MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “modern life”

The invisible battles

You know that cashier who was rude the other day at the supermarket? The salesperson who seemed uninteresting in helping you? The waiter who evidently ignored you no matter how politely you called numerous times? The person on the bus who took up the whole adjacent seat and did not allow you a space to sit, or the driver who broke out in rage at the morning traffic jam?

They all affect your mood somehow or other.

Because we allow ourselves to be unconsciously burdened by the other’s disposition.

Consider it: If you begin your morning with angered yells, noise from all around, impoliteness, offensive remarks and gestures, and a general irritation that has no apparent cause, won’t you too inadvertently adopt an agitation you cannot explain?

But what about if you started your day with a smile? A sweet good morning message from a loved one, an unexpected caring note, a smile with your take-away coffee, a ‘have a good day’ from the customer you assist, a polite wave from the driver you allow to insert the queue in front of you. Wouldn’t that instantly make you feel better? The satisfaction you receive is immense even from the slightest of things that may seem irrelevant to you.

That morning greeting may have made someone’s day. And it subconsciously also made yours too.

Be polite, always. There is no excuse for rudeness. Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

Courtesy costs nothing.

Open road

©Matteo Paganelli

There is a risk with being too comfortable with where you are. You become too complacent and too lazy to budge. Like still water in a swamp, you become stagnant as the world around you evolves.

The problem is, we too often take things for granted. A situation to which we’re accustomed does not necessarily mean that it will forever remain so. Circumstances change, often in the blink of an eye, yet no matter what we tell ourselves, we’re never wholly prepared for any of it.

Confusion is followed by an anguish of how to proceed. We need a plan. That’s what we pressure ourselves to have. But life doesn’t always work in a scheduled manner. Sometimes we just need to take things as they come.

Consider this, however: Without a destination, you’re never late. Because you have nowhere precise to go. You’re always exactly where you’re supposed to be.

Or like the cat in Alice in Wonderland said: If you don’t know where you’re going any road will get you there.

Perhaps we need to see the positive in every situation. A step-back always rattles you to change.

We simply need the courage to move ahead with more experience and determination than before.

Don’t be afraid to start over; you might like your new story.

Offline

There is a reason why many meditation and life-seizing coaches recommend you go offline for as much as you possibly can.

Scrolling on a screen all day steals your energy and mental clarity.

But most of all, it takes you away from life itself.

Because be it as it may, life is what is that blur that is happening around your screen. Just lift your head up long enough to devour it.

We go outdoors to breathe in fresh air; to socialise with real people; to view greener fields, bluer waters, and clearer skies; to marvel at the beauty of the world we live in.

Yet we do nothing of that.

Because even out there, we’re stuck on a screen. We’re so invested in what everyone else is doing and showing off online that we hardly exploit our ‘free’ time. As if a photo for a social post is enough to have said that we’ve done something different. Sure, photos are the concrete remnants of our memories. But there’s so much more to that. It’s all the moments we spend talking, laughing, doing things, hugging, and simply being around our loved ones that make the difference. It’s the feelings we create in those moments that cannot be captured or properly portrayed in a photograph.

So next time you’re out and about, around your favourite people (or not), put down your phone and observe the world around you.

You might just be amazed by it.

Wash your worries away

© David Stewart

There’s something relaxing about getting lost in nature. It is tremendously soothing to allow your mind to wander off, to stop perplexing over routine daily life problems, and merely enjoy the moment of all that the outdoors has to offer.

Water helps. The trickling of it calms your nerves, and the endless flow is actually better than any anti-depressant or tranquiliser.

Waterfalls are the best at this. They offer a combination of sight and sound, and if you’re bold enough, you can even dive into them to wash your worries away.

Just don’t take it so literally, and drown instead.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

The way we feel about it all

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We tend to associate people with events, circumstances, and above all emotions. It’s the feeling they evoke when we first meet. That aura they radiate. The vibes they emit. You know you click with someone from the first instance you set eyes on each other. And your intuition is often never wrong.

