MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “changes”

Open road

©Matteo Paganelli

There is a risk with being too comfortable with where you are. You become too complacent and too lazy to budge. Like still water in a swamp, you become stagnant as the world around you evolves.

The problem is, we too often take things for granted. A situation to which we’re accustomed does not necessarily mean that it will forever remain so. Circumstances change, often in the blink of an eye, yet no matter what we tell ourselves, we’re never wholly prepared for any of it.

Confusion is followed by an anguish of how to proceed. We need a plan. That’s what we pressure ourselves to have. But life doesn’t always work in a scheduled manner. Sometimes we just need to take things as they come.

Consider this, however: Without a destination, you’re never late. Because you have nowhere precise to go. You’re always exactly where you’re supposed to be.

Or like the cat in Alice in Wonderland said: If you don’t know where you’re going any road will get you there.

Perhaps we need to see the positive in every situation. A step-back always rattles you to change.

We simply need the courage to move ahead with more experience and determination than before.

Don’t be afraid to start over; you might like your new story.

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Offline

There is a reason why many meditation and life-seizing coaches recommend you go offline for as much as you possibly can.

Scrolling on a screen all day steals your energy and mental clarity.

But most of all, it takes you away from life itself.

Because be it as it may, life is what is that blur that is happening around your screen. Just lift your head up long enough to devour it.

We go outdoors to breathe in fresh air; to socialise with real people; to view greener fields, bluer waters, and clearer skies; to marvel at the beauty of the world we live in.

Yet we do nothing of that.

Because even out there, we’re stuck on a screen. We’re so invested in what everyone else is doing and showing off online that we hardly exploit our ‘free’ time. As if a photo for a social post is enough to have said that we’ve done something different. Sure, photos are the concrete remnants of our memories. But there’s so much more to that. It’s all the moments we spend talking, laughing, doing things, hugging, and simply being around our loved ones that make the difference. It’s the feelings we create in those moments that cannot be captured or properly portrayed in a photograph.

So next time you’re out and about, around your favourite people (or not), put down your phone and observe the world around you.

You might just be amazed by it.

Sweet Melancholy

https://offtheshelf.com/app/uploads/2020/09/book-with-apple-and-leaves_iStock-846775222_social.jpg

There’s a sweet melancholy in autumn.

Soothing like the dreamless sleep you drift off on, wrapped in a blanket on the couch.

Fulfilling as the vellichor and perfume of old bookshops.

Rejuvenating like the new plans you wish to forge.

Encouraging for the beautiful things that are arriving.

Also part of Weekend Writing Prompt #233

Paddle away

©Krista Strutz

He was searching for the opportunity to stand up on a surfboard and paddle away into the water. It was the new ‘trend’ and he was longing to try it.

A friend told him it was “like walking on water only better”.

And he was right.

Out there, your mind catches up with you.

It was Katharine Hepburn who said that “as one goes through life, one learns that if you don’t paddle your own canoe, you don’t move”. And he felt that, right then.

For if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

And that’s what we need.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

The 1001st

Eight years and eight months (or 104 months) after I started this very blog, I achieved a milestone of 1000 posts. I was never really good at numbers – or getting too personal in a post – but sometimes statistics offer a perspective. It’s easy to spill your soul on paper because you don’t visualise all those people reading it. You only see yourself as the steering wheel guiding the pen that scribbles down the words you feel.

Like Barbara Kingsolver said: “Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer”.

And just like that, you make writing a habit, you go on with life and suddenly you realise that…well, life happens. Milestones come and go like a rising sun, and it is only when you stop to reflect on the time that has passed that you acknowledge the changes you’ve undergone and how your reality has altered.

This 1001st post coincides with a process of moving – in all senses and on all levels.

Moving on to a new neighbourhood, a new home, a new environment. Moving on to new work opportunities, levelling-up, moving forward in order to evolve.

It is said that after the grieving of loss or separation, moving is the third most stressful thing we endure. Because that too entails the breaking of ties. Beginning life anew is both difficult, but also exciting. It is a chance to start over, to rediscover the world, to open up new windows and doors both literally and metaphorically.

