MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “happiness”

The illusion of control

Have you noticed how silent the world falls when it snows? There is a mesmerising silence as you look up at the foggy sky and revel in each of the magically crafted flakes of snow that gently land on your face.

As everything turns white, the world goes quiet. In places where it doesn’t snow often, this becomes all the more obvious. Because everything just suddenly stops functioning. The entire state paralyses because the city has been covered with a white blanket of frozen ice. Screeching, terrifying messages are sent alerting citizens to avoid movement as if there is a lethal peril out there. But when it starts to snow again, nothing really matters. Everything we think we can control is out of our reach. It is just an illusion that we can control so many of the external factors that affect our lives. Because the weather and its consequences are one thing we can do nothing about. We just wait for the whatever-named-hailstorm to pass, so we can continue our chaotic lives.

Snow is a chance to stop. To stop and marvel at how wonderful even the simplest and smallest of things can be. Look at how delicately and elegantly a snowflake is designed right before it falls to the ground and melts. Look at how every single thing you view daily (but never really notice on your hasty way to work or wherever your routine takes you) transforms simply because it is covered in white.

Sure, snow causes trouble too. But let’s stick to the positive here.

Listen. Listen to that beautiful silence as the world surrenders to these tiny flakes of ice. Just stop and take it all in, with all senses. And be grateful for all that we have but constantly want more.

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Let’s make a pact

You know those New Year resolutions we already forget in the second week of the year? Well, what if we were consistent in keeping them? Or rather, what if we set more feasible goals that were easier and more plausible to implement?

We have this hope – or expectation if you please – that what we’re doing on the first day of the year is how we’ll spend the rest of the year too. So, we put on our most elegant clothes, choose the company of our most loved ones, and try to be as happy as possible having fun. But is that illusion realistic? That we can maintain this atmosphere and emotion all 365 days through?

Life has its ups and downs and that is a reality we cannot ignore.

Stress is inevitable, as a psychiatrist friend highlights, we’re bound to be thrown off balance, but the emotional anxiety it is accompanied with is something we can be trained to manage.

When we allow ourselves to fall into unprecedented bursts of anger it’s because we’ve been suppressing too many feelings for too long, of the sentiment that our viewpoint is not being understood no matter how hard we try to explain ourselves. Panic attacks set in because we’re not able to promptly manage the stress that surrounds us. But what if we could train our minds to be as happy, calm, and serene as on that very first day of the new year? It’s not easy. But it’s not impossible either.

When something goes wrong, we are bombarded with a myriad of thoughts, mostly negative. But what we most lament is the time we lost. We feel that we are in a constant race against time in life and when things go south it’s the first thing that comes to mind and causes additional anguish. The time we allow to pass without doing the things that help us grow, things that we enjoy, being in places that calm us, being embraced and pampered by the people we love.

When we’re having fun, we don’t pay attention to how quickly time passes. When we’re not, that’s when it becomes more obvious. Because we miss things. We miss the things that bring a smile to our face, the people who make us laugh, but most of all the person we are when we’re with them.

What if we made a resolution to be stronger this year? To tolerate more but also less, to set healthy boundaries (which is always not as easy as it sounds), to laugh more and sustain yourself as best as you can?

What if we made a pact to make the most of every single passing minute?

Majestic

©MCD

When a child is born you see slogans flying around that a prince or princess has arrived. You want to do whatever you can to offer them everything their heart desires. And as we grow, we are prone to believe that we deserve the best precisely because we were raised to believe we’re royalty – perhaps not of blood but of spirit at least.

That’s why walking into a majestic room reminiscent of Renaissance century-old palaces makes you unconsciously change your posture to stand up straight and have your chin up.

We seek that feeling that we deserve diamonds and sparkles and fine wine and gourmet dining because we need that sense that we’re taking care of ourselves. If no one else gives us these pleasures of life, we can well provide for ourselves regardless. It just feels better to have someone to share the royalties with.

Fireworks all year

©MCD

Do you know why we use fireworks, sparkles and bangs to welcome the New Year? It stems from centuries-old traditions that sound and light made evil spirits afraid and were thus used to ward off evil.

We too hope that by filling the final month of the year and the subsequent first of the new one with lights and glitter will help bring luck, fortune, prosperity, health and blessings to our life.

Have you noticed how we light up inside and the world seems happier with all the festive decorations during the Christmas and New Year season?