The thing is, if we encounter people at a negative condition, it’s very difficult to revoke that prejudice about them that we’ve already created. We may forget the event, or what actually happened, but what remains is how it made us feel. And feelings are an important part of who we are. They affect every single thing – from our attitude, our words our perspective, to our appetite.

It’s true that the chaos and irrationality that govern our everyday lives certainly do not help calm our often inexplicable nerves and agitation. But we try. We invest effort constantly to maintain a mental serenity that will help us get through the day, the week, the month, and so forth. It’s not always easy. And we certainly require some assistance in changing the way we feel. Perhaps we think too much about it all. Because our experience of life is seamless and smooth until the moment we stop to rationalise it all, to overthink, overanalyse and often overreact about it.

Reaction to life

Stress is your body’s way of activating your flight-or-fight response to a perceived state of danger. It causes your senses to go on alert, often resulting in convulsive – irrational – reactions, heightened adrenaline, faster heartbeats, and increased breathing rates, as well as altering your food digestion and consequently your glucose levels. Stress has multiple effects on our body, many of which we are hardly aware of.

It’s easy to advise a person not to stress. What is not easy, is to actually follow that advice.

You may have heard/read it before from so many sources nowadays: stress is a fear reaction to life and life’s constant changes. To manage it, we need to equate stress with fear and then begin to eliminate fear from our lives. We need to wonder why are we in fact so afraid? Why do we so passively give our power away? William James had said that “the greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over the other”. Because in essence, what causes our bpm to rise is in fact our own thoughts. If we replace the constricting and fearing thoughts we allow to invade our heads with positive and empowering affirmations – keeping it cool and focused – will actually allow us to reach what Louise Hay describes as “the totality of possibilities”. If you let your mind go beyond what you think is possible, you open yourself up to a myriad of options and potential.

What is interesting is the fact that many of us create the ideas we have about life by the time we are 5 years old. And from then on we live in the limitations created by our 5-year old consciousness, often stopping us from experiencing all that we could or desire. It is our own excuses, beliefs and limitations that obstruct our way. We have the option of either accepting them or overcoming them and moving beyond what we think is possible. Because it’s all in our head.

Anger is a significant form of stress.

One of the best advice on learning to alleviate it is what is termed as the “5-minute rule”. You should not spend more than 5 minutes stressing over something or being angry. Give yourself five timed minutes to vent, to moan, to scream, to let it all out. But afterwards, take a deep breath, and acknowledge that you cannot change what has already happened, so there is no value in wishing it were different.

Put simply: deal with it, and move on. Otherwise your just wasting your energy and time.

It’s not so easy to do. But it’s definitely worth a try. And if you keep at it, you’ll eventually get there.

What if we were really ‘fine’?

We search for advice in self-help books, teachings, seminars, life coaches and gurus. As if a resonating, well-put phrase will magically heal us from all our troubles and problems. We search for a solution without even attempting to look for it within ourselves, because we want someone else to handle this burden for us.

We do the same in our relationships.

We expect too much from others, and blame them for not living up to our expectations.

But we also tire easily as we mature. We’ve been through the same vicious circle too many times to still be so tolerant of it. We decide faster and more critically of what we believe we can live with and give a chance to, and who/what not.

Yet in this insatiable quest for social completeness, we often find that what current relationships are lacking is depth. Actually depth. To be able to look at someone and see whatever it is they are trying to conceal. People are hardly ever what they (initially) seem or what they want to portray. And we may spend a lifetime trying to discover their true character and actually failing to. If a person won’t let you in, won’t let you past the limits they’ve set to the outer world, won’t allow you in-depth access, you’ll never really know who they are. And it’s a shame. Because you will never know how connected you can become to a person otherwise.

It’s not just about having fun and filling in the gaps of your social calendar. Relationships are much more. It’s about dancing till dawn drunk, but also about grabbing a coffee and hydrating the next morning; about chatting incessantly for days, yet sitting quietly enjoying a meal together; it’s about sharing your innermost fears without feeling criticised, and feeling safe that you’ll hear a truth that comes from a good-hearted place and is solely for your own benefit. The right relationships help empower you; they make you stronger, more confident, and happier.

