There is a belief that if something happens one, it’s just luck. If it happens twice, it may be a coincidence. But if it is repeated, then you need to look into it.
It’s sort of how it goes with various days of the week. We all have one specific day which we associate with bad luck or a series of things just not going our way.
For most it’s a Monday, which is usually an OK day until it upsets you.
You realise how your day will go from the way you wake up. Fighting with your alarm clock doesn’t count, because you do that almost every day.
If you’re forced to jump out of bed though – most often on account of a deafening noise or a bell ringing – then your entire mood is unavoidably affected.
Wishful thinking isn’t always enough. Wishing you’d win the lottery won’t help if you don’t play at all. The law of attraction, however, may have something to do with it all, even if it is the negative thoughts that get realised more often than not.
But some days, no matter how much you struggle to keep an optimistic scope on things, life has a way of laughing at your face at how many incidents can be overturned in one single day.
It’s difficult to find something positive to turn events around when you’re constantly bombarded from all over. But the things is, when you do; when you manage to stay strong; you’ll get rewarded for it.
“This is the best day the world has ever seen. Tomorrow will be better” – R. A. Campbell
So we’ve spent perhaps one of the strangest Easters of our time. But we managed to celebrate it as much as possible, with people who are far yet near with the aid of technology, with love and wishes that know no borders, and with optimism and positive vibes that everything will pass and we will meet again soon.
The truth is that if you’re not in hospital, if you’re not sick, if you’re “stuck” at home with your family, if you even have a home, if you’re not entirely alone in a house away from your loved ones, this Easter in quarantine was not your worst Easter. In fact, it may even be your most memorable one. Because it taught you lessons you so far failed to see.
How to spend time with the people you share your home and life with; who matters and who cares enough to be around even if they can’t see you in person; the importance of exchanging wishes and words of encouragement even if no physical interaction may be involved. But most importantly, it revealed the reinvigoration of going outside for fresh air, for a walk in the park, or around your neighbourhood – parts of which you just recently discovered. How to spend time slowly, relishing every moment of it, to pause, to breathe, to enjoy things that we missed or didn’t have time for.
The lockdown is actually forcing us to slow down our pace of life and in the process to actually live our life.
And as we relax, inhaling the cleaner air around, we wonder why we haven’t lived like this for so long. Why this wasn’t the normal we are all longing to return to.
There will come a time when we will reminisce the weeks we were forced to stay home, learning to value the time we have and appreciating the small things that we miss, despite our constant moaning about our confinement.
Wouldn’t it be great if we would have learnt something out of all this and changed some of our habits?
“In the rush to return back to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to” – Dave Hollis
With our “normalcy” ruptured, our minds are daily overwhelmed with a conflict of thoughts. It’s not easy trying to maintain a positive attitude in a midst of negative news. When you are constantly bombarded with statistics about new Covid-19 / Coronavirus cases, deaths, ventilated patients, those recovered, restrictive measures, fines for violation, increased risks, etc., our minds become a battlefield between optimism and pessimism.
But in order to maintain even a trace of sanity, we need to regain control.
The energy you store inside you and the one you radiate are equally important as the food you nurture your body with. Energy is contagious; if you hang around with negative energy, if you allow it to infiltrate you, you will eventually start to absorb it. Seek out positive company, like-minded people, good news, feel-good things to watch and read. As cliché as it might sound: be the energy you want to attract. And you’ll see your mood change.
Negativity can only affect you if you allow it to; if you’re on the same frequency. So vibrate higher. Shine brighter. And choose to believe that better days are coming.
For you to see the stars, you need a dark sky. That is the only allegory suitable to describe how to remain optimistic and patient in order to see the positive in a gloomy and tragic situation.
“Staying positive, doesn’t mean you have to be happy all the time. It means that even on hard days you know that better ones are coming”. That is something we need to remember now more than ever.
Because around the globe, restrictions of movement, closed borders, bans on public gatherings etc, are all commonplace at the moment. We are all self-isolated….together. We are all in this together. Most of us are called to fight an invisible enemy in an unprecedented war from our couch. Others are on the frontline working night and day in hospitals, witnessing the painful consequences first-hand. All we are called to do is to #StayHome, #StaySafe, so they can help us out of this.
Viewed in another perspective, the whole world is frozen at the moment. As if someone pushed a ‘pause’ button and ‘regular’ life simply stopped. For how long, nobody really knows.
Sometimes even the hardships serve for a higher purpose. It is during the hard times that we realise how strong we truly are. (“We all have an unsuspected reserve of strength inside that emerges when life puts us to the test” – Isabel Allende) And we acknowledge what truly matters. The Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has proven 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. It is in our own homes and families in the end that we will remain safe. We learn that distance cannot keep emotions away.