We don’t need much to be happy and bloom. But we often forget that we are the creators of our well-being and happiness.

So let’s make a resolution this year to keep ourselves as happy as we begin the new months, to spread love just as we wish to receive it, and to keep the hope alive that everything will work out for the best with new adventures lying ahead.

Happy New Year everyone!

Cash at hand

A wise man once said that yesterday is like a void cheque, while tomorrow is simply a promissory note. Today we have cash at hand. And we should spend it as best and as broadly as we can because we will never have that opportunity again. The world is immense, and all we have is now.

It is amazing how when you rid your mind of expectations, you also alleviate yourself from worry. The less you expect, the less you’re troubled.

Truth is, if you take things as they come, you’ll also be happier. Because you act in the way you feel, exploiting the moment and not anticipating anything. So, whatever comes is a pleasant surprise. It also reduces the pressure you feel, both on yourself and on others, to act or react in a certain way.

Studies have found that 85% of the things we worry about never actually happen. Yet we incessantly consume our energy and occupy our minds we these possibilities.

We fail to comprehend that life itself is the perception we give it. It is the lens we choose to view it with that makes the difference. And as such, we are the masters of what we select to see. We either wake up determined to make it a good day or moan that it is yet another morning when who knows what could go wrong. Just think about all the wonderful things that could happen, though.

If the secret to a successful and carefree life is the law of attraction, begin from within, attracting and ‘manifesting’ (as is the latest modern-day trend) positive and luminous energy. If we consciously choose to change our viewpoint and reject the thoughts that pose so many limitations on us, we will unconsciously begin to see that everything around us will smile right back.

Sometimes we just need to stop thinking altogether; to get out of our heads, to stop being so scared, and just go for it. Either it will work out or it won’t. But wouldn’t it be better to try than to regret? And what if it does work? What if you fly?

Letter to Santa

http://www.shieldhealthcare.com/community/grow/2017/12/21/dear-santa-letter-from-a-special-needs-parent/

As a Christmas birthday child, this season is magical for so many reasons. Mainly because it’s filled with hope, anticipation, laughter, cheer, love, and so much joy. It’s the period when it’s OK to act like a child and feel like one too. Perhaps more so than children themselves. We feel everything so intensely and the emotions that fill the air during this most wonderful time of the year are no exception.

You never get too old to rejoice in the magic of this season. The fact that it brings people together. It fills your heart with excitement, optimism, happiness, and so much love. Particularly if you get to spend it with people who mean the most to you. Because in essence, that’s what we spend all year waiting for. To celebrate the best part of it (and for some, a birthday too) with those we cherish.

We’re comfortable with being vulnerable and letting it show. Of how happy we are when we enter an elf factory, or stand under a huge lighted-up Christmas tree for a selfie, or get lost in all the seasonal decorations of a store. We don’t mind to demonstrate that side of us, because it’s a part of who we are, and it’s contagious too. Admit it, you can’t not smile at a (small-sized) Christmas-obsessed person camouflaged as an elf among large decorations and rejoicing so much that everything else seems trivial.

Christmas makes us all kids at heart. So, it doesn’t matter how many we’ve experienced, we seize the opportunity to write a letter to Santa. It’s just that we don’t ask for toys anymore. We ask for moments, people, and emotions. We ask that nothing be taken away from us. We express the urge for love, serenity, and happiness. For things to work out as we deserve. For our heart’s desires to be fulfilled.

When we start writing “Dear Santa”, it all magically becomes clear; what it is that we truly want, what matters most, and what’s important for us.

Writing a letter to Santa brings back that innocence we lose as we grow up, that belief that we have that the world will be as magical as we dream it. It reminds us that what we dream we can create, and what we imagine we can be, as long we have an open heart and mind…and just believe.

Genuine Smiles

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There was a difference between when she smiled wholeheartedly and when she simply forced it. Her aunt knew how to read her. She was just like her. The fake smile caused more muscles to tense. It was strained and didn’t seem natural.

We all have moments like that. When we feel obligated to smile and be courteous when in fact we feel nothing like it at all.

Charlotte saw so much of herself in her niece. Joy lived up to her name most times. But when her aura clouded, it could be sensed a mile away.

“The secret to maintaining that smile is to keep the child inside you alive”, Charlotte said.

Joy tilted her face like a cat in awe.

