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.
Every big thing starts with a simple moment of folly in which, upon taking that leap, you ask “why not” and “what if”. Because yes, in jumping, you may fall; but what if you fly?
We have a tendency in this modern fast-paced world of ours to consider the downside more than what we have to gain. But we sometimes fail to see that if we don’t dare to try, we won’t move to grow. Change won’t happen if we don’t go after it.
In the past years of pandemic lockdowns, political developments, climate change (floods, heatwaves, fires), and so much more that has made us question the very essence of our existence, it is perhaps our mental health and psychological state of being that has been affected the most.
We find that we are often competing with our own self simply to remain sane. We’re battling the voices in our hear that we wish were not ours. We whisper that we’re fine, when inside we’re bellowing that we’re not. And we realise that we need days off everything; hours to do absolutely nothing – to lie in bed staring at the ceiling,binge-watch series or movies, to walk silently along the beach, to read after going offline. We ought to give ourselves those instances to regroup, to recharge, and to relax above all. It’s an opportunity to reconsider everything we do – from the support circle around us, the social acquaintances, our relations with the ‘outside’ world, to our employment prospects, our professional ambitions, but also our personal dreams which we so often push aside.
I began writing this blog a decade ago – can you believe it’s been 10 years already? It was my way of expressing everything I cannot (or wish not) say aloud. It’s not easy for everyone to speak out and converse so easily with people. Some of us are lost in the chaos of our minds. We’ll speak to those who win our trust, who we feel comfortable and secure with; to those, we will blabber away for hours, so consider yourself lucky, for you are among the selected few. But don’t think we don’t have things to say. The pen, it is said, is often mightier than the sword. And if we can’t speak, we’ll write it.
That said, consider this in the rapid passing of time: We come into each other’s lives in a mere fragment of it. We meet each other without knowing what led the other to this moment, and (on each occasion) we are trying to catch up on the time we ‘lost’ when we did not know of each other’s existence. In an effort to replenish that time, we want to draw in as much information as possible about the other, often being subject to jealousy of the people who have managed to spend a greater period with this new person.
We have but a glimpse of our lives to set our mark on another person and ensure our role and part in their lives is maintained. In the dozens (or more) of people we meet throughout our passage, only a handful will stay long enough to see us grow, change, laugh and cry, evolve. But those are the people who matter. And it goes both ways.
So, the message I’ll close off with in this 10-year anniversary post is this: sometimes it’s good not to know where you’re going and where something you start off in a leap of faith will lead. Because you never know how wonderful or life-changing it may be.
“Why do you walk so much? You cover miles each day. Don’t you get bored of it? Or tired?”
It was a question many asked. Few comprehended why he was thrilled to wake up and go for a walk to start his day.
He would stroll up hills, on beachfronts, around the city, but mainly wherever there was a view and it was quiet.
Walking helped him clear his mind. It made him zone-out of everything in his head and helped rid of the accumulated daily stress. The endorphins on the rise greatly improved his mood, and it was a perfect energy boost to the day.
For health reasons, walking is good in that it burns calories, strengthens your muscles and helps maintain a healthy weight.
But more so, by walking he discovered so many places he didn’t know about. And he learnt to pay attention to the details. To everything that make up this beautiful world we live in but hardly notice.
He usually walked and talked. It helped save time and get caught up with friends. So by the time he was back home, showered, and ready to get to work, he had already exercised and socialised simultaneously.
It’s one of those things that you won’t fully acknowledge unless you try it for yourself. That was his answer in the end.
There is a saying that “success is falling down nine times and getting up ten”. Because in every fall, in every adversity, in every challenge, there is a lesson to be learnt. We grow up wiser (hopefully), stronger, more resilient, and more prepared for all that lies ahead.
Among others, it represents fulfillment, life mission, wisdom, and higher consciousness. It is said to symbolize transformation.
In the nine years of writing this blog, this is exactly what the past year has been all about. Changes, in every form and every level, lead you to rethink your course of life, your choices, the decisions you’ve (not) made, the way you view your existence in general. Finding inner peace and mental serenity means you need to acknowledge what is not working out. And in so doing, change it. It’s amazing how life improves when you develop a positive perspective for it. It is essentially true that when you smile at the world, it smiles right back. Well, not always; but at least for more times than none.
Birthdays – even if just for a blog – are a period of reflection of how time has passed, how things have altered, how you’ve progressed and evolved. One year is a lot and a little, depending on how you look at things. It is 365 days of starting over and hoping it will be a better day, and not giving up no matter the difficulties you’re facing. And that alone means you’re stronger every day. Because you survive. And you maintain that aspiration that things will get better. As long as we can keep that attitude, it’ll all be OK.