But when all this shall pass – because it will – we will come out reborn, we will have learnt (hopefully) to not take anything for granted, to appreciate everything and everyone we have more. Because it is in this distance and isolation that friendships will be tested and relationships will either be reinforced or shattered.
Like Victor Hugo said, “even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise”. Every day is a lesson: the good days offer happiness and the bad ones, experience.
No storm lasts forever. But if we can stay positive in a negative situation, we win. It is up to us how to manage the situation we are in. “Fear has two meanings: Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. The choice is yours”.
We can’t change how all this started. But we can change how we deal with it from now on. And certainly what we will learn out of it. To become a bit more humane, empathetic and less selfish. To value the little things in life. To be kind to everything that is alive. And above all, to wash our hands.
It was an object he knew very well. It was how his grandmother had taught him to keep time when cooking. Now, as a prominent, chef he had more technologically-advanced resources to measure time, but the hourglass remained his favourite good-luck charm. For him it was a symbol of love, care and safety. Through it, he felt his grandmother still present, along with the sense of security she emanated, and the determination he was filled with – when around her – to make her proud.
At times of hardship, he would sit in silence watching the sands slip down the center of the hourglass, observing how fast time passed. It often took a while before he remembered that “the greatest amount of wasted time is the time not getting started” (Dawson Trotman); the time not spent with people we love, doing what we’re passionate about, having fun and enjoying life.
His grandmother had told him that “time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters. You turn the hourglass upside down every now and then, to keep time running. Your life does that to you too”.
It took a while before he fully understood what she meant.
He was present everyday in the shop that dealt with pain and mourning. At first, when he first arrived he was the happiest dog most people had ever seen. He never stopped wagging his tail and seeking attention, jumping happily on its two feet.
But as the days passed, he noticed that people who entered the shop were not happy. And no matter how hard he tried, how much he jumped around, wagged his tail, tried to transmit his energy, they would hardly ever smile. Instead they were sobbing more often than not, drowning in a misery that was evident in the aura that accompanied them both upon their entry and their exit from the shop.
He preferred to sit at the shop window, gazing outside at the passers-by. They seemed to be happier. Every so often someone would stop and say something with a huge smile as if waiting for it to be reciprocated.
But the little dog had lost its spark. His eyes no longer had that glow anymore. And his tail did not wag that often.
That’s what usually happens when you surround yourself with misery for too long. You give up trying to float and allow yourself to get drowned into it too.
“Take this,” the Master presented his young Disciple with a thin piece of thread and a tiny needle. The young one took it in reverence. He was terrified that if he dropped it he wouldn’t able to find it again.
“The task is to pass the thread through the needle five consecutive times. Consecutive,” he stressed the last word.
The young boy gasped. Surely his Master wasn’t serious.
“Consecutive?” he emphasised it too. “But that’s impossible”.
The Master said nothing. He turned around and left, leaving the boy to his task.
It took the Disciple ten times alone to simply pass the needle through the thread the first time.
He was already tired. That’s when the little devil inside him began to speak. His Master wouldn’t know if he hadn’t accomplished the task. Or if the five times were not consecutive.
But then that other voice appeared. The one his Master had infiltrated his mind with. “But you would know”.
The boy continued. He had managed three consecutive times. And then after what seemed like hours, four. But five seemed literally unachievable.
He stopped. Cleared his head for a minute and inhaled deeply. He looked across the horizon and experienced every sound and smell present around him.
Then he began again more determined than before.
And all of a sudden, he had done it. He himself couldn’t quite believe it. He yelled in excitement, so loudly his Master came almost running. He smiled at his Disciple.
“What did this teach you?”’ There was always something to be learnt.
“That nothing is impossible?” The young boy was hoping this was the right answer. His Master disliked that the boy was missing the point of the exercises by trying to find a “correct” answer without being certain of it.
“What did you receive from it?”
“Irritation, anxiety, anger….but then determination, strong-will, and…patience. Patience, above all”.
The Master smiled. “Nothing is truly impossible. We just need the patience to discover it can be done”.
“Smile! It lightens up your soul”. His mother used to say
that to him ever since he could remember.
Growing up, he found that there is always a reason to smile.
It’s just that we very often overlook them or don’t pay enough attention to
everything we should be grateful for.
He found quotes about smiles all over town; things like “a
smile is the prettiest thing you can wear”; “smile it’s free” and many others.
He made it a choice to begin every day with a smile. It did
make his heart feel lighter.
On his way to work each morning, he would exchange pleasant
greetings and abundant smiles with passers-by, regardless if he knew them or
not. A smile is contagious and he noticed that even if they weren’t smiling,
the people he addressed would almost always depart a little happier.
It was something he passed onto his kin later on: “be
helpful; when you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours!”
Just like every other person, he had his own problems, the
challenges life threw his way. But he acknowledged that there is no use
worrying too much about things that are beyond your control..
In fact, the more you smile at life, the more life will
smile back at you.