MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “lessons”

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.

Get out of your head

The reason we trouble ourselves is because we prioritise one thought over another. And that former one is usually a source of negativity and hypothetical scenarios that may never even play out. We need to get out of our heads and live in the moment. To appreciate what we truly have now, we need to stop dwelling on the ‘ifs’”.

She looked at him silent.

He was right. But she was too stubborn to admit it.

He gazed into her eyes transmitting a calmness that radiated from the depths of his soul. Even his breathing held a tranquil rhythm. She could feel the serenity soothing her. How could she remain angry at him? And for no apparent reason.

There are so many problems in the world. Serious ones. We don’t need to create more with our minds”, he said opening up his arms to embrace her in a forget-it-all-and-let-it-go hug.

Still she said nothing.

But she smiled, and her eyes lit up.

She loved him for this. For being able to comprehend her mood swings and loving her regardless.

Nine Whispering Lives

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There is a saying that “success is falling down nine times and getting up ten”. Because in every fall, in every adversity, in every challenge, there is a lesson to be learnt. We grow up wiser (hopefully), stronger, more resilient, and more prepared for all that lies ahead.

The number nine holds a special symbolism.

Among others, it represents fulfillment, life mission, wisdom, and higher consciousness. It is said to symbolize transformation.

In the nine years of writing this blog, this is exactly what the past year has been all about. Changes, in every form and every level, lead you to rethink your course of life, your choices, the decisions you’ve (not) made, the way you view your existence in general. Finding inner peace and mental serenity means you need to acknowledge what is not working out. And in so doing, change it. It’s amazing how life improves when you develop a positive perspective for it. It is essentially true that when you smile at the world, it smiles right back. Well, not always; but at least for more times than none.

Birthdays – even if just for a blog – are a period of reflection of how time has passed, how things have altered, how you’ve progressed and evolved. One year is a lot and a little, depending on how you look at things. It is 365 days of starting over and hoping it will be a better day, and not giving up no matter the difficulties you’re facing. And that alone means you’re stronger every day. Because you survive. And you maintain that aspiration that things will get better. As long as we can keep that attitude, it’ll all be OK.

In all the tragedies we face, we witness, we experience, we need to remember to be extremely grateful for the lives we live, the comfort we enjoy, and that imperative feeling of safety. It can all be taken away by a simple spark that turns into a raging flame.

So let’s live this one life, as if it we’ve had nine.

Bunny bearing boons

©MCD

The bunny is one of the cutest and most adored creatures on its own, but when it comes bearing gifts it is even more lovable.

Easter bunnies are the protagonists of folklore tales, in that they bring colour-coated chocolate eggs to children on Easter, prompting them to be good in order to increase their tally.

When Michelle was young she only associated bunnies with Easter and chocolate eggs, thus she was extremely surprised when one day she just saw one randomly sitting under a tree bark in a park, doing nothing.

We associate things – mostly memories – with whatever sparks joy, or rather positive thoughts and feelings. It is a sort of defence mechanism to help us survive. That is why we train our young to think in terms of giving and receiving – if you’re good, you’ll get more sweets.

Bunnies are creatures that don’t really expect anything from us. Yet, we gawk at them; at their simplicity, their natural instincts, their cuteness.

We make them even more appreciated by linking them to the blessings, boons and presents symbolised in Easter. It’s a way of pondering deeper into what this occasion truly means.

We have something to learn from everything in nature.

Just Jump

©MCD

He was born on a roof. His mother was a fan of jumping up there and laying in the sunlight. Cats love that.

But when he began to walk, he was too scared to jump that high.

One day, when his mother was not in sight and the kind lady who supplied the food called him to lunch, he had to jump a small height off a wall his mother had left him on. He fell clumsily after much thought, but he was too scared to ever try climbing that high again.

He grew into a beautiful fluffy cat. And he watched as his mother continued to draw in sunlight on the roof.

One day, he bolstered up all his courage and decided to go for it. After all, cats are supposed to be known for their dexterous abilities and flexibility.

He considered all his options, all the ways he could climb up. And then, in a spur of a moment, he did it.

He was up there, gazing at the world from above. And as he lay in the warm sunlight, with his elegant white fur radiating on display, he wandered why he had not tried it sooner.

So here’s (another) lesson you can learn from a cat: take the risk; the world always looks more wonderful from above.

The safety of true friends

What does it take to feel safe?

Is a lockdown enough? Is staying away from everyone and everything? How do we feel safe without raising walls and keeping everyone out? How do we stay safe if we simply don’t live, don’t allow ourselves to experience anything?

