MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “postaday”

Being where you are

In a culture of constant consumerism, incessant competition, and individualism, the paradox of social distancing has depreciated even the most common-sense norms of cultural etiquette.

We are now dubious and suspicious of everyone and anyone, as they could be a potential virus-carrier or transmitter. We have become even more isolated in our homes, opening our door only to those we know well and failing to make any new acquaintances.

We have a routine that, albeit different to the one we used to have several months ago, is still something that keeps our life somewhat normal.

Yet, the entire way that our lives have changed this year has highlighted the fact that in essence very few people are happy and/or satisfied with the life they have.

Self-isolation, quarantine and lockdown has raised the curtain to everything we hid under the carpet and failed to acknowledge for so long. It has lifted the veil from our eyes and cleared our vision on the relationships we have, the people we surround ourselves with, but most importantly, who we truly are.

It has also exacerbated our sense of longing to be somewhere else – anywhere else – than our current location. Removing someone the choice of doing something, automatically makes that option desirable and spurs a reaction.

But the honest truth is this: No-one wants to live where they are. Everyone wants to live in a fantasy.

But the fact that even our futures no longer seem certain, let alone, controllable, makes even that fantasy world appear bleak.

The trick is to create your own circumstances, realising your fantasy by exploiting where you are at each precise moment.

Not easy, but very possibly worth it.  

The survival cabin

They asked him what true happiness is. He replied simply: “To create dreams. Implement them. And enjoy them”.

He was one of the most successful entrepreneurs of his time. Having been able to rise above others in his field despite his age, he had the incomparable ability to inspire people, to motivate them into adopting a different level and mode of thought, to push them into being ethically better.

He was the person who knew how to take pleasure out of life. How to reap the most out of his success, comfort and benefits.

He lived like a king.

But one day, he left it all.

To go and live like a peasant.

He built a cabin in an isolated part of the woods. He called it his survival cabin because “it was what reminded him of the meaning of living and not just surviving”.

He raised his family there, with values that could only be found by expanding your mind to beyond what you can only see.

He had it all in the hectic city life, but realized it was nothing until he truly had a sense of fulfilment – a life he had dreamed of and that couldn’t be bought.

The early bird

There is a widespread belief that waking up early is the key to success. You’re motivated to get up before dawn because this is what successful entrepreneurs do and well, they must be doing something right…right?

The thing is there are two sides to every argument. Here too. Waking up early has the benefits that you have the whole day in front of you to be productive, get things done, enjoy life – laugh, learn, (work), live. You get to enjoy the stillness and quiet of the morning environment before everything becomes hectic and everyone is rushing around all agitated and in an irritable panic. You’re more calm if you’re not rushing in the morning and you can wake up your body and mind more naturally, and even treat yourself to a nutritious breakfast and an exercise routine that will get you oxygenated and give you an energy-boost.

There are lots of perks to waking up early. But the key is actually wanting to do so. No matter what the reason – professional, personal, or otherwise – struggling to get up and out of bed in an ungodly (for some) hour requires psychological willpower.

Being a morning person is more than just a characteristic. It’s something you train yourself to be by force of habit. It entails discipline and motivation. Just like some people work better at night, those who perform better in the morning have acquainted themselves to the process.

Getting up early also presupposes that you’ve gone to bed relatively early so you can get at least 6-7 hours of sleep. Because otherwise, being sleep-deprived and an early-starter won’t get you too far. Sleep deprivation actually leads to other problems such as fatigue, irritation, weight alterations, and cognitive performance deficits.

In short, each person needs to find their own rhythm and time at which they function better. The essence is for people to be able to create a cycle of their own that they will willingly and pleasantly adhere to.  

Just remember, there are ambivalent sayings for an early riser: “Every morning you have two choices: continue to sleep with dreams or wake up and chase them”; “He who wakes up early yawns all day long”.

Make your own choice. But whatever it is make sure it motivates you into doing something.

The safety of true friends

What does it take to feel safe?

