MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “thoughts on life”

Endless chatter

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There is a difference between saying too much and not enough. Just as there is a difference in knowing when to speak and when not.

It is Plato who said it best: “wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something”.

In an age where self-promotion is the norm, people speak more than ever. The problem though, is that they do not know when to pause.

A Zen saying goes “do not speak unless you can improve the silence”. Unfortunately, nowadays few can do that.

We observe it daily: in the ride to and from work, people are stuck in trafficking and feel the constant need to talk to someone – co-passengers, on the phone, to random strangers, salespersons, anyone they bump into – simply to consume the words they cannot suppress inside.

It may be seen as an insecurity, wanting to constantly draw attention onto oneself by speaking endlessly. But people need to realise when this becomes tiresome for others more than for themselves.

Those who speak limitlessly also tend to be those who are not comfortable in their own silence, and who subsequently try to find ways to avoid it. As such, though, they lose out on the healing process some minutes of quiet offers not only to others but to their own soul as well.

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Calm misfits

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Calmness originates in a state of mind. That is why often we are told that we should be selective with our battles; sometimes having peace is more important than being right.

Yet, the more strong-minded you are, the more you seek a “just cause”, the more you are affected by not being able to prove your righteousness. You are among those who acknowledge that life is not fair, yet have difficulty accepting it.

Because justice, unfortunately, is not always served.

People get away with a lot of things. Things that with the passing of time are repeated so often and go unpunished that they eventually become the norm.

And in the end, you – the one who is right and seeking justice for it – result being the lone wolf trying to change the world. A world which, however, considers you a misfit for not playing along.

In the end, you come to realise, that the more things you learn to ignore or simply accept, the calmer you will be. And, if anything, that alone would bring you peace of mind.

Professor-prompts

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“Not everyone can do everything. Because it is as simple a fact that you can’t be good at many things. You can adequately do a lot, but only expertly do a few”.

He clearly remembered his professor’s words since the first day of college.

He was investing time to gain the knowledge required to specialise in one specific sector.

However, in an age of multitasking and in a labour market that sought individuals with a range of skills, he found the prompt contradictory.

How could you focus on one thing alone when the world was asking you to know more?

His professor was the one who offered the reply.

The more specific knowledge you possess, the greater ability you have in comprehending a situation and offering solutions others cannot see”.

He then handed him a quote from a famous scientist. It said: “A smattering of everything is worth little. It is a fallacy to suppose that an encyclopaedic knowledge is desirable. The mind is made strong, not through much learning, but by the thorough possession of something” (Louis Agassiz).

Never stop learning. Seek knowledge on everything and anything. But know what to invest on and specialise on something in particular. That will make you stand out. And it will make you sought-after and marketable”.

An abundance of smiles

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“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.

Humor me

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Having a sense of humor is a trait not many are able to master. Because it requires intelligence to be able to spark a wit with effect at the right time.

People with a sense of humor are the ones you see laughing most often, even if only by themselves.

They are the ones with the greatest self-acceptance, because they have come to terms with who they are and what life has handed to them, and are brave enough to not only overcome the challenges but even to make fun of them.

They are creative – after all, it takes a lot of mental energy to come up with quick-witted jokes that put a smile on everyone else’s face. It is thus also associated with wisdom and love of learning.

People with humor understand the difference between laughing at someone and with them. They are conscientious in that they don’t need to hurt anyone’s feelings in order to make a joke.

Laughing is a state of life and it also keeps you fit physically and emotionally. 

It could be true that “a sense of humor is God’s antidote for anger and frustration” (Rick Warren).

Humor is one of our fundamental character strengths and an important survival tool. It helps gain intimacy, build connections and often buffer stress. But it is also what helps us remain optimistic. And like Elbert Hubbard said, “do not take life too seriously, you’ll never get out of it alive”.

Cracks in the dark

©J Hardy Carroll

It was pitch-black when he found the unlocked door. He hurried in without considering anything. All he could think of was to escape the cold and rain.

He didn’t need much to survive anymore.

He had nothing else left to lose.

When he left his home on a dinghy-boat, he had witnessed his co-passengers, many of whom he knew an entire lifetime, drown. In seconds, they simply stopped existing.

The only thing he noticed in the room was a crack in the ceiling.

 It was only in the morning that he realised that was from where the light came in.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Tired Souls

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Techniques to fight insomnia or to ensure you get “a good night’s sleep” are usually similar with techniques to relax. It’s the things ‘life coaches’/’instructors’ and the likes fill your mind with and they very often center around one thing: letting go of whatever thoughts are troubling your mind.

