MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “living life”

The difficulties of detachment

The reality is this: even when on holiday, on a leave, on a short getaway, we feel the need to be connected with the world digitally. We fear we’ll miss out otherwise. That something life-shattering will occur and we won’t know about it and we’ll be the only ones feeling we’ve been living under a rock simply because we don’t know of the latest trending topics.

So we spend our entire lives – without break – constantly attached to a digital world we are paradoxically trying to escape from.

We can’t turn it all off and disappear, although we know that would be the ideal.

We are unable to disengage, to discharge from the social media stress because we’re constantly thinking of our next post, our reaction to someone else’s post and so forth.

We’re caught up in an unhealthy antagonism of who’s having the most fun in the better place, and we waste time like this instead of actually having that fun and enjoying ourselves with the people physically next to us.

We find it almost impossible to distract our minds, to unplug from it all and simply relax. It’s as if we can’t not do anything. By now, due to the radical rhythms in which we live our lives, something still and tranquil is considered by our systems as abnormal. As something we are almost physically incapable of doing.

We are so dependent on our devices, we cannot enjoy the reality of doing things without flaunting them.

And in the end, we forget to chase our dreams because we’re busy chasing after the acceptance of people we hardly even know. For no apparent or useful reason.

It’s good to – at least try – to detach from it all for a while. To remember what it was like without the intrusion of social media in our lives. When everything – even our relationships – were so much simpler. And we weren’t all so constantly agitated and stressed that we are perpetually on the verge of a burnout.

Chasing Waterfalls

©MCD

It was a scorching hot summer day, but Jake was of the perception that you should grasp every opportunity offered to you to enjoy life to the fullest. The renowned waterfalls were very close to his holiday stay so he decided to go on the expedition early in the morning.

His car wouldn’t go that far though. It refused to budge further than the asphalt-paved road. So Jake had to get out, put his hat on, grab a bottle of water and take the trail on foot. Trekking was always one of his passions. He thought it would be an easy task.

But along the way, the road became steep downhill and slippery. Then small, sharp steps were added to the challenge, along with pointy branches that hit you abruptly. The temperature became humid and hotter as it took much longer than expected to arrive to the sought destination.

After an hour of trail – given that Jake took a wrong turn and had to go back to find the right road-sign for where he was going – he finally reached a rainforest-like path and could hear the sound of running water.

There was a crowd leading up to it.

Too many people meant he wouldn’t be able to enjoy it as much as he would like. Tourists often did not appreciate the cultural significance of what they were looking at.

Jake finally reached the foot of the waterfall.

You could hear the stream running from the top of the hill into a 3metre-deep pool. But that was pretty much it. There was not much to see and Jake was unimpressed.

Expectations often lead to disappointment. That was his thought at the sight.

And then he had to take the opposite route to return. And it was all uphill now.

Social norms

We live in a society that even inexplicitly wants us to follow rules. Unwritten regulations that are the norm. If you go against them, it is not only frowned upon, but you are seen as a reactionary, even an outcast. Simply because you don’t conform.

But it is not those who follow the path of the masses who ever accomplished anything. It is those who don’t fear to find a way of their own. Who have the courage to be different.

But until you find the strength to do something out of the ordinary, most of the time you are forced to live in hypocrisy. To socialise and be polite to people you are not even fond of, to behave “appropriately” according to context, to press “like” on social networks even if you don’t, to make positive comments even when you don’t believe them, to act constantly out of the character you know you are, simply because this is what is “socially acceptable”.

 We live our lives in fear of “what others will think or say” of us. And as such we end up suppressing our potential, hiding our true feelings and at times even dumbing ourselves down because the level of those surrounding us is so much lower.

What if we didn’t do all of this? What if we didn’t oppress ourselves the way we do? What if we didn’t care what others would say? What if we simply did what would make us happy and make us feel satisfied and proud of who we are? The world would definitely seem a better place, if only because we would feel more comfortable in it.

May you always…

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There are certain things you (can) do to get your mind off certain circumstances. Especially when those thoughts cause a change in mood, dishearten you and bring you down. One of the most recommended one is to clean the house. It is the best way to keep yourself occupied. Plus you get the added bonus of having a clean lodging afterwards.

When Marie put on her rubber gloves and took to general cleaning, she never expected the surprise she found wedged between the living room wall and the bookcase.

It was a note folded in four. It appeared worn in the sands of time.

