll get something out of them eventually.

It’s if you overthink everything that you have trouble swallowing reality. Life isn’t easy. No one said it would be. And there is no explanation for why things happen. Some things are meant to be, others not. We do participate in them all, and have a role to play in activating a chain of events, of setting life into motion. And it is often up to us, how much or how far we will allow developments to proceed.

Overthinkers are usually over-feelers too. And the trouble with feeling everything too deeply, is that you get hurt too profoundly too quickly. Sentimentalism isn’t a trait of the strong. Unfortunately.

Whatever advice you’re given, you’ll never weather the storm if you don’t want to. If you don’t decide to paddle over the water and get to shore. If you don’t pick yourself up and carry on.

That’s the thing with feelings: they’re easily trampled upon and difficult to recover.

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