The bunny is one of the cutest and most adored creatures on its own, but when it comes bearing gifts it is even more lovable.
Easter bunnies are the protagonists of folklore tales, in that they bring colour-coated chocolate eggs to children on Easter, prompting them to be good in order to increase their tally.
When Michelle was young she only associated bunnies with Easter and chocolate eggs, thus she was extremely surprised when one day she just saw one randomly sitting under a tree bark in a park, doing nothing.
We associate things – mostly memories – with whatever sparks joy, or rather positive thoughts and feelings. It is a sort of defence mechanism to help us survive. That is why we train our young to think in terms of giving and receiving – if you’re good, you’ll get more sweets.
Bunnies are creatures that don’t really expect anything from us. Yet, we gawk at them; at their simplicity, their natural instincts, their cuteness.
We make them even more appreciated by linking them to the blessings, boons and presents symbolised in Easter. It’s a way of pondering deeper into what this occasion truly means.
We have something to learn from everything in nature.
“Isn’t it encouraging to consider that every minute of the day two people – seemingly strangers – are getting to know each other and are falling in love as their hands softly touch?”
“Do you really think that’s possible?”
“It’s nice to believe in something we can’t see. It’s refreshing to believe that magic still happens. We need that kind of optimism in our lives. That sort of positiveness is so lacking in this world we’ve created”.
They were sitting on a couch talking all night. Neither of them could sleep. It was those late night talks about random issues that brought them closer. It was those things you tell a person at your most vulnerable time that help you form a stronger bond with them. Those thoughts that spring to mind at the most awkward of hours; the concerns you have but haven’t even admitted to yourself; the debates you feel too silly to have with anyone else.
The magic happens when you least expect it. When you’re hardly prepared for it. When you’ve planned everything but that. When you truly are yourself, without shame, prejudices or fear of what others will think of you.
When you let yourself go and are proud of who you are, the magic will happen.
Because you’ve been carrying it within you all along.
It might sound a lot. But think about it. 21 days is three weeks. Three weeks is less than one month. In 2020 we’ve been in lockdown twice for this period of time. We could (have) easily chang(ed) habits.
The first thing any decent self-help book or life coach tells you is to think positively and control your breathing.
Both aren’t as easy as they seem. And it is irritating that people usually tell you the exact opposite of what you’re able to do at the given time you seek help – “calm down” when your agitated, “be patient” when you’re not, “don’t worry” when you’re sweating with anxiety.
But the truth is, if you manage to reduce your heart rate – if you inhale for four seconds, hold that breath for just as long, and then slowly exhale again – you will feel that you’ve oxygenated your lungs enough to relax and actually feel somewhat calmer.
Fix your body posture. That always helps and gives you a regal feeling. And everyone likes to feel royal.
Just think about how many things you can change in 21 days, and how easily those can become part of your daily routine.
Train yourself to get up early; to have a schedule for the day; to exercise at least half an hour; to walk as much; to smile more; to organise your priorities; to cook your meals assuring a healthy diet; to hydrate as much as possible; to take care of yourself; to do something you enjoy and makes you happy; to talk to someone (not online chats, but actual voice calls); to think positively believing that something wonderful is always about to happen; to allow yourself to relax every so often; to be grateful for all you have because someone else is always worse off and is having a much more difficult time; and above all, to breathe.
We can change our entire way of living in three weeks. But the benefits may last our entire lives. Isn’t that worth at least trying?
No matter how calm a person you may be, and how in order you may have everything in your life, there comes a time when you too erupt. It is simple human character. It’s impossible to be fine all the time. He knew it well.
She, on the other hand, was easily subjected to panic attacks and nervous crises. She was just more vulnerable to them. She stressed too much, overthought everything, and felt too deeply. She became too emotionally attached too fast, and it usually brought heartache and unpleasant thoughts. Thus leading to the aforementioned breakouts.
That day, was one such occasion.
He could see the storm coming in her eyes that morning. She was still trying to suppress the torrent that was in turmoil inside of her.
“What would you like to do today?”
He knew she was undecisive, yet always offered her the option. She valued that in him.
“Let’s go somewhere extraordinary”, she replied.
He smiled widely. Their sense of adventure and their passion for devouring every moment of life, filling their moments with unforgettable experiences, was what had brought them together in the first place. And he fell in love with her for that. Because she was different.
He knew just the place to go.
Somewhere to calm her storm.
It was more than enough. For when she viewed the mountaintop view of the sea and city in the background, she fell silent, in awe of the beauty of nature.
It felt as if they were standing on the edge of heaven.
And right there, it was impossible to think about anything that was troubling your soul. Nothing mattered. It was so vastly magnificent, that everything else – including your stress – seemed negligible.
Nature has its own way of soothing and healing you, placing your senses in order and restoring your hope.