MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “learning”

Five Whispers

https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/x/number-five-birthday-candle-12979894.jpghttps://thumbs.dreamstime.com/x/number-five-birthday-candle-12979894.jpgFive is a milestone. Especially when it comes to time, and most specifically years. Five years of writing on this blog, I have come to realise that the more you manage to express, the free-er you eventually feel, and the more you want to write.

But, there is more.

You realise how quickly time passes and how much your life can change in the span of (just) a year. How many things can happen in 12 months that have the power to change your life, your mood, your perspective.

You come to understand that knowledge is truly power, no matter where it comes from. And you witness for yourself that the more you expand your reading, the more it embellishes your writing. A creative mind has no rest; it needs its outlets of expression.

When you start considering the passing of time, however, you conclude this very fact: “Life is about making an impact, not making an income” (Kevin Kruse).

Life will never be perfect. But we can choose to make it work.

And in the end we only need a few things to survive. But most importantly, when you love what you have, you have everything you need.

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Teaching how to disassemble the chaos

http://www.newyorker.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/O-Neill-X-Games-on-Ice-1200.jpgShe screamed something incomprehensible, slammed her hands on the table, sturdily got up and left the room. If there were a door, she would have slammed it in anger.

He remained staring at the empty seat. Motionless. Unreactive. He had become accustomed to such bursts of anxiety, as he called them. He knew that she would soon blow off steam and come to realise that he was right all along. But that was something she should do on her own. She needed the space to calm down and process it all. He knew she could do more. She just had to believe it too.

She soon returned embarrassed but full of thirst for more. He had succeeded in awakening her desire to improve. To reach the potential he had seen in her from the very first day.

She loved ice-skating. It was the perfect combination of dance, expression and imagination. And on the ice, she felt more liberated than ever. It brought some tranquility to her otherwise chaotic life. Because no matter what went on at home, during her busy schedule, or in the world in general, on that ice rink she forgot it all, and got lost in the music, allowing it to drift her away, into a parallel universe, a utopia.

She was a smart girl, craving knowledge, demonstrating a general interest in everything that surrounds us, and with a fantasy as large and open as her heart.  She generally respected her teachers, especially those who inspired her and taught her to love learning. Those who showed her where to look, but left her to see things for herself. The ones who taught her to be critical of everything she heard, and, no matter what, to always try and improve; to compete, not with others, but with herself.

But the one who she loved the most was her ice-skating teacher. He was the once who acted as a mentor, a guide, a psychotherapist, a friend, a family member. He was so much more than a teacher and that is why she could so freely unleash every emotion in front of him. Because she knew he would understand. And he would support her either way.

Like Albert Einstein had said, “it is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge”. Because it is a fact that the (right) teachers are the ones who create all other professions, the ones who inspire you to be the best you can be, and to find some order in the chaos that is our world.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Chaos

The unlikely bull-fight

http://kassowal.com/wallpaper/Sport-Wallpaper/Bull-Fighting/15.jpg«If you could go back in time and relive one moment, so you could do it differently, which would it be?” Mike asked his grandfather a question that he had thought about a million times before. It was a seemingly easy question; one which, however, was very difficult to answer. Because, really, if you were given the chance, would you want to have a do-over?

Grandfather Joe thought about it for a few minutes before answering.

“I’ll tell you a story,” he said.

“There was once a young boy. He was raised in a poor family and began to work from a very young age. He was imbued with the mentality that that is what people should do – earn their living in any way possible. So he worked in various jobs – from farming, to sheep-herding, to a cabin boy, to a waiter, to a teacher, to an office assistant. He did whatever he could find, because he believed this was the best way to earn experience.

One day, a renowned matador came to his village. He offered a bull fighting show, which gathered the entire village into the town square and at the end of it, he made a very interesting proposition. He said that he would give a tonne of gold to the person from that village who would be able to subdue the bull. Everyone had seen that the bull was very aggressive, and indeed very tough. No-one deemed themselves capable of such a feat. But the young boy stood up and declared he was up for the challenge. “I’ll do it,” he said decisively. The villagers gasped. They were certain he would be devoured by the bull in no time. But, at the same time, they were all intrigued to see what would happen.

So the boy stepped into the middle of the town square. He took the matador’s symbolic red cloth and waved it in front of the raging bull. The latter was snuffing air out of its nostrils, shaking the ground as it prepared to attack. The boy swerved as the bull scraped past the cloth. The animal became angrier. It missed again and again. Its rage increased with every miss. But the boy remained composed and continued. To the audience’s amazement, he then dropped the cloth and allowed the bull to run straight into him. But the minute the bull lowered its head, protruding its horns, the boy swiftly grabbed them and in an acrobatic move jolted himself above the bull’s head and onto its back. The bull-fight quickly turned into a rodeo contest with the bull kicking and screaming angrily at the unwanted rider. But the boy then struck a nerve on the bull’s neck with a sudden move of his right hand, and the rage abruptly ended. The village square sunk into silence. The boy climbed down the bull’s back, as if he was dismounting a horse. He approached the dumbstruck matador and asked calmly “may I please have that tonne of gold now?”.

