MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “quotes”

Generation Gaps

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You know, when we were young, our only way of communicating with each other was if we were both home and both had a landline. Otherwise we were sort of lost in our own worlds”.

The young girl looked up from her mobile phone.

She was astounded by the truth of her grandfather’s words. She lived in an age where you could communicate with anyone anywhere in a matter of seconds. She didn’t know what it was like to not have a phone in hand and for her it was unthinkable to not be able to find out at any given time where anyone was and what they were doing. Mostly because her generation voluntary gave out that information online.

So what happened if you wanted to find out about someone but didn’t want them to know?” she asked coyly.

Well, you would have to ask someone who knew them too”.

But what if you didn’t want anyone to know?”

Like stalking?” her grandfather put it frankly.

Well, sort of…” she blushed.

There was no such thing in my time. If you’re relationship broke with someone, you tried to fix it. And if that didn’t work then you just got out of touch with them. And that was the end of it”.

The girl said nothing. She looked at her grandfather trying to imagine what that was like. Her generation was used to stalking each other on social media and getting obsessed with each other’s posts, overanalyzing, overthinking and overstressing. Everything in exaggeration. What was it like to not have to think about all this? To simply not care? To be calm?

Her grandfather was almost 100. He would still go out for long walks and had the patience of a mule.

She was agitated by even a fly’s buzz.

One time she had asked him if he never worries about anything. His reply was: “would it help?”

“To be calm is the highest achievement of the self” – Zen proverb

Right is right regardless

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We, people, are too concerned about appearances. About what other people think. About how we may seem to others; the image we portray.

We are often more concerned about the impression we give, than about acting right and with integrity. We lose ourselves to please others, but, worse, to fit into social confinements.

There are certain ways of acting that we can realise on our own if they are right or not. No matter the norms of social behaviour, we can discern if it is acceptable to shout in public, to speak badly to service workers, to be rude to anyone. They are part of those things that frankly should be common sense.

But what most people fail to comprehend is that just because everyone does something doesn’t make it right or even acceptable.

Similarly, just because certain people act in a similar manner around everyone – e.g. flirting or being overly effusive – doesn’t make that behaviour acceptable or appropriate either.

There are some things we need to respect when it comes to friendships and social conduct.  We need to take into account the people we have before us and adjust our manners accordingly.

But essentially, it is one single thing: don’t do unto others what you don’t want done to you. If you want to be respected, treat the people next to you with respect. It will elevate you much more than anything else you could say or do.

Remember, “right is right even if no one is doing it. Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it” (St Augustine).

Summer life

©MCD

Once June came, he would transfer to the beach house. He longed for those months there. Everything seemed so much better then.

It wasn’t just because it was summer and the weather was warmer, the days were longer and everyone seemed happier.

At the beach, people tend to worry less. It is as if they somehow realise that the meaning of life is to live it, not overanalyse it.

His father once told him that “at the beach, life is different. Time doesn’t move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun”.

Magically, a solution to every problem appeared during his walks at the beach. His mind calmed down during sunset. And at night, when the only thing to be heard was the silent ebb and flow of the waves while gazing at a star-filled sky, he felt so much stronger, optimistic and…alive.

Turbulent mind

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Anger is an innate emotion. A very vivid one too. People tend to get angry, and those who say they never do, clearly lie.

We all experience moments where we feel we are losing control of our emotions. It is natural. Where there is anger, there is pain underneath. And although anger doesn’t solve or change anything, it is a way our body finds to express what is building up inside of it.

Never be fooled in allowing your anger to rule over you. That is when you have truly lost the game.

There is a quote that “anger is the price we pay for someone else’s mistake”. We usually insist that it is others who make us mad; but in truth, we are pained that we allow others to have so much power and effect over us that they influence our emotions and mood. But there are underlying reasons to why we react in certain ways.

Remember, the mind is like water: when it is turbulent, it is difficult to see; but when it is calm, everything becomes clear.

When all this shall pass

© MCD

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.

Art inside

Michelangelo had said that “every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it”. The same is true for people. We all hide something great inside, waiting for the right circumstances to externalise, to gain form and light.

Like an artist expresses something of himself on a sculpture, so we too live our lives as an expression of who we are.

Also part of Weekend Writing Prompt #144

Adjust your focus

©Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

It began to rain suddenly, with black clouds sailing in fast to hide the sun. It had been suffocative and humid from early morning. Perhaps that explained the agitation that had overtaken most people.

He had just cleaned the windows, proudly admiring how spotlessly clean they had become.

But they became all foggy again.

And that is when he remembered something he had seen in an ad just a few hours ago: “when life gets blurry, adjust your focus”.

Indeed, “we often see the world, not as it is, but as we are──or, as we are conditioned to see it”.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Take a break

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Taking an out-of-season holiday has the benefit of being able to relax when everyone else is busy or working. It’s great being able to enjoy doing nothing – or rather something that amuses you – without the crowds, the hustle and bustle of everyone else doing exactly the same, as it usually happens during holiday seasons.

Being able to take time-off every once in a while is a luxury we owe ourselves.

Remember, that almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. And that includes you too.

It’s exhausting trying to satisfy everyone else, to the extent that you neglect your own satisfaction and self-care. But ultimately, that is what matters most. Because if you are feeling great, if your mind is at peace, then your body will follow. If you don’t take a break, your body will do it for you, and at the most inconvenient of times.

We need to learn to relax and switch off every so often. It’s the only way to appreciate the world around us, to discover new places, to interact with new people, to feed our self-confidence and to grow.

Sometimes you need to take a break from the noise to be able to appreciate the silence and remind yourself of who you are and who you want to be.

“The breaks you take from work pay you back manifold when you return because you come back with a fresher mind and newer thinking. Some of your best ideas come when you’re on vacation” – Gautam Singhania

Lessons from an hourglass

©MCD

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.

The Scrooges of this world

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His favourite character was Scrooge. Either McDuck or Ebenezer, it didn’t really matter. It was the trait he admired. That of being stingy, a cold-hearted miser and filthy rich because of it.

He wanted to have it all. But all was never enough. There was always more.

He lost friends as quickly as he acquired them, because his arrogant style that undermined everyone else around him immediately became evident.

Yet, he didn’t care. People like that seldom do. Arrogance, it is said, is a camouflage for insecurity. People adopt a conceited attitude and raise their voice to be heard, no matter if they’re wrong. They try to dominate every situation to show they’re in control. But what they try to hide is their fears that they cannot conquer.

People cheat and steal from each other, attempting to demonstrate they’re cleverer and more astute. Paraphrasing what the ghost said in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, they wear the chains they forge in life. Yet, in the end, all they achieve is to create a society in which the truly smart people want to escape from, because they are the ones that see through the corruption and lies. They are the ones that read beyond the deceits and the feinted arrogance. They are the ones who distinguish between arrogance and confidence and the ones who understand when it is right to stand up for what you believe and when it is just necessary to go with the flow.  As long as the flowing river is one that leads to an ocean – a greater good – and not one that drowns everything along the way.

“The world is your oyster. It is up to you to find the pearls” – Chris Gardner

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