And in the end, that’s what we’re all looking for: a reason to be ‘fine’ and genuinely mean it.

Generation Gaps

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You know, when we were young, our only way of communicating with each other was if we were both home and both had a landline. Otherwise we were sort of lost in our own worlds”.

The young girl looked up from her mobile phone.

She was astounded by the truth of her grandfather’s words. She lived in an age where you could communicate with anyone anywhere in a matter of seconds. She didn’t know what it was like to not have a phone in hand and for her it was unthinkable to not be able to find out at any given time where anyone was and what they were doing. Mostly because her generation voluntary gave out that information online.

So what happened if you wanted to find out about someone but didn’t want them to know?” she asked coyly.

Well, you would have to ask someone who knew them too”.

But what if you didn’t want anyone to know?”

Like stalking?” her grandfather put it frankly.

Well, sort of…” she blushed.

There was no such thing in my time. If you’re relationship broke with someone, you tried to fix it. And if that didn’t work then you just got out of touch with them. And that was the end of it”.

The girl said nothing. She looked at her grandfather trying to imagine what that was like. Her generation was used to stalking each other on social media and getting obsessed with each other’s posts, overanalyzing, overthinking and overstressing. Everything in exaggeration. What was it like to not have to think about all this? To simply not care? To be calm?

Her grandfather was almost 100. He would still go out for long walks and had the patience of a mule.

She was agitated by even a fly’s buzz.

One time she had asked him if he never worries about anything. His reply was: “would it help?”

“To be calm is the highest achievement of the self” – Zen proverb

The longest distance

https://www.bitsoffreedom.nl/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/uphill.jpeg

Distance is a strange concept. Because technological evolution has made it possible to feel close to people who are oceans apart from us. Yet, sometimes, the distance that separates our minds with people who are right next to us is often unsurmountable.

Distance is often a way to see things differently. To view situations in another light or from another perspective. It shows us things we don’t want to see, we ignore, or we fear of acknowledging. But it also gives us a clearer view. People think they are the centre of the universe, yet from space we are just a dot in a vast solar system; we are too small and insignificant in this infinity.

In the end, it is not the kilometres that divide us, but the emotional distance, that which makes the feeling of loneliness all the more intense. It is said that distance is only a test to see how far love can travel. It is what enhances patience and expectation, sometimes even reinforcing the very feeling of love.

According to Tennessee Williams, “time is the longest distance between two places.” Physical distance can easily be overcome. But time needs courage.

We usually blame the distance for things we don’t want to do or for situations in which we need to justify our behaviour. We curse our fate for the difference caused in our lives by distances of all sorts. Yet, as Democritus said, “people invented lady luck to justify their own lack of will”. It is not distance that separates people. It is the lack of will and the silence. Because in our modern, evolving world, where there is a will, there is a way.

And ultimately, even distance is just a number.

Shine and sparkle

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The Christmas-New Year festive season gives us the opportunity to rethink a lot of things in our lives. Least of all, who our real friends are, who are the ones who actually care and with whom we want to spend these special days with.

But the season also grants you the chance to view life in a different perspective. To set goals and ambitions, to consider how many of your wishes have already been fulfilled and to become more determined about realising the others. It makes you stop for a minute and think what we really need to be happy and satisfied with ourselves and the life we lead.

In the current times, what is perhaps most important is the time you spend offline. Those moments you don’t post online for all to see and envy. The hours you spend away from your screens and without the temptation of needing to look at your phone every now and then.

You feel special not because of the digital life you pretend to have, but because of the people who actually surround you in reality. Who truly show they care and who go out of their way to surprise you simply to see you smile as brightly as the lights over your head.

It’s the moments that make you shine and sparkle that make your life complete.

And we should always make it a New Year’s Resolution to have more of them.

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