MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “calm”

Avoiding the silence

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Many people start their day with the sound of the alarm clock buzzing in their ears. From that moment, our entire day is filled with noise – running water, the kettle singing, the phone ringing, email alerts, cars honking, doors slamming, music, trains on rails, voices of all pitches and intensities and so much more.

If you just sit still for a minute and breathe, you may even hear your own heart beat. Had it not been for all those noises that constantly surround us.

If you’re a person who easily gets lost in your thoughts, who drifts off in daydream or allows their mind to wander, every once in a while – perhaps more often than most people – you need the silence. You want to be able to enter public transportation without the hubbub, the clamour, the commotion. You don’t understand why people feel the constant urge to talk all the time. Some simply talk for the sake of talking. They are not really saying anything of substance; sometimes even nothing that makes sense. Perhaps sitting on the bus and talking on the phone to someone during the entire duration of your trip makes you feel important, that you’re not ‘wasting time’, or it is a way of keeping others astray. Because, yes, there are those types of people too, who want to talk so much that they will approach you and try to start a conversation out of nowhere, without your consent. Even if you kindly try to avoid it, it will turn into a monologue on their part, which you are obliged to listen. Unless you want to get off on the next stop and risk facing a worse situation on the next public transport you board.

People don’t appreciate the silence enough. It is as though they are avoiding their own thoughts. As if they are afraid of staying alone with themselves for a while. Of emptying their minds. Of discovering what their own perceptions on life are. Of even listening to the sound of their own heartbeat.

It is a shame. Because if we learned to be more mindful of our own well-being, of the rhythm of our breaths, of the ticking of our hearts, we wouldn’t be so agitated and stressed all the time, complaining about the world and everything in it.

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Defusing agitation

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There are many ways to clear your head. To diminish the stress that is engulfing you and be able to breathe again a little deeper. They range from exercise, meditation, reading, writing, cooking, to spending time with friends, family and pets, even changing your house décor. But there is one thing that is underestimated in making you feel better: talking.

Keeping your thoughts and feelings locked up inside is like maintaining a time bomb inside a box and waiting for the timer to go off. The explosion will be massive. And it will hurt not just you but those around you too. That is why people suffering with depression and stress are also easily agitated and nervous. Their small and often outbursts are usually caused by the fact that they bury everything deep inside hoping they will simply dissolve. But this sooner or later diffuses into your physical system as well causing other problems.

Talking is underestimated. Because although it may not solve your problems, it is a way of defusing them. Of sharing your thoughts with someone who cares for you and understands. Someone who is there right when you need them. Someone who knows that when your rage overwhelms you the solution is not to leave you alone, but instead embrace you and hold you until calmness prevails. Someone who is willing to stand by you, to show you that you don’t have to carry your burdens alone. Someone with whom you don’t need to say much and who always knows just the right thing to say to soothe your pain and make you feel just a little bit better.

We should surround ourselves with people like that. Who when you wake up in a bad mood, won’t criticise you for it, but will tell you that every day gets better. Who prompts you to be grateful for what you have – your health and people who love you. Who gives you the encouragement you need to never let anyone get you down or make you feel like you’re not worth it. Because in the end, the only person whose opinion truly matters is your own.  

The chaos of an introvert

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Introverts, they say, are weird people. Because you can’t tell what is going on in their head. At times, they themselves don’t even know. Because often they want nothing more than to cuddle alone on the couch under a blanket with a hot drink, a book or a movie. It is their way of getting away from everything.

They won’t push you away. Not unless you turn them away first. Introverts have the characteristic of being willing to do almost everything for a person they care about. Even if that is not acknowledged or reciprocated.

But there comes a time when something breaks, like a glass being shattered too many times. In an introvert this is expressed with a physical illness. The body itself is beginning to complain, raising the alarm that there is something wrong. Of course, the mind already knows it, but something needs to happen to shake you up.

Our thoughts affect us more than we believe. And our mental and psychological state often define our physical well-being.

