MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “opportunities”

In the time of Coronavirus everything is changing. Are we?

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It is obvious that our lives are changing and with it our daily routines. Whatever we so far considered “normal” may not be as such when we eventually exit this unprecedented crisis. Even the concept of what is “normal” has now obtained a controversial meaning, along with whatever we previously considered as given or obvious facts, such as the need for cleanliness which, although formerly seen as an obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), now has become an imperative necessity.

The fear of contracting the coronavirus (Covid-19) during its violent and uncontrollable spread is now accompanied by the anguish of when cities and markets will regain their pulse after weeks or even months. What scares us the most is the unpredictability of all this.

We are treading on unchartered waters, moments that will remain engraved not only in our minds, but in global history. And we are unprepared for it. Because instead of investing in research and health programmes – in the essential – we grant importance to the ephemeral, things and people who in times of crisis will have no value or use.

There are many theories circulating regarding the Coronavirus. How it is a conspiracy of the strong and powerful to further manipulate and subdue the weak masses; on the conflict between East and West; on economic interests etc.

Whatever the case, the current pandemic constitutes both a challenge and an opportunity.

It is a challenge for healthcare systems that have broken down due to lack of infrastructure, and resources both human and material; for state aid to be offered to those most affected; for social solidarity that is necessary now more than ever; for individual responsibility that many continue not to comprehend; for our mental health primarily, and for every kind of relationship we have.

This absence of regularity, the abrupt disruption of our daily lives, our routines, has shaken us to the core. This is aggravated by the fear of the economic impact or an imminent financial crisis, together with the lack of connection with other people. Suddenly, we find ourselves with an abundance of time, but no people to spend it with. All this heightens the feeling that we have lost our sense of safety. And this in turn makes us miserable; it brings upon us an undefined grief.

It is only if we manage to find the positive in a negative situation, that we will be able to fight it; to save ourselves both physically and mentally. For every illness, the remedy is always a strong immune system – resilient antibodies – to be able to cure ourselves. The same goes for the thoughts that we allow to occupy our minds. A head full of fear has no room for dreams. So let’s be optimistic, because as Winston Churchill said, “it does not seem too much use being anything else”.

The truth is, we should be grateful about how privileged we are that amidst a global pandemic we have been ordered to stay at home – in our refuge – in the safety of our own space, reading, watching TV, working, creating, with a full fridge and few worries, waiting for this all to end. Most of us are called to fight this invisible enemy from our couch.

Yet, we complain for the opportunity to get away from the routine we constantly criticised for draining our energy and leaving us little time to do the things we really want. Here is our chance to remember our hobbies, to watch TV, to learn something new, to read books, spend time with our loved ones, to (finally) get acquainted with technology, to invest time in ourselves and our priorities and evolve stronger, improved.

But we still complain. When other worse hit countries are forced to choose who to save because their healthcare systems are overwhelmed. We complain because we are staying home, when there are people who don’t even have that. We spend a lifetime staring at a screen, yet now we suddenly all want to go outside. The forbidden is always sweeter, they say. Even now, under these dire circumstances.

In the time of Coronavirus, everything is changing.

And when all this shall pass – because it will – what will we be left with? Apart from an earth that has pushed a small ‘pause’ and managed to heal itself, and leaving aside reports about a new hantavirus, what will we have learned out of all this? Will we wash our hands and our communal spaces better? Will we maintain social distancing? Will we consider that our individual actions have an impact on others? Will we appreciate more the time we have, the people around us and everything we consider as granted? Will we view life with a different lens?

The Coronavirus pandemic has proven how unprepared we are, because we consider so many things – even health – as granted. It is a shock on the global health system, on governance, security, but mainly on our values. It showed that everything around us is so temporary. Things we revolved our lives around: our work, gym, cafes, malls, cinemas, society itself, have all become irrelevant as we are now learning for weeks to live without them. It has taught us that we are so technologically advanced we can actually work from home, i.e. anywhere, and we can remain more connected than we believe. But in the end, it is up to us to demonstrate that the lives lost daily are not in vain. It is our responsibility to change ourselves to change the world.

Social relationships under self-isolation

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It’s interesting to witness how a state-imposed self-isolation affects our social relationships. Funny memes are going viral in that, during just the first few days of quarantine due to coronavirus (COVID-19), people are rediscovering their homes and the people in them.

If we choose to remain optimistic and see the positive in every situation – even this one – we may realise that this is an opportunity to take a pause and allow the world itself to breathe. By staying home, the decrease of environmental and atmospheric pollution is already evident. But there is more to that: we can take a break from the routine we keep complaining about and rediscover ourselves and the people around us. We live in a world where we can communicate with everyone / anyone anywhere at the click of a button, we can work from home, view films and series, tour museums online, read books, go online for shopping. There are so many things available at our fingertips.

