MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “nonfiction”

You’ll know

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There is a sensation that overwhelms you the first time you lock eyes and you share a conversation. You know. It doesn’t take more than a few seconds – minutes top – but the feeling arrives. Or it doesn’t. You know.

With every person you meet, you can tell from the start if the continuation will be good, or at least worth pursuing. Be it out of simple curiosity, you might give it a chance. But the intuition is real and often it is much more aware of the situation you’re in than you yourself. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

Be it with friends you’ve grown out of sync with, or with potential flirts that have nothing more to offer than a few interesting initial conversations, your psychosomatic signs will make you understand when it’s time to move on and find others who might be more of an intellectual stimulation as well as a pleasant company.

As we mature, as we make our way through life, we acknowledge that there’s always much more to living than simply scraping the surface. You quickly tire of people who cannot hold an intriguing or interesting conversation with depth that has nothing to do with gossip or daily routines, but rather something genuinely attention-grabbing: things you read, or simply thoughts you catch as they fleet instantaneously from your mind and may be interesting to share. From the slightest silliness to the most bizarre thing you heard, anything out of the ordinary can actually be a measure of how much there is to discuss with anyone after all has been said and done.

We tend to seek more out of the people around us. Because if we ourselves are active and in constant search of a higher level in everything we do, we want to surround ourselves with like-minded, goal-oriented, perceptive people. We help each other grow, evolve, be better. That’s how (healthy) relationships work.

We encounter so many people in our lives. Some for a while, others come and go, and few remain. But each time, if you think back to that first happenstance, you feel it. You sort of know how important or not they’ll be.

There are people whom you keep forever and hope to hold on to. Because that feeling is mutual.

But there is an even stronger emotional bond to those who entered your life, disappeared for a while, but searched their way back in. It’s as if there is an invisible thread uniting your lives and drawing you back together wherever you’ve been. It’s those people you feel most comfortable with. It’s people like that we need but rarely find. Who ignite that special feeling. And you just know.

Languishing

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Do you feel it too? It’s quite common nowadays. That sense of not moving forward, of being underproductive, of aimlessly drifting in life. There is a term coined for it: it’s called languishing. Quite the opposite of flourishing, it’s the sensation of feeling empty and stagnant. Of feeling “blah” and “meh”. It’s the loss of purpose that two years in a pandemic have caused. That absence of meaning for anything we do.

As this NY Times article explains: “Languishing is the neglected middle child of mental health. It’s the void between depression and flourishing — the absence of well-being. You don’t have symptoms of mental illness, but you’re not the picture of mental health either. You’re not functioning at full capacity. Languishing dulls your motivation, disrupts your ability to focus, and triples the odds that you’ll cut back on work. It appears to be more common than major depression — and in some ways it may be a bigger risk factor for mental illness”.

People worldwide have been affected by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic to a level they cannot explain. Hence, the term invented for this inexplicable feeling. We are dispirited, discouraged to do more. It often appears that we’ve lost the will to do something astounding because we see no point in it anymore. Our mental health is perhaps our most valuable asset and what has been most severely affected by this pandemic. Yet, we usually don’t recognise it, sometimes because we don’t want to admit it, and most times because we can’t really explain what it is that’s wrong.

We’re angry more often than usually. We become irritated by the slightest of things – by the tone of a person’s voice, the queues at the supermarket, the agitation in traffic jams, the high prices, the stalling of public transport, the inefficiency of the public service… anything can spark a distress that is difficult to mentally control. And then it becomes a domino effect of things going wrong, adding to the existing stress and the thoughts about the futility of it all.

Counsellors advise you to name your emotions, to get in touch with your inner self through mindfulness, to take it easy and give yourself time to go through the process, to relax and enjoy things as much as possible, to generally ‘be present’. We are told to focus on small goals because they are more easily achievable and bring satisfaction all the same. To transcend this feeling we need to start small, acknowledging, however, what we’re dealing with. Managing mental challenges is a feat in itself. Immerse yourself in what you do, be it a project of any kind, or a Netflix marathon; if it absorbs your uninterrupted attention it will help keep your mind off existential questions. It also helps to speak to like-minded people, who keep you calm and optimistic about life. Changing the scenery also helps, from redesigning a room to travelling abroad.

Languishing is not a disease that can be healed. It is a state – of mind, of psyche, whatever you may call it – that is greatly affected by the circumstance in which we live. Perhaps not everything is in our hands to control, but the way we react is. What we can do is realise that the best way to defeat whatever is bringing us down is to face it head on, and simply not let it. Whatever disrupts our mind, is what overpowers it and guides it too.

Moments of time

There are 86400 seconds in a day. But one is enough to change an entire life.

An instance is what you make of it – it can last entire minutes, losing track of time itself when you’re having fun; or it can be so small that it cannot even be measured when something tragic occurs.

It’s all a matter of perspective. And what we do with what we have.

William Penn had said that “time is what we want most, but what we use worst”.

Lao Tzu in turn uttered that “time is a created thing; to say ‘I don’t have time’ is to say ‘I don’t want to’”.