There is a story about a woman living in India sometime in the Middle Ages who owned a pet snake, which she loved. The snake was four metres long and seemed healthy until one day it stopped eating. The snake’s fasting continued for the next weeks and the woman, now desperate that she could not get the snake to eat, rushed to the vet as an ultimate solution. The vet carefully listened to the woman and then asked: “Does the snake sleep with you at night and wraps itself around you?” “Yes!” the woman replied surprised at how spot on the vet’s speculation was. She expressed her sorrow that she could not help her friend. The vet then told her, “Madam, your snake is not ill; it is preparing to eat you. Every day it comes around you and you think it is hugging you, it is simply measuring you up and preparing to attack. It is not feeding so as to have enough room to digest you more easily”.

The moral of this story: not every person you consider a friend has true intentions. You may have people around you who seem to care and with whom you share everything, whom you love and care for and believe that they feel the same. But, some think otherwise. They are snake-friends. Because kindness and hugs aren’t always honest and genuine. Consider that everyone who betrays you are people you know, people you’ve sat with and shared your innermost thoughts, who you gave a part of your soul to, because these are the people whom you gave the key to hurting you.

No matter how much they hurt, such experiences serve to teach us to read people better. To measure up who we consider worthy of our attention, time, energy, and friendship. Not everyone is bad. But not everyone is good either.

We are the ones who choose the people to accompany us in our life’s journey. The ones with whom we feel safe under any circumstance. And those who are worthy of sharing our most important moments are really the ones who prove to be so without even being asked.  

Eight Whispers learnt

Picture the number eight (8). Now imagine it fell sideways (∞). That symbol is of infinity. It is one of no start or end.

Eight is a symbol of infinity. Of a constant flow of energy, life, love and power. It is also often related to material wealth, money and success.

In a world filled with complications and diversions, the infinity symbol represents both simplicity and balance, as it reminds us to be conscious of where we are and aware of the endless possibilities that we have before us.

Eight is a powerful and dynamic number in itself. It is exactly one third of the 24-hour day. It is the number of hours we work, play and sleep. But it is also the time when, having been out all day, you realise just how quickly time has passed because you were genuinely having fun.

Eight is the number of years that have passed since I started this blog.

Every blog anniversary I take the time to ponder on how far I’ve come as a writer and a person, how I’ve matured on all levels, and how things in life have changed not only for me personally, but also generally in the world.

This year has been tough so far. And we’re still in the eighth month of it, having another third to go.

Yet, if we consider everything we’ve learnt so far, we should be grateful.

So here are eight whispers that I share with you:

  1. Everything – literally every single thing – can turn upside down in a millisecond. That is why you need to live and enjoy every moment you have. You don’t know how much more time we’ll be given. Why wait? The time is now. Do the best you can with it.
  2. Smile more and laugh harder. The more you emanate a positive aura, the more happiness you’ll spread and the more positive your whole day will be. We attract what we send out. Remember that.
  3. You don’t own all the problems in the world. There is always someone facing something more serious and more difficult than you do. Just work at having more skills to be able to manage and solve your own problems better.
  4. Choose your friends and co-workers wisely. You’ll spend with them more than just eight hours or eight days or eight years. Be with people you admire and who push you to be better. Share a mutual path to success and improvement.
  5. If you don’t take the risk you’ll never know. “A ship is always safe at the shore but that’s not what it’s built for” (Albert Einstein).
  6. Focus on what you want and where you want to be. So focus on the good, on the positive, on the light in all the darkness. Place your energy in lighting up the way to where you want to go. That is what guides you. You.
  7. Devote time to your education. A smart person never stops learning. Read. The more you read the more your mind and heart will open and the more you’ll see the world differently. The more you’ll appreciate it. And the more grateful you’ll be for all you have.
  8. Being successful also entails being happy. Otherwise, there is not much point to it. Do what makes your heart sing. What gets you up in the morning without snoozing the alarm clock eight times. Make your job your passion and work hard to achieve your goals so that you radiate with satisfaction and happiness when you realise your dream.

Life shouldn’t be as miserable and harsh as we make it out to be. Every hardship we are forced to go through has a solution or at least an aspect we can deal with and learn from. We just need to want to see the positive in all the bad.

We should want to smile more and change our lives.

Eight is also said to represent order and balance and a constant desire to master all important things in life. But sometimes we just need to go with the flow and adapt to reach infinity.

Independent confinement

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Tom was frequently likened to a cat. Mainly because, whenever he could, he slept for most of the day.

