MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “#staypositive”

A decade of Whispers

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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.

When it happens to you

You see it occurring all around you. You read about it, you question if it is as exaggerated – over or under – as they say. Then as it begins to happen all the more, you wonder how come you’ve been off the hook for so long. You’re almost convinced that it’s just a matter of time until it happens to you.

Until it does.

And the initial surprise is shed by the question of “OK, so now what?”

You think you’re prepared, but you never are, until it happens to you.

The challenges we face in life are not the problems per se, but the way we allow ourselves to respond to them.

Sometimes we affect our own fate, and our mentality plays a great part in that.

Stay positive (unless it’s a Covid-19 test). Think positive. Attract positive vibes.

A hug and a hot beverage

When people are upset, the cultural convention is to bring them a hot beverage”. So says Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.There is an intrinsic truth in that a warm drink offers comfort. It soothes your insides like a warm hug and subconsciously makes you feel a little better. As if giving you space and the capacity to breathe somewhat deeper.

The convention, however, lies in the fact that by offering a beverage, you demonstrate you care. And in essence, that’s what we’re all looking for. Someone to be there when we’re not ourselves. We need the assurance that someone is looking out for us when we’ve given up on that. That there are people who care, because we matter.

A hot beverage is more than just a comfort drink. It is like a hug in a mug. And we all know how important hugs are.

Family therapist Virginia Satir once said: “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth”. But even then, they may not be enough. Hugging is an intimate expression of safety. You feel the other person’s heartbeat on your chest and instantly feel comforted and reassured that whatever it is you’re facing it will pass. What we’re really doing – if you come to think about it – is fighting away loneliness. Because that’s what scares us the most. Of grieving alone, of being overwhelmed by sadness alone, of not having anyone to alleviate the suffering you most probably create by overthinking.

So, offer hugs abundantly. And a hot beverage too.

Nine Whispering Lives

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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.

The number nine holds a special symbolism.

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.

In all the tragedies we face, we witness, we experience, we need to remember to be extremely grateful for the lives we live, the comfort we enjoy, and that imperative feeling of safety. It can all be taken away by a simple spark that turns into a raging flame.

So let’s live this one life, as if it we’ve had nine.

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?

Eight Whispers learnt

Picture the number eight (8). Now imagine it fell sideways (∞). That symbol is of infinity. It is one of no start or end.

Eight is a symbol of infinity. Of a constant flow of energy, life, love and power. It is also often related to material wealth, money and success.

In a world filled with complications and diversions, the infinity symbol represents both simplicity and balance, as it reminds us to be conscious of where we are and aware of the endless possibilities that we have before us.

Eight is a powerful and dynamic number in itself. It is exactly one third of the 24-hour day. It is the number of hours we work, play and sleep. But it is also the time when, having been out all day, you realise just how quickly time has passed because you were genuinely having fun.

Eight is the number of years that have passed since I started this blog.

Every blog anniversary I take the time to ponder on how far I’ve come as a writer and a person, how I’ve matured on all levels, and how things in life have changed not only for me personally, but also generally in the world.

This year has been tough so far. And we’re still in the eighth month of it, having another third to go.

Yet, if we consider everything we’ve learnt so far, we should be grateful.

So here are eight whispers that I share with you:

  1. Everything – literally every single thing – can turn upside down in a millisecond. That is why you need to live and enjoy every moment you have. You don’t know how much more time we’ll be given. Why wait? The time is now. Do the best you can with it.
  2. Smile more and laugh harder. The more you emanate a positive aura, the more happiness you’ll spread and the more positive your whole day will be. We attract what we send out. Remember that.
  3. You don’t own all the problems in the world. There is always someone facing something more serious and more difficult than you do. Just work at having more skills to be able to manage and solve your own problems better.
  4. Choose your friends and co-workers wisely. You’ll spend with them more than just eight hours or eight days or eight years. Be with people you admire and who push you to be better. Share a mutual path to success and improvement.
  5. If you don’t take the risk you’ll never know. “A ship is always safe at the shore but that’s not what it’s built for” (Albert Einstein).
  6. Focus on what you want and where you want to be. So focus on the good, on the positive, on the light in all the darkness. Place your energy in lighting up the way to where you want to go. That is what guides you. You.
  7. Devote time to your education. A smart person never stops learning. Read. The more you read the more your mind and heart will open and the more you’ll see the world differently. The more you’ll appreciate it. And the more grateful you’ll be for all you have.
  8. Being successful also entails being happy. Otherwise, there is not much point to it. Do what makes your heart sing. What gets you up in the morning without snoozing the alarm clock eight times. Make your job your passion and work hard to achieve your goals so that you radiate with satisfaction and happiness when you realise your dream.

Life shouldn’t be as miserable and harsh as we make it out to be. Every hardship we are forced to go through has a solution or at least an aspect we can deal with and learn from. We just need to want to see the positive in all the bad.

We should want to smile more and change our lives.

Eight is also said to represent order and balance and a constant desire to master all important things in life. But sometimes we just need to go with the flow and adapt to reach infinity.

Independent confinement

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Tom was frequently likened to a cat. Mainly because, whenever he could, he slept for most of the day.

He didn’t mind being compared to a clever feline. He rather saw it as a compliment.

Cats are perhaps the most independent pets around. They can take care of themselves and act as if you’re living in their house rather than the other way around. They are the beings for whom the problem during lockdown is that everyone else is staying home with them. But they can also teach you so many things on how to manage self-confinement. They know how to adopt a slower pace of life as the norm; to seek out the sunny spots in the house; take stretch breaks; stay curious and always discover new things making each day exciting; contact a human every so often; keep a tidy space and clean yourself often.

Cats are the embodiment that life is easier when you’re not too busy with what others are doing.

The problem with people like Tom is that they can’t be like cats for too long. Everything in life requires a measure, a balance to be complete. And even though it is healthy to spend time alone; to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person, happiness has greater value when it is shared.

And in order to be able to live fully, we need more people (or animals) in our life. People who share our concerns, and who will seek us out whenever we choose to disappear in the most incredible hideaways.

We will meet again soon. For the time being, choose to shine; it’ll soon become a habit.

The value of a lockdown

©MCD

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

Vibrate higher

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.

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.

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