MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “change”

A decade of Whispers

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Every big thing starts with a simple moment of folly in which, upon taking that leap, you ask “why not” and “what if”. Because yes, in jumping, you may fall; but what if you fly?

We have a tendency in this modern fast-paced world of ours to consider the downside more than what we have to gain. But we sometimes fail to see that if we don’t dare to try, we won’t move to grow. Change won’t happen if we don’t go after it.

In the past years of pandemic lockdowns, political developments, climate change (floods, heatwaves, fires), and so much more that has made us question the very essence of our existence, it is perhaps our mental health and psychological state of being that has been affected the most.

We find that we are often competing with our own self simply to remain sane. We’re battling the voices in our hear that we wish were not ours. We whisper that we’re fine, when inside we’re bellowing that we’re not. And we realise that we need days off everything; hours to do absolutely nothing – to lie in bed staring at the ceiling,binge-watch series or movies, to walk silently along the beach, to read after going offline. We ought to give ourselves those instances to regroup, to recharge, and to relax above all. It’s an opportunity to reconsider everything we do – from the support circle around us, the social acquaintances, our relations with the ‘outside’ world, to our employment prospects, our professional ambitions, but also our personal dreams which we so often push aside.

I began writing this blog a decade ago – can you believe it’s been 10 years already? It was my way of expressing everything I cannot (or wish not) say aloud. It’s not easy for everyone to speak out and converse so easily with people. Some of us are lost in the chaos of our minds. We’ll speak to those who win our trust, who we feel comfortable and secure with; to those, we will blabber away for hours, so consider yourself lucky, for you are among the selected few. But don’t think we don’t have things to say. The pen, it is said, is often mightier than the sword. And if we can’t speak, we’ll write it.

That said, consider this in the rapid passing of time: We come into each other’s lives in a mere fragment of it. We meet each other without knowing what led the other to this moment, and (on each occasion) we are trying to catch up on the time we ‘lost’ when we did not know of each other’s existence. In an effort to replenish that time, we want to draw in as much information as possible about the other, often being subject to jealousy of the people who have managed to spend a greater period with this new person.

We have but a glimpse of our lives to set our mark on another person and ensure our role and part in their lives is maintained. In the dozens (or more) of people we meet throughout our passage, only a handful will stay long enough to see us grow, change, laugh and cry, evolve. But those are the people who matter. And it goes both ways.

So, the message I’ll close off with in this 10-year anniversary post is this: sometimes it’s good not to know where you’re going and where something you start off in a leap of faith will lead. Because you never know how wonderful or life-changing it may be.

The red lines we cross

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We all have them. But it’s only when we cross them that we perceive their significance.

Red lines are like raising the alarm; that something is wrong.

We all seemingly know at what point something becomes unacceptable to us. But you never really believe you’ll reach that point, or surpass your limits in an often dangerous manner.

We dream of life to be perfect, with as few problems as possible, with disagreements being restricted to a minimum with our colleagues, partner, friends, or even strangers. Hoping whatever row we have may be trivial five minutes later, when we eventually cross those red lines of ours and tensions rise and voice levels increase, we are stunned ourselves. Because this point of no return was never our intention. And it usually becomes so obvious in how it leaves you drained, emotionally exhausted, and psychologically unable to think straight.

We exceed our limits when we accumulate emotions and thoughts for too long without expressing them; when we’re fighting a battle on our own and trying to conceal it from everyone else; when we’re pressing ourselves too hard to appear that everything is fine when it’s really not; when we want someone to stand by but are too proud to ask.

When our mind is too clouded to be able to think clearly, we can only see problems rather than solutions to them. That is when we need a support circle the most. To help us restore reason in that chaos-creating head of ours. It’s not easy. Nothing of value ever is. It would be too boring otherwise. We sometimes need to transcend our own limits – and our comfort zone – to awaken to everything else that can happen if we rattle ourselves up a bit.