We often spend our days appearing busy, too much even for our own sake. We make lists, set schedules, post-its, reminders, afraid of missing something, of not having time to do everything we need to or want to. We miss calls from family and friends, postponing their return-call or desired meeting to a later time when we won’t be so pressed. We cram as much as we can in those 86400 seconds of the day, and we still feel they are not enough.

But when something happens – when those few seconds suffice to capsize everything, what matters the most? The clients we gained, the money we earned or the friends we lost and the moments we sacrificed along the way?

It only takes an instance to make us stop and reconsider everything we do. What is of true value, what is significant in those seconds we waste or exploit in our daily lives?

It is up to us to prioritise what we spend time on, how we organise the seconds we have to keep our minds and souls healthy and thriving.

Occasionally we have to make time; we have the way if there is the will to do so. Otherwise we will come to regret the time lost, the time we could have spent with loved ones, making memories and filling our days with joy; and that is something we cannot retrieve.

Remember: time is not measured by clocks, but by moments. Particularly those in which you feel happy to be alive.

A challenging heartfelt wish

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When the last day of a very strenuous year begins with ominous news, you begin to question the very essence of our existence. It’s not only about reviewing everything we’ve been through the past 365 days anymore, or the past two years with a global pandemic still hanging over us. It’s about rethinking our very take on life itself; our perspective on how we march ahead; of what we consider important and prioritise; of what we actually do to live a life; and what even constitutes a ‘life of plenty’, a ‘happy life’.

It’s easy to spread wishes here and there. It’s as simple as saying ‘good morning’ or asking ‘how are you?’. But is it heartfelt? How rarely do we nowadays mean what we say, especially when it has to do with wishing others the best?

We desire health and blessings, happiness and love, strength and success.

What we really want is serenity, someone to lift the mental exhaustion off our shoulders, the safety of having a family nearby – be it of relatives or friends; that secure feeling of knowing that whenever something – anything, no matter how big or small – happens, there is someone there to call. We want peace of mind and of heart, that tranquillity we are so lacking in this modern era, to be able to create the life we want, to pursue the targets we set, to be realistic about what we want to do in our lives, and to have the stamina to live it.

It’s challenging to give out wishes – heck, to even say anything at all – to those who face loss. But encouragement is vital, simply to rest assured that you are not alone; even at the darkest of times, there is always a hint of light somewhere, and true friends/family are there to remind you of it.

So, to lighten the mood on this day and for the sake of hopefully making this a much better year in all respects, here are some genuinely heartfelt wishes:

May all sorrows get locked, and you get showered with the best of the best blessings.

Try to relax in the new year… and don’t think about all of the resolutions you’re supposed to be starting!

Happy New Year! May the coming year be full of grand adventures and opportunities.

May this year be filled with new adventures, good fortunes and surprises for a better life.

May every moment of this year would be unique, filled with pure pleasure and each day comes out like exactly what you want…Happy New Year!

Birthday wishes

My birthday is on Christmas day. In case you haven’t noticed if you’ve been reading this blog for some part of its 9-year history. But what you may not know, is that, though many think it’s “lovely” to have a Christmas Birthday, I don’t really like it. Apart from being somewhat overshadowed by one of the most important holidays of the year, people tend to forget you amidst all the universal celebrations. And it’s just not the same with having an entire day all to yourself. When people can legitimately forget your birthday for not knowing of it.

But there is also the other side: the fact that you get a clearer picture of your friends and acquaintances during this day. Birthdays are a milestone and an indication of who cares. Because those who do, will take five minutes of their time – or less – to send a wish your way, one which will brighten your day and make you feel loved. It doesn’t take much, but to the person in question it makes a huge difference.

Birthdays, like a good friend told me, are a starting point. That day when the counter returns to zero and you start again, afresh, setting new goals for the year ahead, reflecting on what went well, what didn’t, who was there, who shouldn’t have been, and who wasn’t, where you wasted time and where your energy was invested in the year that passed. It is a day that fills you with delight, love, ambition, and determination to enshrine the saying that we grow older becoming wiser (and prettier).

It’s the day when you decide who and what is worth your time and concern. Friendships are evident even in a simple ‘happy birthday’ wish. Because no one is too busy or too distracted with anything else – whatever that may be – to not wish you something nice during the most significant day of your year.

As you blow out the candle on your birthday cake, the wish is almost always the same – more so now during these times – for our loved ones to be well and healthy, to be surrounded by love and positive vibes, to be optimistic that better things are on their way. And to know deep inside that our best days are still to come.

“Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears”. — John Lennon

Quirk of Character

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Introverts have a higher threshold than average for letting people in. Be it in their reading lists, their diaries, their lives, their homes, their minds, their hearts. If an introvert starts babbling away to you, you should know that they trust you and feel safe enough to confide in you. It’s not an easy feat for most to achieve.

Call it trust issues if you may, but introverts believe that the people around you need to compliment your happiness, your self-appreciation, and your confidence. Well, it’s what we should all really expect of others anyway. For if someone doesn’t add value to your life, why keep them there if they’ll only make you feel worse?

