MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “survival”

70,000 thoughts a day

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Experts estimate that we make around 70,000 thoughts a day. Most of them are obsessive-compulsive. And that incessant mental chatter steals our energy and drowns our focus. We’re pushed into creating scenarios about things that probably won’t even happen, interpretations that don’t stand, and events that aren’t true.

Yet, these are still thoughts that occupy our minds.

We have a tendency to gravitate towards the negative. If we hear ten positive things and one not-so-positive, we will automatically focus on the latter. Call it our innate instinct of survival, it’s what we feel threatens us and we need to act to fix it.

Perhaps the problem, however, is that we stick to how we think people should act. And that’s what makes us react so much to everything. Because we have in our head a whole list of actions that we are expecting others to make: to check up on us without any particular reason; to send a good morning text simply to show they’re thinking of us; to show up at our doorstep with a bowl of hot soup when we’re sick; to just sit with us when we’re not feeling well and all we want is some company to watch TV with. We long for things that others maybe don’t even think of: a goodnight call to make us feel loved before we end the day; attention when we’re upset; a smile when we’re frowning; the sharing of good news; a walk together to clear our minds. For us, we’re not asking for much. But nothing is obvious, and we shouldn’t expect others to act as we would. Perhaps that is the most difficult and troublesome thought of all: that we cannot expect others to behave in the way we would anticipate them to. We can’t compel people to change; they’ll do so if they truly want to.

We demand more of ourselves and oftentimes we force that upon others too.

We think too much and we perplex our minds with situations that sometimes don’t correspond to reality. But those thousands of thoughts soon take over our feelings. And that is the most dangerous of all. For we feel even when we sleep; when we spring awake from a nightmare, when we smile from the love we dream. We feel constantly. Some more than others. Not everyone can be as insensitive as not to realise when they’re causing trouble to others, or as empathetic that they carry the burden of others’ troubles. We need to find a balance. But the weight of our endless thoughts often hinder us from doing so.

We’re caught in an endless stream of thoughts that exasperates when we’re tired, stressed or worried. And this further adds to our exhaustion – both mental and physical. But like this article notes:

  • Just think how much energy and time you could have saved, if you could reduce the number of your thoughts.
  • Just think how much better focus you could possess, if thoughts did not bother you.
  • Just think how much inner peace, calmness and happiness you would have enjoyed, if there was a way to stop all these thoughts, which add nothing to your life.

Let me ask you, do you keep the engine of your car running after arriving at your destination? You certainly switch the engine off. So why not do so with your mind?

Some thoughts steal our peace, and in time, our lives too.

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What you don’t know

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Sometimes what you don’t know will actually save you.

Because sometimes it is better to be shielded from the reality you know but don’t want to see.

 It’s easier to live in refusal of what is actually happening than face the truth that may shatter your insides.

There is a reason why it is said that “ignorance is bliss”. Because what you don’t know, won’t hurt you.

There is a great difference in sensing reality than actually experiencing it first-hand. Because for as long as you’re not witness to it, you still carry hope. And it that very hope is what helps you survive.

Simple is not necessarily boring

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If it was simple, it would be boring. Isn’t that what you keep telling yourself when even the slightest of things appear to be too complicated to resolve?

People lack communication skills at all levels. From the lowest point – informing of when and how condominium utility fees get collected and paid – to general instructions as to how we can all survive by facilitating each other’s existence.

There are times when it all seems so hard that you envy those who literally do not care at all about anything, let alone the other’s wellbeing. Selfish people are often insensitive too, but to the rest of us who suffer so deeply because we allow everything to seep inside and affect us, these are the people who are also most carefree, even happy.

It’s not that we should all become insensitive and egoistic – because where would that really lead to? – but rather, why don’t we try to improve the society and world we all share? Why is it so much easier to make everything worse by only looking through your own lens instead of agreeing to collectively make life better for everyone?

