MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “living life”

A Platanus of history

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©MCD

There is a quote that says, “imagine if trees gave free WiFi; we’d all be planting like crazy. Too bad they only produce the oxygen we breathe”.

Trees are more important and vital for our lives than we believe or even give them credit for. They contribute to their environment by providing oxygen, improving air quality, climate amelioration, conserving water, preserving soil, and supporting wildlife. They produce the wood we use to light our fireplaces in the winter, make our furniture, even the paper we write on. Yet, we cut them down without second thoughts.

It is no wonder then, that when we come across a tree that is centuries old we treat it as a wonder of nature. We stand before it dumbfounded, gazing at this stupendous sight. And it makes you truly feel small and insignificant.

There is a place in North Evia, Greece, somewhere along that nature-blazing road that has you driving among trees, on your way towards the Kyreas River, in between the villages of Prokopi and Mantoudi. There is this place where a sign will direct you to the “Great Platanus”. A plane tree that residents will tell you has been there for centuries. It is “a tree of huge dimensions”, as the sign reads, a “monument of nature”. A Platanus Orientalis. It is 22-23 metres tall, with its trunk’s circumference reaching 18 metres, its trunk diameter at 5.5 metres, the surface of its stem at 900 square metres, and its shadow said to be once stretching over 2.5 acres. Its age is estimated at 500-600 years, although some say that it exceeds 2,300 years! It is said that this is the most ancient Platanus in the Balkans, perhaps even the whole of Europe.

20171028_133927Its tree trunks are larger than what can fit in your wide-open arms. It stands imposing before you and, even though lacking in foliage and somewhat deserted and with broken branches, the vastness of this tree is not diminished. Rather, it is a refreshing site in a world full of asbestos and tar. There is also a huge hollow in its trunk, big enough for 10 or more people standing. In it, you suddenly forget all the problems that trouble your head daily. You take a deep breath and simply be grateful for being alive. For being there. And for being able to witness this. Just think about all the changes this tree may have witnessed. It was there before you and will probably remain so even after you.

20171028_133932As with all over-aged creatures, there are myths and legends surrounding this tree. For example, it is said that if someone falls asleep in its hollow, they will fall ill or harm will come to them, as goblins will come out and cast a spell on them. In another legend, if you are found at midnight under the tree, you will hear voices, music, violins and clarinets, and see fairies and goblins appear dancing at the shores of the river. In yet another, it is said that at midnight two large rams come out of the platanus and start noisily fighting each other. This tree is often associated with fairies and goblins as it was believed that, being over-aged, it was also haunted.

No matter the stories, however, the reality remains that this, like so many others, is part of our natural heritage and should be protected and preserved. We devote so much of our time, energy and funds to things that matter less, yet we abandon those that benefit us more.

N.B. All photos are mine, taken in North Evia, Greece, on 28 October 2017.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Gratitude

 

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Master your days

http://lemerg.com/967936.htmlEvery day is a new opportunity. You’ve heard it before. But you know it is true. Because you wake up each day having a new target in sight. At least you should. And you don’t know how much you’ll manage to accomplish, to achieve, to fight, to tolerate, and to accept, until the moment you re-think you’re entire day when you return to bed that night.

Every day teaches us to be stronger. It makes us see that we are worthy and capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. That if we set our minds to it, we can “move mountains”. We are richer in more ways than we acknowledge. And if we read a little bit more, open our eyes a bit wider and allow our minds to broaden, we will find that enlightenment will sweep its way into making our lives better.

Every day we realise that we need to constantly improve. That we won’t always receive what we give; not even what we expect. We see that we’re not always surrounded by people who want our best. In fact, there are so many hypocrites around us, filled with jealousy and envy. Everyone we meet is there for a reason. Those scornful of us are to prove that we are doing something right, being better than them. Life has a way of providing lessons, either through the people we meet or through the situations we face.

Every day is a journey. To find out how much further we can travel. How much better we can be. How stronger, kinder, braver.

Every day is a chance to make life better. Don’t waste it.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Enlighten

Take a breath of life

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BuY3ZuxIEAAVFHC.jpgTake a deep breath. Slowly. Inhale and feel the air enter your lungs and fill your insides. Close your eyes. Now exhale. Free your mind of your thoughts. Allow yourself to be conscious of what you’re doing: you’re not just breathing. You are being alive.