As always, though, things don’t always happen as smoothly and seamlessly as we plan. Some transitions don’t occur without conflict; in this Covid-19 era, the virus gets hold of a friend you relied on for help; bureaucracy makes the world spin much slower; and technocrats don’t seem to be able to communicate effectively. There are all sorts of challenges we need to cope with that test our patience more than anything.

But that’s how circumstances make us stronger. How they teach us to be bolder and more resilient.

That’s how we move on; how we persist to make things work; how we survive.

That’s how we live. And in keeping ourselves busy, we (instinctively) power through.

Making habits that will make us

There is a widely acknowledged rule that it takes 21 days to create a habit and three times that – 90 days – for it to become a lifestyle.

It might sound a lot. But think about it. 21 days is three weeks. Three weeks is less than one month. In 2020 we’ve been in lockdown twice for this period of time. We could (have) easily chang(ed) habits.

The first thing any decent self-help book or life coach tells you is to think positively and control your breathing.

Both aren’t as easy as they seem. And it is irritating that people usually tell you the exact opposite of what you’re able to do at the given time you seek help – “calm down” when your agitated, “be patient” when you’re not, “don’t worry” when you’re sweating with anxiety.

But the truth is, if you manage to reduce your heart rate – if you inhale for four seconds, hold that breath for just as long, and then slowly exhale again – you will feel that you’ve oxygenated your lungs enough to relax and actually feel somewhat calmer.

Fix your body posture. That always helps and gives you a regal feeling. And everyone likes to feel royal.

Just think about how many things you can change in 21 days, and how easily those can become part of your daily routine.

Train yourself to get up early; to have a schedule for the day; to exercise at least half an hour; to walk as much; to smile more; to organise your priorities; to cook your meals assuring a healthy diet; to hydrate as much as possible; to take care of yourself; to do something you enjoy and makes you happy; to talk to someone (not online chats, but actual voice calls); to think positively believing that something wonderful is always about to happen; to allow yourself to relax every so often; to be grateful for all you have because someone else is always worse off and is having a much more difficult time; and above all, to breathe.

We can change our entire way of living in three weeks. But the benefits may last our entire lives. Isn’t that worth at least trying?

A white pause

©Dale Rogerson

They had been planning the event for months. It was something that had caused many hours of stress, conflict, intense disagreement, even tears. But it was also what made them happy, because it was going to mark the beginning of a bright future together. They believed it.

But very often, it doesn’t matter what plans you make.

Life happens regardless.

And things capsize abruptly.

That day it snowed heavily. Everything was so beautiful in white. Everything but her.

He cried a stream of tears because he remembered their first snow day together.

They were so in love then. So different.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

What you want and what you need

What is it that you need?

She never really asked him what he wanted. Because she knew how to distinguish between wanting something and needing it. We tend to have in mind things that we want, but if we ponder on them a bit longer, we realise that we don’t really need them. Because in reality, we have a lot. We’re just not grateful enough.

He didn’t answer immediately.

His gaze wandered out of the window to the spring sun that filled the back garden. Everything was illuminated. It seemed so much more positive than the last time he was here. He himself felt brighter, more optimistic.

I need a hug that lasts more than a deep breath. A long walk on the beach. And a late night talk, the soul-curing kind. That’s what I miss the most. Being able to connect mentally as well as physically. People being real”.

She felt a wave of cynicism camouflaged into pessimism approaching. So she quickly shielded it off.

You’ve made a lot of progress in healing yourself. In realising how to separate your wants and needs and how to comprehend what is more important. You should be proud of yourself for that”.

He tried to smile, still staring outside. Something was still troubling him.

In life, there are two types of people,” she began. “The optimists and the pessimists. The pessimists are usually right. But humanity’s progress is due to the optimists. Remember that when choosing what you allow to drain your energy. If you can’t control or change something, there is no point in allowing it to affect your mood”.

In the time of Coronavirus everything is changing. Are we?

https://www.cartoonmovement.com/cartoon/65279

It is obvious that our lives are changing and with it our daily routines. Whatever we so far considered “normal” may not be as such when we eventually exit this unprecedented crisis. Even the concept of what is “normal” has now obtained a controversial meaning, along with whatever we previously considered as given or obvious facts, such as the need for cleanliness which, although formerly seen as an obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), now has become an imperative necessity.