The 1001st

Eight years and eight months (or 104 months) after I started this very blog, I achieved a milestone of 1000 posts. I was never really good at numbers – or getting too personal in a post – but sometimes statistics offer a perspective. It’s easy to spill your soul on paper because you don’t visualise all those people reading it. You only see yourself as the steering wheel guiding the pen that scribbles down the words you feel.

Like Barbara Kingsolver said: “Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer”.

And just like that, you make writing a habit, you go on with life and suddenly you realise that…well, life happens. Milestones come and go like a rising sun, and it is only when you stop to reflect on the time that has passed that you acknowledge the changes you’ve undergone and how your reality has altered.

This 1001st post coincides with a process of moving – in all senses and on all levels.

Moving on to a new neighbourhood, a new home, a new environment. Moving on to new work opportunities, levelling-up, moving forward in order to evolve.

It is said that after the grieving of loss or separation, moving is the third most stressful thing we endure. Because that too entails the breaking of ties. Beginning life anew is both difficult, but also exciting. It is a chance to start over, to rediscover the world, to open up new windows and doors both literally and metaphorically.

As always, though, things don’t always happen as smoothly and seamlessly as we plan. Some transitions don’t occur without conflict; in this Covid-19 era, the virus gets hold of a friend you relied on for help; bureaucracy makes the world spin much slower; and technocrats don’t seem to be able to communicate effectively. There are all sorts of challenges we need to cope with that test our patience more than anything.

But that’s how circumstances make us stronger. How they teach us to be bolder and more resilient.

That’s how we move on; how we persist to make things work; how we survive.

That’s how we live. And in keeping ourselves busy, we (instinctively) power through.

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 wrong battles

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Palmer was a farm boy. He was born and raised in the countryside, learning how to grow his own food, how to take care of cattle stock, how to survive without technology. He didn’t feel he was lacking anything. Mainly because he had never had it in the first place to miss it.

He loved being outside, in the fresh air and the unlimited possibilities nature could offer.

But one season, the family’s seeds all perished from a severe draught. The parents were too old to start over and they sent Palmer into town to find a solution, at least to get new seeds so they could salvage their land.

Palmer was soon lured by the town’s marvels. He was won over by the easy life, the quick money, the superficial ties. To him, it was a different world.

He soon forgot why he was there.

He was drawn into gangs and betting games. Fell into the entrapment of women who seduced him and he immediately lost his initial money and any sums he succeeded in gaining thereafter.

But there was one woman who realised he was being played. Alice approached him in order to set his mind straight.

He was mesmerised at her sight. And he tried to grope her like all the rest asked for. But she turned and slapped him instead.

It made his head spin. But at least it opened his eyes.

Palmer soon returned to his good, old self. Alice helped him find good quality seeds that would help his family revive the farm. And they returned to the countryside together.

Alice had asked him years later what it was that finally awoke him from his trance in the city. He replied it was something she told him:

You are fighting the wrong battles. Stop looking that way; it’s not where you’re going”.

Scorched earth

https://www.google.gr/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=imgres&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjZ6un5rL3cAhULU1AKHdXNBXYQjRx6BAgBEAU&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.elenifourli.gr%2Fh-anoipoth-thlipsh-ap-tis-fonikes-pyrkagies-sthn-attikh-se-fotografies%2F&psig=AOvVaw0aBq1bLtvd1eC4h-VZrPBy&ust=1532714596008839It is something you hope and pray you will never have to experience. What others do not even wish upon their foes. It is something you cannot even bring yourself to imagine. You read it in history books and saw it in movies – the volcanic ash burying an entire city alive in Pompeii in 79 AD – but you never thought it would happen so close to you, or rather to you.

You looked away when in movies people were burnt alive. Or were screaming because they were drowning. But now. Now it became a reality, developing right in front of your eyes. A raging fire aided by gushing winds and, suddenly, property became ashes and lives disappeared within seconds.

You didn’t want to even think about what it was like to lose everything. Now you have to answer for yourself.

You were looking forward to a summer, one that would create new memories, not one where you would consider yourself lucky if you even survived it.

‘Painful’ cannot even begin to describe it all. Whatever others say, do or act will never appease you. It won’t bring anything back. It won’t make anything better.