He didn’t mind being compared to a clever feline. He rather saw it as a compliment.

Cats are perhaps the most independent pets around. They can take care of themselves and act as if you’re living in their house rather than the other way around. They are the beings for whom the problem during lockdown is that everyone else is staying home with them. But they can also teach you so many things on how to manage self-confinement. They know how to adopt a slower pace of life as the norm; to seek out the sunny spots in the house; take stretch breaks; stay curious and always discover new things making each day exciting; contact a human every so often; keep a tidy space and clean yourself often.

Cats are the embodiment that life is easier when you’re not too busy with what others are doing.

The problem with people like Tom is that they can’t be like cats for too long. Everything in life requires a measure, a balance to be complete. And even though it is healthy to spend time alone; to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person, happiness has greater value when it is shared.

And in order to be able to live fully, we need more people (or animals) in our life. People who share our concerns, and who will seek us out whenever we choose to disappear in the most incredible hideaways.

We will meet again soon. For the time being, choose to shine; it’ll soon become a habit.

The value of a lockdown

©MCD

So we’ve spent perhaps one of the strangest Easters of our time. But we managed to celebrate it as much as possible, with people who are far yet near with the aid of technology, with love and wishes that know no borders, and with optimism and positive vibes that everything will pass and we will meet again soon.

The truth is that if you’re not in hospital, if you’re not sick, if you’re “stuck” at home with your family, if you even have a home, if you’re not entirely alone in a house away from your loved ones, this Easter in quarantine was not your worst Easter. In fact, it may even be your most memorable one. Because it taught you lessons you so far failed to see.

How to spend time with the people you share your home and life with; who matters and who cares enough to be around even if they can’t see you in person; the importance of exchanging wishes and words of encouragement even if no physical interaction may be involved. But most importantly, it revealed the reinvigoration of going outside for fresh air, for a walk in the park, or around your neighbourhood – parts of which you just recently discovered. How to spend time slowly, relishing every moment of it, to pause, to breathe, to enjoy things that we missed or didn’t have time for.

The lockdown is actually forcing us to slow down our pace of life and in the process to actually live our life.

And as we relax, inhaling the cleaner air around, we wonder why we haven’t lived like this for so long. Why this wasn’t the normal we are all longing to return to.

There will come a time when we will reminisce the weeks we were forced to stay home, learning to value the time we have and appreciating the small things that we miss, despite our constant moaning about our confinement.

Wouldn’t it be great if we would have learnt something out of all this and changed some of our habits?

“In the rush to return back to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to” – Dave Hollis

When all this shall pass

© MCD

For you to see the stars, you need a dark sky. That is the only allegory suitable to describe how to remain optimistic and patient in order to see the positive in a gloomy and tragic situation.

Staying positive, doesn’t mean you have to be happy all the time. It means that even on hard days you know that better ones are coming”. That is something we need to remember now more than ever.

Because around the globe, restrictions of movement, closed borders, bans on public gatherings etc, are all commonplace at the moment. We are all self-isolated….together. We are all in this together. Most of us are called to fight an invisible enemy in an unprecedented war from our couch. Others are on the frontline working night and day in hospitals, witnessing the painful consequences first-hand. All we are called to do is to #StayHome, #StaySafe, so they can help us out of this.

Viewed in another perspective, the whole world is frozen at the moment. As if someone pushed a ‘pause’ button and ‘regular’ life simply stopped. For how long, nobody really knows.

Sometimes even the hardships serve for a higher purpose. It is during the hard times that we realise how strong we truly are. (“We all have an unsuspected reserve of strength inside that emerges when life puts us to the test” – Isabel Allende) And we acknowledge what truly matters. The Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has proven 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. It is in our own homes and families in the end that we will remain safe. We learn that distance cannot keep emotions away.

But when all this shall pass – because it will – we will come out reborn, we will have learnt (hopefully) to not take anything for granted, to appreciate everything and everyone we have more. Because it is in this distance and isolation that friendships will be tested and relationships will either be reinforced or shattered.

Like Victor Hugo said, “even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise”. Every day is a lesson: the good days offer happiness and the bad ones, experience.

No storm lasts forever. But if we can stay positive in a negative situation, we win. It is up to us how to manage the situation we are in. “Fear has two meanings: Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. The choice is yours”.

We can’t change how all this started. But we can change how we deal with it from now on. And certainly what we will learn out of it. To become a bit more humane, empathetic and less selfish. To value the little things in life. To be kind to everything that is alive. And above all, to wash our hands.

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