For the record and as an interesting fact: The origin of the phrase ‘red line’ in English traces back to the “Red Line Agreement” in 1928 between largest oil companies of Britain, the USA and France at the time of the end of the Ottoman Empire. At the time of signature, the borders of the former empire were not clear, and to remedy the problem an Armenian businessman named Calouste Gulbenkian, took a red pencil to draw in an arbitrary manner the borders of the divided empire. The expression remained significant to global diplomacy and was reused during the UN’s founding after the WWII, especially in the English-speaking world.

Don’t spook

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We’ve been through a lot these past couple of years. Things we’d never even considered possible. Our way of life radically changed. Our routines, our habits, our ‘normality’. We’ve learned to expect nothing because everything can change from one minute to the next. And we’ve learned to anticipate the worst, because…well, we’ve seen it happen. We’ve seemingly lost hope but not the will to carry on.

But we’re spooked.

Because doubt and uncertainty have taken over us and our daily lives.

We spook too easy nowadays, precisely because we don’t know what to expect anymore.

We’ve been so used to the weird, the strange, the bad, the irregular, that when something ‘proper’ comes along, with no evident flaw, we’re scared. Afraid that like a bubble it will burst in our face and someone will be lurking around the corner ready to laugh.

We’re spooked because we know we deserve better but are too fearful of acknowledging that value in ourselves.

We’ve been through so much, yet we’ve survived it all.

Now we must show courage, in resisting the things we fear the most and walking straight through them. Good things are bound to happen. And perhaps everything we’re looking for is exactly on the other side of that paralysing fear.

Reaction to life

Stress is your body’s way of activating your flight-or-fight response to a perceived state of danger. It causes your senses to go on alert, often resulting in convulsive – irrational – reactions, heightened adrenaline, faster heartbeats, and increased breathing rates, as well as altering your food digestion and consequently your glucose levels. Stress has multiple effects on our body, many of which we are hardly aware of.

It’s easy to advise a person not to stress. What is not easy, is to actually follow that advice.

You may have heard/read it before from so many sources nowadays: stress is a fear reaction to life and life’s constant changes. To manage it, we need to equate stress with fear and then begin to eliminate fear from our lives. We need to wonder why are we in fact so afraid? Why do we so passively give our power away? William James had said that “the greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over the other”. Because in essence, what causes our bpm to rise is in fact our own thoughts. If we replace the constricting and fearing thoughts we allow to invade our heads with positive and empowering affirmations – keeping it cool and focused – will actually allow us to reach what Louise Hay describes as “the totality of possibilities”. If you let your mind go beyond what you think is possible, you open yourself up to a myriad of options and potential.

What is interesting is the fact that many of us create the ideas we have about life by the time we are 5 years old. And from then on we live in the limitations created by our 5-year old consciousness, often stopping us from experiencing all that we could or desire. It is our own excuses, beliefs and limitations that obstruct our way. We have the option of either accepting them or overcoming them and moving beyond what we think is possible. Because it’s all in our head.

Anger is a significant form of stress.

One of the best advice on learning to alleviate it is what is termed as the “5-minute rule”. You should not spend more than 5 minutes stressing over something or being angry. Give yourself five timed minutes to vent, to moan, to scream, to let it all out. But afterwards, take a deep breath, and acknowledge that you cannot change what has already happened, so there is no value in wishing it were different.

Put simply: deal with it, and move on. Otherwise your just wasting your energy and time.

It’s not so easy to do. But it’s definitely worth a try. And if you keep at it, you’ll eventually get there.

It’s so simple

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“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Let that sink in for a minute.

Think about it.

Really consider it.

Because the possibilities are endless.

If you didn’t allow your mind to block you, to obstruct you from moving outside your comfort zone, from doing something out of the ordinary, from taking a risk, a leap into the unknown, what would you truly be capable of?

If you’re not afraid, it’s usually not important, or not worth the risk.

If it scares you, do it. It’s the only way you’ll grow.