Think about it: when we’re simply living in that moment, blurring everything around us to the point that nothing else exists beyond what we’re doing and who we’re with at the present time, aren’t we happier? We shift all our focus to that precise period of time that we don’t care about past or future or anything else that causes us concern and stress. We feel relaxed, playful, carefree, and genuinely happy. Your heart is open to love and…well, joy, and your mind is thinking positively by default. You view the world brighter because you’ve turned the mood switch to that direction”.

Joy smiled, her head turned back straight. The smile was authentic this time.

She didn’t need to say much. Charlotte understood anyway. She gave her a hug. One of those long ones where you wait for the other person to let go first and so you stay entangled for what seems like hours, laughing while you feel each other’s heart vibrate. The embrace was so tight, Charlotte could actually feel the crack that had marked Joy’s emotions.

We’re all loving people the way we wish we were loved and hurting them the way we wish we were not hurt”.

How different the world would be if we could – even for an instance – see things from another’s point of view, step in their shoes and view their perspective. How much better everything would be, if we could just let our pride aside for a minute and show some empathy to the people around us, particularly to those we say we care for the most”.

Sometimes, love has a way of coming back to you”, Charlotte added, loosening the squeeze.

If it’s meant to be, it won’t miss you. There is always a way if we truly want it”.

Inner conflicts

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It sounds like a cliché but it’s true: Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. You are not aware of what is going on in other people’s lives. You only know what they allow you to. If you are not at the receiving end of a heartfelt conversation, you’ll never know. You won’t realise the depth of the people around you if they don’t open up to you.

People long to share their emotions. It’s a way of maximising the joy of success and good news, and a means of alleviating the suffering of pain and sadness. It’s not about making you feel jealous or burdening you with additional problems. It’s about trusting you enough to confide in you their intimate details.

Secrecy breeds pain. In all aspects. If we keep things inside of us, we’re suffering so much on our own that we’re causing our own destruction. And no one knows.

We let people in whom we can trust. Whom we believe won’t scare away. Who’ll comprehend that what we want is someone to sit by us in silence while we share our version of the world.

True, we all have different viewpoints, but it is only when we are given another’s lens that we begin to see the world differently.

Icebergs have the extraordinary ability to be able to majestically float when the majority of them is underwater, hidden from the naked eye. We sort of do the same when something is wrong. We hide it under the carpet, hoping nobody will see it and pretending it will go away.

There is so much more to what we see in others. You can discern it in their eyes, in the authenticity of their smile, in the sincerity of their laugh. Happiness comes in waves. But it’s at the lowest points that we need help getting back up. Even if asking for assistance may seem like the hardest thing to do.

Every person you meet is going through things you will never know.

Just like you share in your head thoughts you will never speak of.

Peace from mind

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There is a concept called ‘emotional leakage’; it’s about letting your emotions overflow into your external behaviour. In simpler terms, you show exactly what you’re feeling.

Like this article notes: “For overcontrolled (OC) people who tend have a lot of impulse control, showing a flood of emotion externally and in a situation where others can see it, might be very uncomfortable or shame-provoking. Emotional leakage happens when an OC persons self-control has failed and their inner feelings are revealed and expressed more intensely than preferred. Emotional leakage isn’t a problem per se, except when it’s followed by self-criticism.”

This leakage, however, is often expressed in negative terms – in psychosomatic symptoms which our body uses to raise the alarm, to signify to us that something is wrong, that the entire system is not working properly and we need to change something.

If you think about it, when we’re happy, when we’re satisfied with work, we have a steady income, a stable life rhythm, everything seems to be going perfectly and the whole world appears wonderful in our eyes. But when an adversity strikes, when unexpectedly you’re forced to search for another way of surviving the increasing expenses and nothing seems certain, you view the world much differently and not so idyllic.

We’ve all been on both sides of this spectrum. But we tend to forget it or overlook it.

Happiness itself is fleeting,” says Rob Dial in this fantastic podcast titled “You don’t want to be happy”.

He explains that happiness is an emotion. And just like any emotion, it will be passing and gone eventually. Emotions change. So, what we want more than happiness is peace. Because peace is a state we enter in, and it’s harder to get in and out of a state rather than in and out of an emotion.