Is a lockdown enough? Is staying away from everyone and everything? How do we feel safe without raising walls and keeping everyone out? How do we stay safe if we simply don’t live, don’t allow ourselves to experience anything?

There is a story about a woman living in India sometime in the Middle Ages who owned a pet snake, which she loved. The snake was four metres long and seemed healthy until one day it stopped eating. The snake’s fasting continued for the next weeks and the woman, now desperate that she could not get the snake to eat, rushed to the vet as an ultimate solution. The vet carefully listened to the woman and then asked: “Does the snake sleep with you at night and wraps itself around you?” “Yes!” the woman replied surprised at how spot on the vet’s speculation was. She expressed her sorrow that she could not help her friend. The vet then told her, “Madam, your snake is not ill; it is preparing to eat you. Every day it comes around you and you think it is hugging you, it is simply measuring you up and preparing to attack. It is not feeding so as to have enough room to digest you more easily”.

The moral of this story: not every person you consider a friend has true intentions. You may have people around you who seem to care and with whom you share everything, whom you love and care for and believe that they feel the same. But, some think otherwise. They are snake-friends. Because kindness and hugs aren’t always honest and genuine. Consider that everyone who betrays you are people you know, people you’ve sat with and shared your innermost thoughts, who you gave a part of your soul to, because these are the people whom you gave the key to hurting you.

No matter how much they hurt, such experiences serve to teach us to read people better. To measure up who we consider worthy of our attention, time, energy, and friendship. Not everyone is bad. But not everyone is good either.

We are the ones who choose the people to accompany us in our life’s journey. The ones with whom we feel safe under any circumstance. And those who are worthy of sharing our most important moments are really the ones who prove to be so without even being asked.  

Defying your mind

©Sarah Potter

There is trouble with listening to your mind. It sometimes poisons you. Because it tricks you into believing things that aren’t true. It can concoct scenarios and play them out in your head, persuading you that this is reality. And you’re trapped. You’re drowned in negative thoughts that fog your vision of what truly is.

It takes courage and practice to realise your mind is deceiving you and to react to it. Defiance is always considered a radical act. Even against your own self.

It’s not easy standing up to you. Because the most dangerous enemy you have is yourself.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Making habits that will make us

There is a widely acknowledged rule that it takes 21 days to create a habit and three times that – 90 days – for it to become a lifestyle.

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?

Reprogramming a lifestyle

You know why we refuse to accept something we cannot control? Because we can’t handle uncertainty. We are not wired to ‘go with the flow’ and let things happen. People are impatient. And insecure. We need to know that there is a beginning, a middle and an end to things. Otherwise, we go insane.

This year has been strange and extraordinary in every sense and at every level. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a serious strain not only on global healthcare systems, but on our mental health as well.

People can’t handle so many restrictions and so many recurring constraints.

But most of all, they can’t accept being told what to do, or rather, what not to do.

We can’t breathe with masks on because we’re told we need them. We feel we’re being deprived of oxygen because that is what our mind is telling us.

In every lockdown, we remember the need to go outside, to walk, run, cycle, swim, and sit in the park under the sun. Yet, during our ‘normal’ lives we may hardly even go out onto the balcony for some fresh air, spending the entire day in front of a screen at a an office.

And now, that screen is our way of communicating with the world.

Ironic. Tragic. Call it what you will. But this new reality has caused an irrevocable change to what we consider ‘normal’.  And the things we consider as a given or as common sense.

The world has hit pause and forced us to reconsider everything we considered ‘ordinary’. We need to reprogramme our entire lifestyle and way of thinking, working and living at whatever life stage we currently find ourselves.

The worse thing about the recurring and long-drawn lockdowns is that we’re challenging our own minds, the limits of our sanity, the strength of our beliefs, and the potency of our optimism. The entire situation places us in the unwanted position of not knowing whether to make plans or what these can entail because we very simply do not know and cannot tell what tomorrow may bring.

Uncertainty is the root of our discomfort.  