It’s as simple as that.

And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

It is so simple.

We just make things complicated.

Change the perspective

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A storm was brewing. Literally. The weather was turning piercingly icier and the sun was in hiding. You could feel the wind changing.

But also metaphorically. People were evidently affected – they were colder in attitude too. Agitated, nervous, and too easily irritated.

It was all wrong. For no sensible reason.

So she decided to leave.

These are the best decisions; the get-up-and-go-on-the-inspiration moments. Because if you don’t think about certain things too much, they end up being the best decisions you ever make.

She acted upon the impulse to flee. And travelled all across the world to where the climate was exactly the opposite.

She didn’t exactly encounter a heatwave, but a much warmer weather, and a much kinder folk. People who had much less – of material belongings and wealth – yet much more heart and goodness. They knew how to enjoy the utmost of what they had, and to appreciate the instances, the smallest of heart-warming gestures, the gratitude of having even the slightest of everything.

If you step back from your own world and delve into someone else’s, perhaps you’ll just realise how lucky we are but never acknowledge it enough. Be grateful for everyday; for the goodness around you; and focus your energy on all you want to create, not on what you want to get rid of. Know who you are and what you want to achieve, but be careful who you choose to walk with in life, because in the wrong company you’ll never reach your destination.

Treasure troves of magic

©Ted Strutz

It’s a place of magic. There are so many different worlds to travel to. So many personalities to impersonate. Here, you could be anything, anyone, at anytime, anywhere.

Libraries, she was taught, “are more than just a storage place for books, they are treasure troves filled with creativity and knowledge. And that knowledge can be empowering(R.L Hemlock).

Libraries open windows to the world, inspire us to explore and achieve more, to contribute to improving the world, and thus change it for the better.

They are parts of life’s necessities, reminding us simultaneously of the excitement of being a kid.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

More time than life

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In a world of rapid developments, how easily do we take things (and people) for granted? We go to bed certain we will wake up the next morning; we postpone our schedules sure that we’ll have time later on; we procrastinate because we are confident we’ll complete our must-do’s some other instant.

But what if there wasn’t time?

There is a Mexican saying: “there is more time than life” (“Hay más tiempo que vida”) usually told to those who are constantly stressed and complain too much about not having time to fulfil specific goals. Loosely translated, it is that cliché we so often hear: “seize the day”.

It’s the prompt to take each moment for what it is, and realise it to the fullest. Do what you can now, experience every emotion to the utmost, because – really – who knows when you’ll get another chance, or what the next minute may bring.

And to be honest, a minute is a long time to waste. (Just try counting it while doing a plank).

The answers in silence

©MCD_Athens

How many hours do we spend worrying about things we can’t control, suffering more in imagination than in reality, drawing conclusions out of the slightest of things?

The truth is, we cause our own anxiety by the thoughts that race in our head. What if we could pace those contemplations? What if we could in some way halt them and focus our energy on something mentally healthier and more productive?

Humans are created for greatness – to do things, not be stagnant. We hold ourselves back by the constant anguish that things will go wrong.

And when the chaos becomes too much to handle we seek to escape in nature, in trails that lead to silence.

Simply to acknowledge that silence is some form of answer. Sometimes not getting what you expect is also a way of realising what you deserve, what you’re truly after, what you profoundly want. There is always a way. And there is always time. As long as there is the deep desire to find both.

Only half-way

©Ted Strutz

This boat trip will only take you half-way. You’ll have to carry on the rest of the journey yourself afterwards”. If only, simply to comprehend you’re capable of more than you credit yourself for.

Do you ever make plans in your head, fantasize stories and happy endings, simply to feel that fulfilling satisfying sensation of completeness; of genuine happiness and tranquillity?

It’s a dangerous thing to do.

Usually because nothing ever works out like the feel-good plans we make unilaterally. Destiny has too many parameters to be forged by us alone.

Regardless of the outcome of life, we continue forward.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

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