It is difficult to put your mind at peace when you feel a million things buzzing through your head. We live in a world where calmness is a privilege, one that is sought after through techniques like yoga, mindfulness, even the so many life coaches that have suddenly sprung up. When did things become so difficult that we actually need people to tell us how to live our life? How to breathe and relax and not take everything so deeply? Why do we allow ourselves to be drained by our own thoughts? To drown in our own insecurities and pessimism?

Introverts won’t really tell you how much pain they’re in – either physical or emotional. They hide their chaos inside. But – paradoxically – they will hope you understand. That you will realise what they really need is someone to sit by them on that couch, wrap them up in a soothing hug and convince them that everything will be OK.

Be afraid of the quiet ones, they are the ones who actually think

Trying to unwind

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How many times have you found yourself in a situation in which you are forced to hide your true feelings? It has happened to us all. Either because you don’t agree with the rest of the opinions expressed and don’t want to elaborate; either because the conversation bores you; or you dislike the people around you; or worse yet because you’re in pain and want to hide it.

It is not easy when you’re suffering to pretend everything is OK. But most of us do so on a daily basis.

From the millions of things roaming in our minds, we only express a couple of them, not even half of what we truly think.

As a result, we suppress everything else leading our body to suffer from the toxicity of unexpressed thoughts, feelings, opinions. This in turn results in psychosomatic symptoms – the tendency to experience psychological distress in the form of physical symptoms. These may include chest pain, fatigue, dizziness, headache, oedema, back pain, shortness of breath, insomnia, abdominal pain, numbness, impotence, weight loss, cough, and constipation. This demonstrates that our minds and body are interlinked, entwined to the extent that the one affects the other. Emotional disturbances are often translated into physical symptoms, mostly evident in the effects we experience when we’re stressed, upset, scared, excited.

We often seek treatments in fast remedies – usually painkillers. We are advised patience and above all relaxation and calm. But the latter seem almost impossible when you’re in pain. In reality, we need the courage to seek the source of the distress, so we can change what provokes it. Only then will we truly be able to unwind.

Magic waterfalls

©Dale Rogerson

“Look”. She saw his hand rise and point to the source of that calming sound they were hearing a while now. It was still the beginning of winter and the water was flowing rapidly.

She always loved that sound it makes. She found it stole your troubles and drowned them into its soothing flow.

“Listen”. She said. They stood mesmerised with the sunrays bathing their faces. It was a welcome touch in that cold morning.

Whatever happened, waterfalls had a magical way of making everything better. And of bringing them closer together.

Water, after all, is the source of life.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Admitting to the problem

https://img.fotocommunity.com/sehnsucht-nach-meer-e5071e7c-1c5a-4ce7-88e1-8e87a1f6e2ce.jpg?height=400They say that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. In fact, it is true that more people would learn from them mistakes if they weren’t so busy denying them. In the same light, in order to begin to find some peace of mind, we need to acknowledge that we have none.

In our modern age, being (too) busy is a problem. But the thing is, we think that it is a privilege, an asset, or even something to be proud of – we actually boast of being busy. Of not having time for anything, not even of living.

We have lost touch of the things that matter. Instead of talking to each other and trying to help one another, to learn from each other and mutually improve, we have become so competitive that what dominates our relationships is hypocrisy and shallowness.

What is more, we don’t know how to relax anymore. We have become so obsessed about constantly having something on our minds and in our hands that we turn into inexplicably nervous freaks when we are faced with “doing nothing”. Keeping calm is not a concept the modern world understands. Yet, we so love to cant about it everywhere, we have drawn numerous gifs and images and posters and anything you can imagine, that begin with “keep calm and…”.

Let’s face it. We have become a troublesome kind. We are so afraid of being left out of pretty much anything that we create trouble where there is none, do things we don’t really want to do, and adopt styles that don’t fit us simply because they are the current trend. In the process, we choose to follow the crowd than stand out in our own unique way. And, like everyone else, we criticise or adore whoever and whatever is ‘in fashion’ at the time.