But no matter how much we resist, complain, moan and react, there are some things that are beyond our control. A global pandemic is among them.

So if you had to answer the question “if you could be anywhere in the world, where would that be?”, what would you say?

Some would answer the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights; others at the top of Mount Everest, at the Caribbean, at a fancy resort, at your beach house, a mountain chalet, somewhere no one has been to before, anywhere you cannot be at this very moment, somewhere different to where you are.

But the truth is, the answer is not a destination. Because in pondering your reply, it’s who you want to be with that springs to mind. As you grow older, you realise it’s not really the place that matters, but the moments and people you spend them with.

In essence, everything we need is here – within us – we just haven’t acknowledged it enough so as not to worry about what is beyond our needs and control.

It’s not the place or circumstances that need to change. It is our entire lifestyle and mentality.

The harmony of a puzzle

Going through life is like making a puzzle.

You have to face the bafflement of having all the pieces muddled up in a pile before you and not knowing where to start.

You need to get organised and comply with a plan to get started. You first dig through the pile, carefully searching for the pieces with a straight edge that will form the frame of it.

As you complete more pieces, you learn to become more focused searching for specific aspects: a side bent awkwardly, a strange shape, a distinct colouring.

You find that once you begin and get drawn into the whole process, you become more concentrated, devoted to your target: one more piece that will fit.

You manage the irritation of having to twist and turn the pieces around, trying and failing endlessly until you find the right one.

But then, you are able to fully appreciate the satisfaction of everything falling into place as you find the pieces that perfectly attach to each other effortlessly.

The way you handle a puzzle may also be seen as a metaphor for life.

It teaches you to be patient, to have a plan and be organised, to be methodical and concentrated, to focus on your goals, to try and fail numerous times without giving up, and to value every success, no matter how small and how long it takes to achieve it.

But most of all, it teaches you that harmony comes with trial and error, that it is the small pieces that will eventually compose the bigger picture, and that sometimes you need to attempt with the wrong ones before the right ones come along that will fit perfectly into place.

Sharing a world

©Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

You know how social media applications remind you of what you posted this day a year or more ago?

Yes, it’s like the memories you didn’t know you had”.

Exactly. Well, here’s what I found”.

She showed him a picture of a shopping street in the Middle East.

Do you remember this?

They had gone together a few years back.

He hardly recalled the occasion the photo was taken.

But she couldn’t forget.

It was the day they realised the world was vast and different.

But it was also when she realised she only wanted to share it with him.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Inn of Hearts

People choose to stay at an inn to escape reality.  So it should be a place where they feel welcome and comfortable. But it should also transfer them to somewhere else. A place that only exists in their dreams. Until they come here”.

It was how her grandmother described the inn she managed, ever since Hazel could remember.

Hazel, named so because of her distinctive brown-coloured eyes, spent most of her summers at her grandma’s inn in the New Zealand countryside.

It was a place that combined nature, green valleys, mountains and beautiful beaches. The summers there were memorable. She would always find something adventurous and exciting to do, be it from simple gardening to trekking, gliding and rock-diving, so that by the time she entered adulthood she was already saturated with experiences.

But then, her career-driven self got carried away by city life and the business routine that meant having a leave but never actually taking it, and working incessantly.

It was only after her grandma passed away and she inherited the inn she loved, that she returned to it after years of neglect.

From the minute she stepped back on the porch, Hazel could feel her grandmother’s presence and all her childhood memories rushing back. She could feel it all in the air around her.

She decided to renovate the inn to its former glory, fixing what was broken and treasuring what was worth saving, while using eco-friendly resources to give back to nature that had nourished her childhood so well.

And in this she had found help. As if sent along deliberately by a higher force to remind her of all that she had forgotten so abruptly growing up.

Roger was a man who returned to his roots when he discovered that fixing old things helped him restore the broken parts of his soul.

It was inevitable that they would fall in love.

The inn brought them together into constructing a dream home they never knew they shared.

They kept its former name: “The Inn of Hearts”.

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