Now do something more. Don’t just exist. Try to live.

You don’t need to worry so much about everything. Life has a way of making everything work out. Some way or another everything will fall into place.

And remember, smile. It’s the prettiest thing you can wear, and it’s contagious.

You’ll always be hit by negativity – from the people surrounding you to events that affect you. But you need to train your mind to see the positive behind it all, or rather despite it all. Don’t allow a little negativity to stop you from seeing all the good that’s around you.

Happiness, they say, comes from inside you. You just need to find the motive to bring it out.

It’s all a matter of choice. Just like the quality of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.

So breathe.

Believe that better things are coming.

Breathe.

Everything will be all right.

If each day was our last

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©MCD

“What would you do if it was your last day on Earth?”

Psychologists often use the question to calm you down. To make you realise what is truly worth your attention and the degree of stress you devote to an issue. It helps you prioritise your problems and makes you see how small most of them are. Because we aren’t going to live forever. But we should make every minute of that existence count.

So what would he do if it was his last day? Alfie let his eyes gaze beyond the horizon as he pondered this life-existence question.

For starters, he would want to spend this last day – and most of his days actually – with the people he loved. He wanted to be happy. To leave, remembering what that feels like. That irreplaceable sentiment of feeling your heart full of love, laughter and happiness. Of feeling complete and of having everyone you want to spend your life with right next to you.

Then, he would like to go on a road trip; to drive through a forest, to feel the breeze whistling through the leaves, to take a deep breath and feel his lungs fill up with oxygen. To feel that you are inhaling life.

And he would want the day to end at the beach. To listen to the waves slowly caressing the golden sand. To watch as the sun set into the ocean, painting the sky shades of yellow, orange and red.

He would want to live his last day as fully as possible. With no regrets. Nothing that would alter or in any way affect a good mood.

“You know, Alfie,” said his psychologist with a wisdom grin on his face, “you can fill your life with days and moments such as these you described. All you have to do is pretend every day would be your last. And you’ll cherish every single minute of the time that is given to you”.

That sense of Spring

https://lh6.ggpht.com/3Z9IXTyeb56d_T01p0zMpADNHlaeu0GKw8rseQRKYJWjCXdmtIOS_9WjQLa_-pr_Kg=h900It’s when the first warm rays of sun slice through your window that it strikes you. When that warmth diffusing into your skin and you turn your head to view a clear blue sky. That is when you feel it. How exhausted you are from not stopping even a minute to just…breathe.

When the birds begin to sing louder and in a greater chorus; when light and music overwhelms your living space; when you open the doors and windows to welcome in the fresh air; when colour takes over more of the day; and when everything seems so much more vivid and more alive, that is when you know Spring has come.

And you feel it inside you too. That need to relax a bit, to do something different, to get away even for a few hours. You see it around you – cabriolet cars and motorbikes start to appear more often, walks on the beach become the norm, and people are overtaken by the urge to sit outside and soak up the sun.

It all becomes more vivid in Spring. That sense that we should be grateful to be alive and that we should be relishing each and every moment we have.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Vivid

Those little life moments

http://www.travelagentcentral.com/files/travelagent/nodes/2013/42654/carnivalmarketing1.jpgRemember when as a child you make list of things you want as presents for your birthday, or any other potential occasion? Remember how easy it is to get upset about material goods – about not having them, about losing them, about breaking them? Remember how easy it is for such occasions to ruin your mood? And then, later on, you feel worse that you allowed such instants to take complete control over you?

It is only as we grow older that you realise that the point of life is to appreciate moments not things. Because it is in fact the little moments that make life big. Those moments you spend with your family and loved ones. The ones that take your breath away, when your stomach muscles ache from all the laughter, when you brainstorm for ideas together, or begin to examine insane theories, or engage in long-drawn discussions that only end because someone has to go to the bathroom. It is the moments spent making each other smile and thinking that there is nowhere else you’d rather be. It is those exact moments when – at this time and age – you forget to look at your phone.