You lie on the ground outdoors on a rugged blanket someone donated. You look at the starry night not because you’re out camping or because you want to, but because there is no other option and there is nowhere else to be.

And all you can do is hope.

That it will not rain.

What is thrown your way

https://www.permacultureapprentice.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/cover.jpgEverything you experience is a lesson.

It was the first thing Joan saw when she walked through the halls of her new school. Her age was not even a double digit then. But she remembered everything clearly. The memories had imprinted in her mind just as everything she learnt there grew in her heart.

She was grateful for the life she had in that building. Not only of the things she learnt in theory and in practice, but also for the people she met there. Those that stigmatised her for their positive vibes but also for the heartbreak their meanness had caused. Everyone had a place and a reason.

And everything served to make her stronger, braver and more determined.

She matured and grew to a better person when it was time to leave.

She was different when she walked out of the halls. Not even recognising herself and who she had become, she was proud she had survived.

The scars only served to remind her of all that had come in her life and the fact that she had managed to overcome all the obstacles and challenges that tried to bring her down.

She was still here. And she was resolute in making her presence even more prominent in the future. No matter what lay ahead.

 

The way the light gets in

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 Japan, broken objects are often repaired with gold. This art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer is called “kintsukuroi” and it also entails the understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken. The flaw is seen as a unique piece of the object’s history, which adds to its beauty.

So there’s a soothing thought to have in mind whenever you feel broken.

Whatever it is, time manages to heal it or at least allows you to become stronger in order to live with it. And even if you are left with wounds, just consider that scars are part of your story too; they are proof that you can survive.

“Scars show us where we have been, they do not dictate where we are going” – David Rossi

“We are all broken. That’s how the light gets in” – Ernest Hemingway

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Broken

When forgiveness is a privilege

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/51a04613e4b0007c06d7c81a/t/57a0f0f8197aea59d470b83f/1470165244816/There is a man on the street, sitting at the same spot on the pavement each day with almost the same clothes, clean and ironed, and a small bag on his side. He sits there watching people pass him by. He holds a sign that reads, “Please forgive me. I’m hungry”. He stays there all day. Every day.

There are others too. They get on buses and trains asking to be forgiven for the intrusion. Asking not to be seen as beggars. Asking for the understanding that their need to survive is greater than their own dignity. They sometimes sell something: a pen, a notebook, a pack of handkerchiefs; solely for the purpose of giving something back in exchange for any money they would receive from anyone who pities them.

Some even have a dog with them. One that sits next to them trembling in the cold, wagging its tail miserably once someone comes a little closer in the hope that they will throw something edible at it. One whose eyes have lost that glow it has as a puppy when it enters the world full of excitement.

Sorrow has many faces. So does despair.

People are brought to the brink of their tolerance, of their ability to survive, that they decide to do what they perhaps vowed never to do: to ask strangers for help.

But they do so without abandoning their dignity. They sometimes are stronger than us, because they acknowledge their inability, the fact that they have nothing to lose because they have already lost it all. They are asking for forgiveness from a world that has cast them aside. They are demonstrating to the society we live in that it has no dignity, no empathy, no respect, if it ignores them and hopes this problem will solve itself.

Forgiveness, they say, is an attribute of the strong.

Yet, instead of requesting our forgiveness, we should be the ones apologising to these people. For disappointing them, for letting them down, for allowing them to see only the ruthless and dark side of life.

Anyone with even the slightest sense of emotion feels ashamed when passing by these people. Because we have food, warm clothes and a roof to go back to. Contrary to them, we still are part of this society, no matter how much we blame it for all the difficulties we have to face. But they have something we lack: the acknowledgement that the reality we live in is fragile. Yet, they are the ones who can better manage happiness and fortune when it comes to them. Because we take these things for granted. And do not appreciate them enough.

Everyone you meet has something they fear, something they love, something they lost, something they are missing, and something they need. It is in the silent ones that you acknowledge everything you have and realise what it is you are missing.

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