The matador was amazed. The villagers broke into loud cheers and applaud. The matador was forced to keep his word and handed over the tonne of gold, but he asked the boy the one question that was on everyone’s mind: “how did you do that?”

The boy responded calmly, “I have done so many things in my life, things which many consider are demeaning or unworthy, but I regret none, because everything has taught me something and most of all I have learnt that you need to grab every opportunity that presents itself at that precise moment because it may never come again”.

“So,” concluded the grandfather, “to answer your question, if I lived again, I don’t think I would do anything differently. It’s not about regretting the things you did. It’s about regretting the things you didn’t do when you had the chance”.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: If I could turn back time

Whispers Three

three ice creamThree is a number that symbolizes completeness, the union of two opposing parts to form a whole. The one that sees the world as idyllic as we would like it to be; and the one who views the reality as it is. In three, we see reflected the right mix of the founding elements that construct who we are. For many, three is the number of good fortune. I choose to believe so too, because it’s been three years already since I first started this blog. And it has opened up so many more perspectives for me than I could ever imagine.

It is through this very blog that I discover who I am, what I can do, and what I would like to achieve.

It is by writing incessantly here that I can find refuge, experiment with creative freedom, record memories, share a travel log, and find a friend.

This blog has also opened up opportunities to explore all sorts of writing that is not simply limited to fiction, but goes beyond, to reflections, critical thought and political analysis. It allows me to believe that the world has no borders, and neither should your imagination and determination to do something great.

I am so grateful for all the followers I have gained (and continue to) during this journey. I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am and like me, you’re looking forward to more.

Keep whispering those thoughts in your head; sometime they might turn into actions that may lead to significant change.

The tunnel

TunnelShe first saw him on a sunny day, in a field strewn with golden hay. He gazed into her eyes with a smile imprinted on his face. She blushed and smiled back, eyes sparkling like diamonds in the sun. He came closer and let his fingertips brush against her arm. She chuckled and lowered her gaze.

Ahead was a tunnel. It mystified and intrigued them at the same time. It was one none had traversed before and it conveyed a sense of foreboding inside them, of exploring the unknown. It made them feel excited, sending shivers down both their spines and rapidly increasing the beats of their hearts. Their hands locked and they entered. Together.

The tunnel was as mysterious and unnerving inside, as it appeared from the outside. It smelled of roses and lilies and offered them food and drink and luxuries to fill their heart’s desire. At first. For later, no-one was to expect what would ensue.

It was surprisingly brightly lit for a tunnel. They realized only too late that it was their own glow that provided the light.

When the first storm came they had nowhere to hide. The tunnel had only one exit and that lay straight ahead. There were no sidesteps, no alcoves, to shade them from the wrath of a suppressed storm. Yet they never let go of each other’s hand. Even if they held on by a finger, they still held on.

After the storm, peace and calm soon followed. And everything seemed to return to the bright, tranquil path in which they had commenced their journey.

“I thought we’d never come back from that one.” This was the first thought both had, grateful they still had each other.

But they soon grew tired. Of walking. Of waiting. Of expecting. It seemed that they were looking for a way out that never came. It was not yet even in sight. And the storm returned. Heavier and more forceful than the first. Everyone told them to be aware of storms and the lightening, but no-one ever warned them of the thunder that came along. For the bangs were deafening and shuddered the very center of their hearts.

They survived yet again, but it was not the same. Something had been broken inside and they could no longer enjoy the tranquilities after the rain, as they first did. Yet they still held hands. Even as the tunnel darkened more and more.

Three years, seven months and 19 days they spent in the tunnel.

When they finally found the exit at the other end, they felt the last winter snowflakes splash onto their nose. It was a pleasant coolness from the humidity from which they emerged. They smiled, but it was a crooked smile. One almost forced. The melancholy released from their prolonged sigh wafted in the air around them. And in the second blink of an eye, the sun appeared from behind the clouds, restoring its light on their darkened eyes. But it could no longer retain the glow of their souls.

They had surfaced from the tunnel seemingly unscathed, but inside, they would never be the same again. They were not the same people they were when they entered. He looked in her eyes and searched for that initial sparkle, but it was gone. And she could no longer fix a smile upon his face. They could not recognize each other anymore.

And that is when it happened.

Their hands unlocked and drifted to their respective sides.

The pain in their heart was more than they could ever bear, but all they could do was struggle to go on.

Yet they always vividly remembered their tunnel journey with its memory forever engraved in their souls.

The tunnel experience made them stronger, for it too made them wiser in the ways of this world.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Use It or Lose It

10 ways texting can make you smarter

TextingTalking is defined as the action of communicating or exchanging ideas, information etc., by speaking, or by uttering sounds of some sort. In the modern digital world, talking is equivalent to texting. We spend so much time in front of a screen that our way of communicating has evolved to be through instant messages, emails, or simply put, texts of any kind.