It is certainly true that sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. It is when you begin to miss things that you acknowledge their worth. So as long as you still have time, the best thing to do is manage it as best as possible, to reap as much as you can out of the moments that make you happy.

Don’t wait for those moments to come. Create them. All it takes is something small – a thought, a gesture, a random act of kindness, that is enough to make someone feel complete and a life worthwhile.

Those small things

20131205-195848.jpgThere’s a saying that “the best things in life aren’t things”. Sometimes, they aren’t. But sometimes it is remarkable how the smallest of things can make you feel all warm inside, and genuinely happy.

We live in a world of plenty – at least the lucky Western part of the globe – that we often forget what it means to have certain things. Things that we often take for granted, like clean water, clean sheets, and a house full of loved ones to return to each day.

And sometimes it doesn’t take much to make someone smile. All you need is the knowledge that you have people who love you stand by you, ready to support you no matter what.

All it takes is for you to see your work published, instantly filling you with the gratification that you are doing something worthwhile. And that work is exactly what enables you to buy something useful – like a new tablet you’ve so longed for – that makes you beam up like a lightsaber at the very sight of the screen turning on, and overwhelming you with a warm feeling of satisfaction and joy.

It is the things like entering a room and having a dog or cat run up to you with eyes gleaming and a tail wagging with joy. It is sitting on the couch rolled up in a blanket watching a movie with someone you love. It’s playing board games on a rainy afternoon with the fire crackling. It’s receiving an unexpected (but very welcome) present.

So I guess, most of the times it is the smallest of things that make life matter. After all, that is the point of living a life of purpose, rather than one of material goods. And it is the very difference between living a life and merely surviving it.

‘Déjà vu’s and crystal balls

cloudy-ball224 hours in a day sometimes do not seem enough. Apparently, the right division of the day is 8 hours work, 8 hours play, and 8 hours sleep. When the first two are sort of combined, i.e. you actually enjoy what you are doing as a job, then there is a bit of a muddle-up and you end up simply not having enough time to do all the things you want.

The day passes by really quickly, particularly if you’re running around trying to get things done, that you end up filling up your working place with post-its and lists of what needs to be done, other notes on what not to forget, meetings and even key words. It’s great getting to cross things off your list. But it is a bit of a problem when you cross off one thing and add another five onto another list.

I’ve also realized that no matter how many “déjà vu”s you may have, these don’t really help. Simply because even if you do feel that you’ve lived that specific moment before, it never enlightens you about what may happen next. No-one can foresee the future, no matter what they say. It is something that you are supposed to create on your own.

Life would be different if we all had a crystal ball into which we could look and prepare ourselves for the future, but then we wouldn’t have all the emotion, the rush and adventures in getting there…and where’s the fun in that?

Also part of NaBloPoMo (November 2013)

Also part of Daily Prompt: Twenty-Five Seven

Chasing rainbows

raingbow-potIt is said that in order to enjoy the rainbow you must endure the rain.

Yet, one of the often most idealistic images that springs to mind when people use the word “romantic” or “dreamer” is that of a small animal – usually a kitten or puppy – chasing butterflies in a green, flowery field. It’s the image of someone intent on chasing a target, even if they may never catch it. The personification of going after a dream, no matter how hopeless it may seem, or how futile it may appear.

It’s like going after the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

It means having the persistence, the insistence and the energy to strive for what you want. Given that you know what that is, of course. Because “if you don’t know where you’re going, you may miss it when you get there” (Kathleen Long).

Being a rainbow-chaser is fun. Because it means you can do what you love, because it will bring you closer to your dreams. To your goals. To exactly what you want from life. Or at least as close as possible to it as you can get.

It means living life to its fullest. Taking advantage and seizing every opportunity you can get.

It means experiencing the world, learning, viewing and thinking. It’s about pondering about everything around you and having the patience and the passion to go after what you’ve imagined to be ‘ideal’, ‘idyllic’, or simply wonderful.

Because once you reach that rainbow, you will see the colours pouring down upon your head. And just maybe, at the bottom you will find your pot of gold too!

 

Also part of Trifecta Writing Challenge – the prompt word was rainbow (noun):

3. [from the impossibility of reaching the rainbow, at whose foot a pot of gold is said to be buried] :  an illusory goal or hope

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