It is during this time that we acknowledge how important it is to have people around us who we can communicate with even if only via a digital chat. People who can keep us strong and positive, and with whom we can exchange useless information simply to keep each other distracted and busy enough to forget to despair that we are “stranded” at home.

Some of us are actually “stranded” in another country away from our families. And due to the closing of borders as tight precautionary measures we will have to wait for a few months it seems to be able to hold them again. Because via videochat we can see each other every day and check-up on each other.

This is the time to realise that we can never tell what the future holds. Even if we plan things, they may not turn out the way we hope.

Most of all, we are given a chance to acknowledge all the things we take for granted and don’t appreciate. First of all our health and the time we have with our loved ones.

Let’s seize this opportunity to stay home, stay strong, stay safe, and keep our families and friends safe too.

Nothing lasts forever. Not even this.

The life we dream and that we live

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He looked out of the window at the cloudy skies. He was physically in his living room, sitting on his couch. But mentally he was far away. Perhaps even on that airplane crossing the sky.

He had never been on an airplane.

He had never even left the country.

He was afraid to leave. To take a risk. He was too much a coward to change his life. He lost too many opportunities and people because of this. And all he had left was to dream. But even that was too much. Because he knew deep inside that those dreams of flying away would never be realised.

On that very plane, there was a girl who travelled all her life. She knew very well what it was like to change environments every now and then, yet longed for somewhere to settle. For some place and someone to call home.

She had just finished reading the romance Erotokritos, the rhymed verses themed around love, honour, friendship, bravery and courage. It was the story of a young man who fell in love with a princess and did whatever he could – even facing exile and sacrifice – to gain her love. But to the young reader, it symbolised more than that. It was an allegory that true love surpasses every hurdle encountered; that when there is a will there is always a way; and that it’s not about finding someone who chases you incessantly or who evidently ignores you, it’s about finding someone who never stops caring or fighting for you. It’s a story about someone who feels deeply and has no problem in showing it in every way possible.

Life is the sum of our actions. These are what make us who we are. What we have the strength to do and what we don’t. What we choose to change and what not. It is who we want to be and who we have the power to become.

Desire and action

©MCD
©MCD

It was snowing when he set foot outdoors. If it was up to him, he wouldn’t have, but his mother forced him to go out in search of the required groceries for lunch. He was the sort of person who always found excuses not to do something. He would constantly say he wanted to but it was simply not possible because of a series of pretexts he would cough up at the moment.

Procrastinating was Tommy’s expertise. But as he matured, he found that there were things you could simply not postpone. And the less you did, the more reliable you would become and the better status you would obtain as a person and as a character.

But the most memorable lesson, he learnt in a cabin in the woods that day he went off-track.

It was a wooden cabin below the snowy mountains. Adjacent was a lake in which two magnificent swans were found. It seemed almost mythical. He approached in hope it would offer solace from the extreme cold.

Above the front door there was a sign that read “When there’s a will there’s a way, when there’s none there’s delay”.  He knocked on the door and waited. Then he knocked again. There was no response.

After a while, as his hands began to turn numb from the cold, he decided to search for a back door.

There was one with an “entry” sign above.

Inside was a carpenter. One of the type he had only read about in storybooks.

It took you long enough,” he told Tommy as he led him to a seat near the blaring fireplace and offered him a cup of steaming hot tea.

 Tommy looked perplexed.

Had you figured out the meaning of the sign sooner, your hands wouldn’t have turned so pale from the frostbite,” the carpenter explained.

Simply stating your desire or intention to do something does not make it real. It’s when you act upon it that it happens. And that is what matters. Because others can’t see your intentions, they can only judge you by your actions”.

Tommy was beginning to understand. This meeting was not by chance. In fact, he had never seen this cabin in this part of the valley before.

“Stop denying the fact that you’re delaying things. Or simply not doing them. The time to act is now, not later. You don’t know what will happen later on. If you can do something now, why are you waiting? What for? There is always time to do something important. To show others you care.  If you can act, and if you’re going to use your intention in your defence later on, why procrastinate? If it is significant, you do it. That is what others will see. And what matters most, is what you show”.

Tommy drank his last sip and was ready to leave.

There was nothing he could say. After all, this meeting was not for him to speak, but to listen.

“Character is built on the strength of your actions”, he heard the carpenter say as he waved him goodbye.

Thoughts for everything New

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As the sound of fireworks begins to fade and the cheering begin to silence, you find yourself unconsciously crossing your fingers and hoping that the lights will never dim, the laughter will never stop, and that smile that has illuminated your face will not diminish.

In the New Year, we all wish for one thing: that we have 365 days of health, happiness, love and prosperity ahead of us. That they are filled with new opportunities, new chances, new prospects and new experiences.

We have a blank slate to do things we’ve never done before. But we want to be with our loved ones, with people who constantly have us on their mind and in their hearts. We want to maintain the happiness and euphoria of the season and wish for its duration to persist through time and challenges.