In whatever way it may come about, talking is essential. Because it is always better to share something with others rather than keep it locked up inside of you. Particularly when something good comes along, not having anyone to tell and join in the excitement, sort of sucks out half the joy.

So here is a short list of why talking (in any form, and preferably with others) can make you smarter:

  1. In the quest to share ideas and find conversation starters or goers, you will eventually be incited to read more, thus learn more and expand your intellectual capacity. You will discover worlds out there you never knew existed and will be amazed by how isolated we used to be. You may even be shocked at how things we still take for granted are daringly fought for by others.
  2. If you can’t express what it is you think or desire, then perhaps you are not clear about it either. Albert Einstein had said that “you do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” Just remember you can’t (or rather, shouldn’t) comment on things you don’t know about.
  3. There is no other way of getting your point of view across (well, no other peaceful way) other than clearly stating your position. Don’t expect others to guess what you want unless you state it. The struggle to develop a coherent and solid argument will open the door to interesting information for you too.
  4. You will learn to appreciate the views of others. It’s always easier to criticize than comprehend. Every interaction should celebrate the diversity of views among us. Voltaire vowed to “defend to the death your right to speak”, even if he did disapprove of what you say. Freedom of speech and opinion is a fundamental right we so often take for granted and are so willing to boldly proclaim whenever it is violated.
  5. Twitter’s limitation of 140 characters has made every word count, forcing us to squeeze our minds into making those few words mean the most they can, and constraining us to say everything we need to in the fewest amount of words possible. Consequently, it has made us appreciate all the more the power of words. And spelling. And perhaps enticed us to flick through a dictionary. Or thesaurus.
  6. Talking to others makes you look at the other side of the coin. We all view life through our own one-sided perspective. But what about asking someone in a different situation how they view things? It will give you a different lens through which to view the facts and will open your mind to new thoughts and ideas. It may even bring you a step closer to understanding this world we live in.
  7. Through conversations you can learn how to do a lot – about how to turn a pessimistic person around to having a glimpse of optimism for things in their lives. How to become witty in order to respond to petty comments. Perhaps you will find like-minded people out there, or someone who challenges you intellectually and stimulates a dialogue from which you may all gain. It may lead to arguments you didn’t know you had until someone made you think of them.
  8. Talking may lead to the next great discovery. The innovation we’ve been all waiting for. Exchange ideas, develop them, compliment them through conversations. You’d be surprised at the outcome.
  9. The more you talk, the more you learn. And it is not just about the gossip. The more information and points of view you hear, the more you will be able to distinguish between the truth and the lies; between propaganda and realism. And the more you will be able to develop your own informed opinion about the state of things.
  10. Ultimately, talking and being able to express your thoughts makes you more attractive. It shows you are not a feeble by-stander in this exciting world. You take part and have a view. And there is nothing as powerful as a mind in action.

The world in a box

Opened empty heart shaped box isolated on white.When Matteo gave Chiara the little red heart-shaped box he wasn’t expected the shrill of delight that came out of her. He was always amazed at how much noise could come out of such a small person. But seeing a three-year old sparkle with joy and jump and down with excitement, was enough to wipe every worry from his mind. She was simply adorable. And that little box would change her life forever.

Chiara was a curious child to begin with. She loved learning and accumulated knowledge like a sponge. When she was three, Matteo thought she was ready to delve into a new world. That of languages. And he was right. Chiara loved it. She found learning a language was like playing a non-stop game. Having fun, but all the while learning. Learning things you never knew existed. About different traditions, cultures, people, who were in a country far away. But knowing how to speak their language also increased her chances of meeting them, of being able to communicate with them, of visiting their land, of entering their world. And that was the most precious of all.

From them on every five years, Matteo would give Chiara a little box. One that would hold the key to a bigger box with all the necessary material to learn a new language. Within five years, Chiara had become proficient in that gift-language and was thirsty for more. She couldn’t hide her excitement every time Matteo appeared with a box in hand. The lust for knowledge grew as her world expanded.

By the time she was twenty-five, Chiara could already speak six languages (her mother-tongue and the five gifts). She was much more open-minded, informed and knowledgeable than other people her age. For while her peers spent hours on social media and digital screens, she used her time more productively, playing language games, reading foreign media, and making friends from abroad. So when she decided to take a month off to physically visit the places whose language she had so profoundly studied, she had people ready to welcome her and show her the life of a local and not just the tourist sights.

Learning languages, prevented the clouds from shadowing Chiara’s sight. She was able to grow up with a more extensive view to the world. With friends across the globe and with a deeper understanding of how the world works that she could ever learn through a single educational system. She became wiser, simply for wanting to learn more. And for that she was richer than Matteo could ever hope she would be. Solely because he thought of a special gift, hidden in such a small box.

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