The idea is to focus on something else if on nothing at all is not possible.

To stare into the star-filled sky, take a long walk, absorb your attention into something different that will also get you tired, and steadily push aside what is causing your anxiety to skyrocket.

Fix your posture.

Breathe.

Relax.

For all of us, there are some nights when falling – and staying – asleep is difficult. The mind is not an easy thing to control. It remembers things at random moments and shoves them right in front of you when you least want them to appear. And it wakes up when all you desire is to shut down.

Just remember, sleep doesn’t help if it’s your soul that’s tired.

And that’s when you need to take care of you first and foremost.

Know your value

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In a packed lecture class, a professor held up a €20 note and asked his students who wanted it. Everyone in the room lifted up their hand. The professor then crumpled it and asked again: “is there anyone who still wants this bill?” Everyone in the room raised their hand again. He then threw the note on the floor and began to kick it, jump on it and make it as dirty as he could with his shoes. He then picked it up, crinkled, muddy and stained. He asked again: “Who wants this crinkled, muddy and stained €20 bill?” Every single student again raised their hand.

“My friends”, he said, “today you will receive a great lesson. No matter what I did to this bill, you still wanted it because it hasn’t lost its value. It is still worth €20!”.

“Many times in our lives, we are trampled upon, struck hard, thrown down and stepped upon…by both people and circumstances”.

“Do you believe that this reduces your value?”

“Your true worth does not change in the eyes of those who really care about you”.

“Even at our worse, our value remains intact…as long as we ourselves don’t forget it during both our good times and our hard”.

Know your worth. Stop giving yourself to people and situations that don’t deserve you, that don’t chose you and place you as a priority always. If you don’t appreciate your value, no one else will.

Renewal

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After a break – no matter how long or short – we experience a change of mindset. It’s as if with a refreshed mind, rested body and renewed spirit, we return stronger and more determined to do better.

New seasons do that.

Especially when they bring along a wave of change. It’s a calling to reclaim control of yourself.

And it is through this inner alteration that you become stronger, more optimistic, decisive and rejuvenated. “Renewal is what happens when you realize that some of this stuff you’ve been carrying around doesn’t matter” (Rob Bell). Because it finally strikes you that what matters most is primarily your own well-being. So change; renew your space, set a to-do list, dream of new goals and dare to implement them.

Remember, you can’t help others to shine if you’re not already glowing inside.

A forbidden apple and a box

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It all started with an apple and a box. Both forbidden.

Because had Eva not eaten the forbidden fruit, disobeying God’s orders, she and Adam would not have been thrown out of Paradise – the Garden of Eden. Similarly, if Pandora had not opened the box she was given as a present on condition that she would never look inside it, the world would not have been filled with all the terrible things it contained: illness, misery, despair, malice, greed, old age, death, hatred, violence, cruelty and war. The only thing she managed to keep inside the box when she hastily closed it was hope. It can be likened to the way we as humans behave to the Earth that has given us plenty in abundance, yet we brought upon ourselves harm by destroying everything valuable and genuine that exists: nature, animals, humanity, even our own dignity. And all we have left is hope.

People are always enticed by the forbidden. They are tempted by everything prohibited and actually enjoy doing the opposite of what they are told. Perhaps it is out of curiosity, or a reaction, an act of revolution, a desire to stand tall and appear in control of things, a show of strength. For various reasons, we wish to dare what we are told we shouldn’t. We want to see for ourselves if the forbidden fruit is indeed the sweetest.

When something is prohibited, it registers in our mind as most important because we focus our attention on it, searching for the reasons why it is placed out of limits. It thus becomes something we ‘must’ do. At the same time, we believe that something that is not readily available and is more difficult to attain has also a greater value, so we are willing to reach extremes to possess it – e.g. consider the price paid for objects at an auction.

But, perhaps the most important reason why we like to chase after the non-permissible, is because we don’t like to be told what we can and cannot do. We don’t like to feel we are controlled in any way. This behavioural resistance explains why we stubbornly refuse to comply with various laws or our need to carry out rowdy and intense protests every so often.

Beyond that though, we actually enjoy the game of hide and seek, the adrenaline rush from hunting the theoretically unattainable, the yearning of wanting something that does not belong to you or that you are not entitled to have.

And here comes another issue of human weakness: we are rarely happy with what we have and we are always looking for something else or something different. We get bored easily and we are difficult to satisfy. Perhaps if we truly observe what it is we actually have around and inside us, we would realize that we are richer and more complete than we would like to believe. And that some of our possessions may be those which are forbidden to others.

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