In these first days, we hope that we can pass through the New Year with as few difficulties as possible, determined to make the most out of the time and moments that lie ahead.

May this be the year when our expectations are met, when our dreams are fulfilled, when our ideas become reality, and when we resolve that all we want is exactly the life we have. 

Happy New Year!

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.

Be like a flowing river

https://www.google.gr/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=imgres&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjmuM7N9-LdAhUJMuwKHfH1CD4QjRx6BAgBEAU&url=https%3A%2F%2Fet.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FLoodus&psig=AOvVaw0SUwD2r_uDUzgLACDXdJb3&ust=1538403965673357There is a saying by Heraclitus: “no man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man”. There is an advantage with flowing rivers: they are never stagnant, never in the same place, always changing, always moving, always somewhere different.

We should be more like the flowing river. Knowing that there is no hurry, we shall get there someday, even if we don’t really know where we’re going. The point is to keep moving.

Remember too that the more the water moves, the more it is oxygenated and the cleaner it looks.

Imagine the same for your own soul and mental health. The more you move about, you travel, you do and see something different, the more alive you’ll feel.

After all, “you drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it” (Paulo Coelho).

Life is a river of opportunities. We need to learn to flow with the current, for to turn against it takes effort, but the current will carry you if you let it. The river teaches us how to be silent and calm, to go with the flow, to turn the bends and eventually reach the ocean. No matter how long it takes, it’s the journey you must learn to enjoy.

The unbearable lightness of unfairness

http://elkespage.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/comparing-fish-bowls.pngIn every life we have some trouble, when you worry you make it double,” sang Bob Marley (originally sung by Bobby McFerrin), prompting us to “don’t worry, be happy”.  We hear it a thousand times from a million different places: we need to stop stressing over everything so much and enjoy life as it is. But what is most difficult to grasp is the way to quickly overcome adversities. Especially when they point out every so often how unfair life is.

With the advancement of social media to the extent when at every second during the day anyone can flaunt where they are and what they’re (not) doing, this feeling is enhanced to the utmost. Especially when you see people going on trips around the world supposedly for business or some other professional “duty”, yet are acting as if they have grasped the opportunity to enhance their tourism skills on company expenses. And there are many examples. We see them everyday. From our “representative” politicians to TV personas, actors, right down to friends and colleagues.

So what do you do in such cases? When the reality of injustice smacks you in the face? Well, most people just prompt you to live out your misery for a while; let it take you over and then quietly let it fade away as you realise how much you’ve accomplished in your life and how much more you can do. They will all repeat to you that “no-one said life would be easy (or fair); they just promised it would be worth it”. So just let it be, pick up your pieces and move on. Things will turn around and you’ll get what you need eventually. What matters most is that you don’t give up.

“People are always complaining that life’s not fair, but that simply isn’t true. Life is extraordinarily fair. It’s just not centred on you” – Lynn Marie Sager

Blank pages

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/ba/28/60/ba2860f4ea87cf3aae1e15aab7ffb8a8.jpgWriters know it best that it is always difficult to face a brand new blank page. It is imbued with so much potential that it is sometimes frightening. Because you fear you may not live up to the expectation that lies within that blank page. You fear what you will write will not be good enough. But you will never know unless you try. Unless you write that first word and let everything else just flow onto the page.

Just like that, in life too, we need to be bold enough to take risks, to make new decisions, to change things. We will never be able to reach our true potential if we are too afraid to change even the slightest in our routines, to make new opportunities a reality. It is only when we exit our comfort zones that great things will come. And we will realise what we are truly capable of.

Just hours away from a new year, perhaps this is the time for reflection – of how the 365 days that passed were filled with moments of happiness, laughter, love, excitement, new experiences, but also of remorse, sadness, of wanting to painfully creep under something and disappear. This is the time to fill ourselves with determination and hope to make the New Year the best one yet. To make it the one that will improve our lives and of those around us. To eliminate as much as possible those bad moments that overshadow all the good and be decisive enough to make those moments to come ones branded only by smiles, laughter and happiness.

Make this start one worthy of who you are and the goodness that lies within you.

Happy New Year everyone!

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Almost

Drawing a line, closing a door

http://stevetobak.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/one-door-closes-another-opens.pngThere is a saying that “you don’t drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there”. The allegory is linked to keeping your mind fixed upon the past. It’s the same as knocking constantly on a closed door and expecting it to open.

It is true that our hearts and minds often fail to coordinate on sentimental issues – you know what you need to do but you feel differently about it.

We need to close some doors. To draw a (final) line and move on. Not because what they offered was not good or worthwhile. But because they no longer lead anywhere.

We experience things in life to become better, to mature, to have a fuller existence. To live and not just be. But some things aren’t meant to last. Some are even meant to be your path towards something even better. You never know what wonders you will experience tomorrow, unless you let go of the past and embrace the present.

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us” – Alexander Graham Bell

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Learning

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