The fear of contracting the coronavirus (Covid-19) during its violent and uncontrollable spread is now accompanied by the anguish of when cities and markets will regain their pulse after weeks or even months. What scares us the most is the unpredictability of all this.

We are treading on unchartered waters, moments that will remain engraved not only in our minds, but in global history. And we are unprepared for it. Because instead of investing in research and health programmes – in the essential – we grant importance to the ephemeral, things and people who in times of crisis will have no value or use.

There are many theories circulating regarding the Coronavirus. How it is a conspiracy of the strong and powerful to further manipulate and subdue the weak masses; on the conflict between East and West; on economic interests etc.

Whatever the case, the current pandemic constitutes both a challenge and an opportunity.

It is a challenge for healthcare systems that have broken down due to lack of infrastructure, and resources both human and material; for state aid to be offered to those most affected; for social solidarity that is necessary now more than ever; for individual responsibility that many continue not to comprehend; for our mental health primarily, and for every kind of relationship we have.

This absence of regularity, the abrupt disruption of our daily lives, our routines, has shaken us to the core. This is aggravated by the fear of the economic impact or an imminent financial crisis, together with the lack of connection with other people. Suddenly, we find ourselves with an abundance of time, but no people to spend it with. All this heightens the feeling that we have lost our sense of safety. And this in turn makes us miserable; it brings upon us an undefined grief.

It is only if we manage to find the positive in a negative situation, that we will be able to fight it; to save ourselves both physically and mentally. For every illness, the remedy is always a strong immune system – resilient antibodies – to be able to cure ourselves. The same goes for the thoughts that we allow to occupy our minds. A head full of fear has no room for dreams. So let’s be optimistic, because as Winston Churchill said, “it does not seem too much use being anything else”.

The truth is, we should be grateful about how privileged we are that amidst a global pandemic we have been ordered to stay at home – in our refuge – in the safety of our own space, reading, watching TV, working, creating, with a full fridge and few worries, waiting for this all to end. Most of us are called to fight this invisible enemy from our couch.

Yet, we complain for the opportunity to get away from the routine we constantly criticised for draining our energy and leaving us little time to do the things we really want. Here is our chance to remember our hobbies, to watch TV, to learn something new, to read books, spend time with our loved ones, to (finally) get acquainted with technology, to invest time in ourselves and our priorities and evolve stronger, improved.

But we still complain. When other worse hit countries are forced to choose who to save because their healthcare systems are overwhelmed. We complain because we are staying home, when there are people who don’t even have that. We spend a lifetime staring at a screen, yet now we suddenly all want to go outside. The forbidden is always sweeter, they say. Even now, under these dire circumstances.

In the time of Coronavirus, everything is changing.

And when all this shall pass – because it will – what will we be left with? Apart from an earth that has pushed a small ‘pause’ and managed to heal itself, and leaving aside reports about a new hantavirus, what will we have learned out of all this? Will we wash our hands and our communal spaces better? Will we maintain social distancing? Will we consider that our individual actions have an impact on others? Will we appreciate more the time we have, the people around us and everything we consider as granted? Will we view life with a different lens?

The Coronavirus pandemic has proven how unprepared we are, because we consider so many things – even health – as granted. It is a shock on the global health system, on governance, security, but mainly on our values. It showed that everything around us is so temporary. Things we revolved our lives around: our work, gym, cafes, malls, cinemas, society itself, have all become irrelevant as we are now learning for weeks to live without them. It has taught us that we are so technologically advanced we can actually work from home, i.e. anywhere, and we can remain more connected than we believe. But in the end, it is up to us to demonstrate that the lives lost daily are not in vain. It is our responsibility to change ourselves to change the world.

Quarantine news

©Douglas M. MacIlroy

I had a visitor today! Wait, I’ll show you. I managed to take a photo”. She scrolled through her photo gallery on her phone, while her friend was patiently sipping his coffee on the other end of the line. He smiled at her through his screen as he saw her eyes light up with enthusiasm at the news.

It was their daily teleconference. Well, the morning one. Others would follow during the day.

It was the new quarantine routine. Some moan about it, while others do their best to show that distance doesn’t matter and it can’t keep us apart.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

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