In the moments of our greatest happiness, we’re in our moments of greatest peace. Because we’re right there in that moment, thinking of nothing else. In our highest moments in life, we are so present in them that nothing outside them exists. You’re not thinking of your to-do list or of past mistakes or future challenges. Your mind simply goes quiet. And that constant story inside your head doesn’t seem to be screaming at you. That dumb story you’re telling yourself about who you are and why you’re that way is quiet in your highest moments. You reach a state of euphoria.

We want that peace from mind. From our thoughts. From our own self.

The mind is an extraordinary organ. It tries to protect us by fast forwarding about what’s going to happen and projecting into the future – it’s how we survive. It considers potential threats in order to keep us safe. But if you manage to focus in the present moment, your mind goes quiet.

The mind is an amazing yet complex tool. But we’re not taught how to use or control it. And instead, this tool becomes the master when it’s supposed to be our servant.

We have millions of ways to distract ourselves constantly – screens of all sorts, abundant information everywhere – it all stimulates our mind and keeps us wanting more. We become addicted to the temporary high.

However, there are various techniques to help you reach that much-needed state of peace. Meditation, for example, is tyring to get you to a state where you’re free from your mind. Allow yourself to calm down. It takes time, but it’s worth it once you get there.

Mindfulness is to place yourself in situations you find peace of mind as often as possible. Focus on that very moment and disregard everything else. It will help reduce stress, lengthen attention span, maximise awareness, decrease anxiety, etc. Our mind is like a computer – in some, like myself, there are at least two browsers running with a dozen tabs open in each. At some point, it will start being held back and running slower.  We need a restart every now and again to reboot and refuel.

Fear, stress, anxiety, and worry are all programmes of the mind. We need to cultivate silence as much as possible. To silence our thoughts, place things in order, and see things a bit more clearly.

If we take things one steady step at a time, perhaps they will work out more effectively and without harming our health in the meantime.

70,000 thoughts a day

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Experts estimate that we make around 70,000 thoughts a day. Most of them are obsessive-compulsive. And that incessant mental chatter steals our energy and drowns our focus. We’re pushed into creating scenarios about things that probably won’t even happen, interpretations that don’t stand, and events that aren’t true.

Yet, these are still thoughts that occupy our minds.

We have a tendency to gravitate towards the negative. If we hear ten positive things and one not-so-positive, we will automatically focus on the latter. Call it our innate instinct of survival, it’s what we feel threatens us and we need to act to fix it.

Perhaps the problem, however, is that we stick to how we think people should act. And that’s what makes us react so much to everything. Because we have in our head a whole list of actions that we are expecting others to make: to check up on us without any particular reason; to send a good morning text simply to show they’re thinking of us; to show up at our doorstep with a bowl of hot soup when we’re sick; to just sit with us when we’re not feeling well and all we want is some company to watch TV with. We long for things that others maybe don’t even think of: a goodnight call to make us feel loved before we end the day; attention when we’re upset; a smile when we’re frowning; the sharing of good news; a walk together to clear our minds. For us, we’re not asking for much. But nothing is obvious, and we shouldn’t expect others to act as we would. Perhaps that is the most difficult and troublesome thought of all: that we cannot expect others to behave in the way we would anticipate them to. We can’t compel people to change; they’ll do so if they truly want to.

We demand more of ourselves and oftentimes we force that upon others too.

We think too much and we perplex our minds with situations that sometimes don’t correspond to reality. But those thousands of thoughts soon take over our feelings. And that is the most dangerous of all. For we feel even when we sleep; when we spring awake from a nightmare, when we smile from the love we dream. We feel constantly. Some more than others. Not everyone can be as insensitive as not to realise when they’re causing trouble to others, or as empathetic that they carry the burden of others’ troubles. We need to find a balance. But the weight of our endless thoughts often hinder us from doing so.

We’re caught in an endless stream of thoughts that exasperates when we’re tired, stressed or worried. And this further adds to our exhaustion – both mental and physical. But like this article notes:

  • Just think how much energy and time you could have saved, if you could reduce the number of your thoughts.
  • Just think how much better focus you could possess, if thoughts did not bother you.
  • Just think how much inner peace, calmness and happiness you would have enjoyed, if there was a way to stop all these thoughts, which add nothing to your life.

Let me ask you, do you keep the engine of your car running after arriving at your destination? You certainly switch the engine off. So why not do so with your mind?

Some thoughts steal our peace, and in time, our lives too.

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