MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “life is an adventure”

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.

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Getting lost

Have you ever sent someone in the wrong direction?

I stared at her, troubled, not knowing what to answer. Or rather, how to answer that politely.

Jenna was amazed at how many people would ask me for directions on a single outing. And that’s in a neighbourhood I don’t even know very well. Heck, I don’t even know my own neighbourhood.

What do you mean?” I responded perplexed.

I consider it an achievement if someone asks me something and I actually know where it is to tell them!

I’m the kind of person who gets lost two blocks down their house.

Yes, it happens.

When you have absolutely no sense of orientation whatsoever, getting lost is the easiest, simplest, and the most rational thing that can happen to you.

I was once told to “just continue straight ahead down the road” to the Metro station, and I got lost somehow, having to ask Google, the GPS, and a passer-by for help, in order to reach the desired destination 15 minutes later.

It happens.

And it is absolutely natural.

We’re not all born with a tracking system or a compass inside our heads.

It’s not easy finding your way around.

It’s actually an accomplishment getting somewhere without a GPS, and if you manage to go alone (helpless) a second time around, it is really something to be proud of. Let alone if you take a different route to get there.

So, you can just imagine the confidence booster it is when someone asks you for directions and you genuinely know the correct answer to help them get there.

Of course, you’ll get a few people lost first before you consolidate the route in your head to be able to pass on the knowledge.

But that’s just something that happens too.

Maybe

Life is full of unpredictable twists and turns.  You can never be sure what will happen, and that’s exactly what also makes it exciting. That you’re never bored. But you should always be prepared. Mentally, more than anything. To embrace the notion that whatever comes your way, be it good luck or bad luck, will be dealt with for what it is, and time will tell how it will develop. Even a misfortune can turn out for the best if you’re open enough to view it that way. Lamenting about it certainly won’t help.   

To illustrate, here’s a Chinese fable:

Once upon a time there was a Chinese farmer whose horse ran away. That evening, all of his neighbours came around to commiserate. They said, “We are so sorry to hear your horse has run away. This is most unfortunate.” The farmer said, “Maybe.” The next day the horse came back bringing seven wild horses with it, and in the evening, everybody came back and said, “Oh, isn’t that lucky. What a great turn of events. You now have eight horses!” The farmer again said, “Maybe.”

The following day his son tried to break one of the horses, and while riding it, he was thrown and broke his leg. The neighbours then said, “Oh dear, that’s too bad,” and the farmer responded, “Maybe.” The next day the conscription officers came around to conscript people into the army, and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. Again all the neighbours came around and said, “Isn’t that great!” Again, he said, “Maybe.”

Like Alan Watts said, “The whole process of nature is an integrated process of immense complexity, and it’s really impossible to tell whether anything that happens in it is good or bad — because you never know what will be the consequence of the misfortune; or, you never know what will be the consequences of good fortune.”

Bad and good experiences are all part of life; we need one to appreciate the other. And whatever happens, we’ll never know the consequences it may bring in the future. We just need to trust the process and believe that things will turn out as they should.

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.

Reboot

Let’s take a week off. We’ll call it a mental health week. Because a day is just not enough.

It’ll be a week when you promise yourself you won’t stress about things you can’t control and you won’t pressure yourself to do things you don’t enjoy simply because you have to. You’re only to do things you choose, that brighten your mood and lift your spirits.

Sleep in, get up and be lazy, binge-watch Netflix and Disney+, go for long walks listening to podcasts or music, get on the train without a destination in mind. Do whatever. Anything other than what has been draining you of energy for so long.

Burnout symptoms are not that hard to identify: inexplicable anger outbursts, constant irritation, inability to focus, sleep deprivation, constant agitation, and many more. But most of all it’s exhaustion; not just tiredness, but physical and mental drainage. Have you ever been so consumed that you feel tired before you even get out of bed in the morning?

Every machine once in a while needs to be switched off and on again to function properly, to declutter and reboot. Our bodies (and minds) work like that too. We need to reboot to revitalise ourselves to be able to serve our purpose better. If we cannot operate well – if we’re not even feeling well – we are of no benefit to neither ourselves nor to others.

We need those periods of taking a break from the world. Of deciding what we devote our attention to and to whom. Because life is short, and it’s a shame to waste days not feeling happy.

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.

Natural retreat

© Bill Reynolds

The human body is like a machine. If it is treated and fed well, it works like a charm. But the minute you neglect it, something begins to malfunction. Be it bad nutrition, overworking, mental exhaustion, tiredness, or simply not dressing appropriately for the changing weather conditions, the minute your immune system is down, problems start to appear.

It’s how a flu with a name gets caught, causing an exaggerated delirium in others around you.

On days like these, you need a natural retreat. Somewhere to escape from it all, with people who care for you and calm you down.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Dive head-on

We often lament that things change. But the truth is, they’re supposed to.  It’s how we improve, evolve, and grow.

Just think of the constant updates for all those apps that keep popping up every so often on your devices. It’s how they improve bugs and get the system working better.

We need the same for our lives too.

We need to be creating and choosing change for ourselves. To delve into challenges head-on so that we test ourselves and expand our limits.

Growth is always outside our comfort zone. It occurs when we dive into the unfamiliar, into unchartered waters, unprecedented situations, and the like. We will only find a different path if we tread into the unknown. And just maybe it will be the best decision we’ve ever made.

The comfort we seek

©MCD

There is a truth we inherently know. The comfort that we seek all around us is ultimately found in our homes. The home we go to for refuge. Where we feel safe and welcome no matter what. Where our people love us unconditionally. Where regardless of your state of mind, you’ll be loved no questions asked.

Home is where you run to when life just gets too much. When the thunderstorms become too loud and you’re unable to manage them on your own. When your bubble has burst because you were filled with too many expectations that were not realised.

We return home to feel comforted. Because here, you’ll never be left alone unless you request it. Because the only question you’ll be asked is what you want for dinner. Because it is a chance to reset and reprioritize everything you considered valid in your life. It’s a chance to renew yourself and change your mentality. To return stronger, more confident, and with the determined belief that things will work out well.

We need our homes to be our safe place. No judgement, no criticism, no yelling; only laughter, love, calmness, and security.

Wherever we make that home and with whomever we choose, we need to be certain we can run there whenever adversities strike. That we’re not left alone to weather the storm but we have our persons there to help us through it. Relationships all require hard work from both sides, nothing ever simply fits into place; we need to invest ourselves and our effort to making things work if they’re worth it. But to do that we need people who welcome us with open arms when we call and say we’re coming.

We find solace in a hug, in a family’s embrace, in a loved-filled home. And that is what helps us carry on.

Rain in a playground

© Roger Bultot

Happy thoughts are colourful. Like waking up to sunshine pouring through your windows. They are as fun and joyous as a ride at a children’s playground. They emit positivity and grant you an aura that makes you vibrate at a higher level, boosting you with confidence.

It is easier to create that happy mentality than to maintain it, though.

The latter requires effort we often fail to acknowledge. Or we’re too tired to do the work.

When adversity happens, our minds become mystified like clouds preparing for rain.

And when the thunderstorm strikes, our thoughts bring chaos to our world.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

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