The truth is, there are certain instances in life that make you reconsider your friendships; who you consider your friends to be; who really are. Because it’s the ones who stick there through the rough times; when you have nothing to say or don’t even want to; at the times it feels like the whole world is against you and you’re raging against ‘the system’. It’s those who seek you as much as you search for them. It’s those who are willing to stay around when you fall face down and will help pick you up; those who see you at your worse are also the ones who deserve to see you at your best. Because as this excellent article says, “friendships do not have to be transactional, but they should absolutely be reciprocal”. It’s not all about having fun. It’s about being there for each other in every situation.

Each person reacts to life’s problems differently. We are not all the same. We have varying idiosyncrasies, mentalities, responses. Some seek assistance anywhere they can; others prefer to close up in their own shells and wait out the storm alone. It has to do with a person’s character and that’s not easy to affect. Introverts need to be left alone. They’ll come to you for help when they’re ready. But they want to know that you’re still there until they do.

In the end it all comes down to the fact that we virtually befriend hundreds of people on social media, but choose to have only a handful around; the best ones – those who remain no matter how far you unwillingly push them out.

“Beware of those who seek constant crowds; they are nothing alone”. – Charles Bukowski

“I restore myself when I’m alone”. – Marilyn Monroe

Making and breaking

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The problem with loving too much is that you don’t realise that while you’re elevating others, they’re breaking you.

You allow people to smuggle you around, as if ashamed of you’re there, instead of being proud of your presence.

We want to believe that karma will compensate our sacrifices and goodness will be returned.

But often we just need to see reality for what it is.

Also part of Weekend Writing Prompt #239

The things you shouldn’t know

You know that saying, “it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt”? Well, it’s true for every age, and all contexts.

Happiness comes in waves. But like love and pain, it comes unexpectedly and leaves the same way.

The key to being happy – and most of all serene – is acknowledging that you yourself and you alone are responsible for that precious feeling. You’re the only one who can control your feelings even if most times it doesn’t seem so easy or plausible to do.

It’s a magical and refreshing sensation to allow yourself to get carried away in the moments. Those instances that take your breath away, that have you tearing with laughter so much that your abs hurt. Those glimpses of time you look back on and smile nostalgically.

But there is always that inexplicable – demonic – hunch that nothing is so perfect; and it won’t last.

So what do you do when you see something you shouldn’t have? What if you notice a message you shouldn’t be aware of? Or overhear a conversation you weren’t meant to? How do you “un-know” things you shouldn’t know? How do you press “undo” on life events?

It’s mindblowing how emotions can change in a millisecond. How your entire perspective can alter by knowing something you shouldn’t. How everything moves from one extreme to another simply because of a differentiation of facts. It’s as quickly as clouds of rain form in a clear blue sky and hail begins to pour.

But that you can’t really control.

Can you?

Or is it there to show you something? Because often things happen to remind you what you deserve and to rethink where you are and what you’re devoting your energy and time on. Is it worth it if you’re not feeling happy, appreciated and valued?

Next Episode

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Have you ever noticed how we often allow a few bad minutes of a day to wreck the entire 24 hours? High stress levels so easily overwhelm us that we consciously believe the entire world is out to get us; that everything suddenly turns against us simply because of one bad moment. Those five minutes you were late in leaving the house means one hour delay because you missed the bus. But so what? The series of unfortunate events is bound to end sometime.

If you come to think about it, life is an occurrence of episodes. We spend inexplicably long hours in some, and irrationally little time in others, but we constantly find ourselves moving on to the next one. We even wonder, often with intrigue, what the next episode will bring.

It’s refreshing to reflect that the best moments of our life haven’t arrived yet. That’s why we need to be open to things around us; to have our eyes and minds wide open to the splendor that is out there. Life might just surprise us.

What is more, we need to choose wisely who we surround ourselves with; who affect our personalities and character and contribute to forming who we are. We need friends who support us and push us to be better. We need people who bring out the best version of ourselves. We need strong role models, like a mother who shows her daughter she doesn’t need constant company to have a good time; she can simply book a flight and get on a plane and leave – alone – and still have a great time because she is empowered, confident, and courageous enough to do so.

If you take the leap with faith, life will reward you for it. Just believe.

And keep moving forward.

More time than life

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In a world of rapid developments, how easily do we take things (and people) for granted? We go to bed certain we will wake up the next morning; we postpone our schedules sure that we’ll have time later on; we procrastinate because we are confident we’ll complete our must-do’s some other instant.

But what if there wasn’t time?

There is a Mexican saying: “there is more time than life” (“Hay más tiempo que vida”) usually told to those who are constantly stressed and complain too much about not having time to fulfil specific goals. Loosely translated, it is that cliché we so often hear: “seize the day”.

It’s the prompt to take each moment for what it is, and realise it to the fullest. Do what you can now, experience every emotion to the utmost, because – really – who knows when you’ll get another chance, or what the next minute may bring.

And to be honest, a minute is a long time to waste. (Just try counting it while doing a plank).

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