We don’t think anymore. And that is perhaps the most pitiful and severe problem of us all.

The trickling of drops

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©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.

Keep calm

https://www.mindful.org/wp-content/uploads/Calm.jpgCalmness is the cradle of power” (Josiah Gilbert Holland), that is why being calm – having a clear mind and a patient heart – is nowadays considered something like a superpower.

Never before did mankind need so many motivational resources on how to be calm, find calm, calm down, and all the likes. Earlier generations considered being calm and having time to relax a given. But in this one, when everything moves so rapidly, when you’re away from a screen for an hour or less and new developments have already taken the course, people don’t have time to relax or slow down. Or so they say. In essence, we refuse to do so out of fear that we may miss out on something. That is mainly why youth are so attached to their mobile phones, checking social networks every so often. It is the very fear of missing out that stops us from actually living our own lives. Of doing something memorable that you don’t need to post on the web because it would lose its significance that way. Not every moment we experience needs to be demonstrated on line. We don’t cease to exist when no one is watching.

That anguish we have of what the world does or sees is also what keeps us so much on edge. Why we can’t stop even if we try. Why we sit on a couch at the end of the day to watch something irrelevant on TV and still find ourselves thinking about a million other things or be skim reading on our tablet or phone. It is also why when we do manage to switch our brains off, we instantly fall asleep. It is an accumulation of prolonged tiredness.

There are a series of “inspirational mottos” about pretty much everything. They begin “Keep calm and…”. Because we need to be reminded and prompted to calm down.

Apple has even created an app for that too. It was named App of the Year for 2017 and it is called “Calm”, offering “Meditation techniques for Sleep and Stress Reduction”.

Isn’t it ironic how we need an application to remind us to “breathe” or “do nothing for 15 seconds”?

Maybe we all do need some “mindfulness”, that “basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us”.

All we really need is to live fully, deeply and constantly and let our mind wander whenever it can. But in the world we live in, being calm and relaxed has become some kind of superpower.

The way you say things

misunderstandingStephen was a known diplomat. He had spent his entire life studying and training to devote his life to being a professional envoy. He knew well that the way you say things could save a lot of anguish and misunderstanding. That is why words were just as important as the tone in which you utter them.

That is what he was trying to explain to his young nephew one sunny afternoon on the terrace. The little boy had asked why his aunt was upset again. She had told Stephen that he sounded “mean and angry” and “she had done nothing to deserve such behaviour”.

You know, 10% of quarrels are due to a disagreement and 90% due to a wrong tone of voice”, said Stephen. His nephew looked at him with wide eyes, wondering how the tone of one’s voice could cause so much trouble.

Diplomats learn from a young age how to be able to be discrete in any situation. In fact, we are the ones who are – as it is said – able to tell someone to go… somewhere bad in such a way that they look forward to the journey”. The young boy laughed, even though he wasn’t sure if he had understood everything correctly. But his uncle had a way of being so persuasive that you just couldn’t disagree.

The point, in every conversation you make, is to be calm, to maintain your temper and to simply say things in the most serene way possible. In that way, even if you insult someone, they’ll take it much lighter than if you yell some bad words at them”.

There is always a way to achieve your purpose. But losing your temper is not one of them”.

Jessica appeared at the door still moody. Stephen got up, wrapped his arms around her and whispered softly in her ear “forgive me, I didn’t mean to sound so abrupt”.

Jessica smiled and fell deeper into his arms.

Their young nephew laughed. His uncle was right. And he seemed an expert in this art.

A green lifeline of tranquillity

bowl-and-leaves.jpgShe always believed a plant was necessary in every household. It was a symbol of hope and tranquillity. She had once been told that if she could take care of a plant then she could take care of a person. So she treated the little green lifeline as a precious friend, giving it a central position in the house.

This very plant was what taught her to embrace Thomas Jefferson’s quote: “It is neither wealth nor splendour; but tranquillity and occupation which give you happiness”. Gazing at it, she remembered that “worrying does not remove tomorrow’s troubles, but today’s peace”.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

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