It was handwritten in a blue pen with calligraphic lettering that revealed sentiment in the script.

May you live each day as if it is a wonder. May you revel at each new experience. May you never cease to learn, to read, to live. May you always be inspired by everything around you so that you too may be the inspiration for those around you. May you acknowledge your worth even when others don’t.  May you never stop caring for others, no matter who they are, small or big, two-legged or four-legged, bigger or smaller. May you dream, aspire, struggle, accomplish. May you comprehend that we achieve something even in our failures. May you be brave enough to survive the hardships, take the tough choices and be courageous enough to change things when it is time. May you always smile. May you never stop believing in magic.

It was signed ten years ago. Love, mum.

Everywhere and nowhere

https://cottagelife.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/3034764-slide-s-20-tk-of-the-worlds-most-jaw-dropping-rural-cabins-and-hideouts.jpgThere is a ‘dare’ going around online, prompting you to consider if you could live in an isolated cabin without internet or TV for something like six months. The prize would be one million dollars (or euros or whatever your currency is). To some this seems like torture. It is an unthinkable feat not designed for the modern age. Because nowadays our mobile phone runs out of battery and we run around in panic like headless chicken searching desperately for a charger, something that will keep us connected to the (virtual) outer world.

The problem is that a few decades ago, people did survive without internet and TV. In fact, they probably had a better quality of life too. We don’t appreciate that, let alone acknowledge it.

We feel the urge to be everywhere at once, to do everything even when it is beyond our capacities. We want to show that we are around, doing things, being places. But in the process, we are everywhere and nowhere. We do things simply to cross them off our lists, or to post them online, or simply for the sake of doing them. We don’t enjoy them, though. We don’t revel in what we’re doing. We drive and think of the other things we need to do in the day. We go on a trip and consider what we need to do when we get back. We dream of holidays but don’t experience life.

It is a shame. Because in the age where anything is possible, where we have the infrastructure, resources and technology to do so many things to help us move ahead, we choose to remain backward. Both in mind and in society as a whole.

Admitting to the problem

https://img.fotocommunity.com/sehnsucht-nach-meer-e5071e7c-1c5a-4ce7-88e1-8e87a1f6e2ce.jpg?height=400They say that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. In fact, it is true that more people would learn from them mistakes if they weren’t so busy denying them. In the same light, in order to begin to find some peace of mind, we need to acknowledge that we have none.

In our modern age, being (too) busy is a problem. But the thing is, we think that it is a privilege, an asset, or even something to be proud of – we actually boast of being busy. Of not having time for anything, not even of living.

We have lost touch of the things that matter. Instead of talking to each other and trying to help one another, to learn from each other and mutually improve, we have become so competitive that what dominates our relationships is hypocrisy and shallowness.

What is more, we don’t know how to relax anymore. We have become so obsessed about constantly having something on our minds and in our hands that we turn into inexplicably nervous freaks when we are faced with “doing nothing”. Keeping calm is not a concept the modern world understands. Yet, we so love to cant about it everywhere, we have drawn numerous gifs and images and posters and anything you can imagine, that begin with “keep calm and…”.

Let’s face it. We have become a troublesome kind. We are so afraid of being left out of pretty much anything that we create trouble where there is none, do things we don’t really want to do, and adopt styles that don’t fit us simply because they are the current trend. In the process, we choose to follow the crowd than stand out in our own unique way. And, like everyone else, we criticise or adore whoever and whatever is ‘in fashion’ at the time.

We don’t think anymore. And that is perhaps the most pitiful and severe problem of us all.

Be the chess player

chess-eyes

©Jeff Arnold

Chess is a game of tactics. One where forethought wins. It embodies life skills.

That’s why her grandfather taught her how to play since she was only a child. He said a chess game resembles life in that you shouldn’t waste even a single move.

At first she could never win a game. But like a Japanese proverb says, “we learn little from victory, much from defeat”.

Every movement of the chess pieces had to be carefully planned. It required independent and cautious thinking. She learned to move in silence and only speak when it was time to say ‘checkmate’.

 

Chess helps you to concentrate, improve your logic. It teaches you to play by the rules and take responsibility for your actions, how to problem solve in an uncertain environment” – Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

The truth about memories

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In those moments when you stop and just listen to yourself breathe, what passes through your mind? In those instances when the answer to “what are you thinking” is sincerely “nothing”, what is it that occupies the images in your head?

Often, it is memories. Past experiences, feelings, sensations, things we lived, saw, said.

The truth about memories is that you choose to remember them. You select which ones you carry around with you.

They are usually the happy ones; the ones from your childhood playing carefree with your parents and siblings without any problems hovering above you. It’s those instances that are filled with heartfelt laughter and genuine love. True unconditional deep-down mind-blowing good times.

But there are also the painful ones. The memories that have scarred you. That have broken you and showed you that you are stronger than you then thought because you managed to heal and survive. They are the experiences that have irreparable placed their mark on you. The ones you’ve never truly overcome, either because you’ve not forgiven them or because the hurt serves as a reminder to always be cautious. They are the memories that feel like a punch in the stomach and a cringe in the heart every time they are recalled to mind. But they are too part of what shaped you.

Memories, either good or bad, are part of who we are. They are what cause us to become the personalities we are, with the mentalities we have, the thoughts we carry and the ideas we generate. They are what are responsible for our moods or mood swings, for our optimism or realism, for our cynicism, our hope, our despair, every aspect of what makes us….unique.

The catch, however, is to remember that these memories belong to the past. The present is there for you to create more memories, to live a life worth remembering in the future.

 

Dispersing energy

https://www.google.gr/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=imgres&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiRh_a2vsLdAhVByxoKHdd8DyAQjRx6BAgBEAU&url=https%3A%2F%2Ftechcrunch.com%2F2015%2F06%2F30%2Fplanting-the-seed-silicon-valley-mind-control-and-finding-order-in-chaos%2F&psig=AOvVaw238YOYe_j6rwSyvyLP_nc8&ust=1537289132528063There is a quote that helps us remember that we need to devote our energy into the things that matter. There are many sayings, in fact, but this one is the most emphatic: “If you can solve your problem then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?” Clever, no?

Think about it. There are so many quotes we share in our lives daily, reminding us to “don’t worry, be happy”. For example, “the 5 by 5 rule:  If it’s not going to matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes being upset by it”.

We tend to overreact to things that don’t matter as much as we think. And we often drain ourselves of the energy to react effectively to the things that do matter and need our attention.

If we were given life to disperse energy, then why not make that diffusion a positive one? Why do we spend so much time with negative energy, complaining, moaning and lamenting? Wouldn’t our lives be better if we focused more on smiling, on being kind and sensitive, on putting ourselves in each other’s shoes once in a while, on trying to understand the other’s perspective, on being a ray of light in a world that insists on dark shadows?

Think about it.

Keep calm

https://www.mindful.org/wp-content/uploads/Calm.jpgCalmness is the cradle of power” (Josiah Gilbert Holland), that is why being calm – having a clear mind and a patient heart – is nowadays considered something like a superpower.

Never before did mankind need so many motivational resources on how to be calm, find calm, calm down, and all the likes. Earlier generations considered being calm and having time to relax a given. But in this one, when everything moves so rapidly, when you’re away from a screen for an hour or less and new developments have already taken the course, people don’t have time to relax or slow down. Or so they say. In essence, we refuse to do so out of fear that we may miss out on something. That is mainly why youth are so attached to their mobile phones, checking social networks every so often. It is the very fear of missing out that stops us from actually living our own lives. Of doing something memorable that you don’t need to post on the web because it would lose its significance that way. Not every moment we experience needs to be demonstrated on line. We don’t cease to exist when no one is watching.

That anguish we have of what the world does or sees is also what keeps us so much on edge. Why we can’t stop even if we try. Why we sit on a couch at the end of the day to watch something irrelevant on TV and still find ourselves thinking about a million other things or be skim reading on our tablet or phone. It is also why when we do manage to switch our brains off, we instantly fall asleep. It is an accumulation of prolonged tiredness.

There are a series of “inspirational mottos” about pretty much everything. They begin “Keep calm and…”. Because we need to be reminded and prompted to calm down.

Apple has even created an app for that too. It was named App of the Year for 2017 and it is called “Calm”, offering “Meditation techniques for Sleep and Stress Reduction”.

Isn’t it ironic how we need an application to remind us to “breathe” or “do nothing for 15 seconds”?

Maybe we all do need some “mindfulness”, that “basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us”.

All we really need is to live fully, deeply and constantly and let our mind wander whenever it can. But in the world we live in, being calm and relaxed has become some kind of superpower.

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