MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “thoughts”

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 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

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.

The truth of lucid dreams

The uncontrollable capacity to feel everything so deeply often deprives you of nocturnal sleep.

Because the lucid dreams you have make reality and imagination a blurred existence, which you cannot separate.

But when you wake, you know exactly where you want to be.

Also part of Weekend Writing Prompt #179

Time in 8 days, 8 months

8 seconds are all it takes to jolt awake by an alarm clock.
8 minutes may be necessary to get out of bed.
8 days are enough to change a habit.
8 months are required to make it a routine.

8 seconds are abundant for the door to close with your keys inside.
8 minutes are sufficient to take a decision that may change your life.
8 days is the time then spent waffling back and forth.
8 months to realise you’ve made the right choice.

8 seconds are enough to scan through a room.
8 minutes all it takes to start a conversation with someone.
8 days may be wonderfully spent in good company.
8 months may be erased as easily as they began.

8 seconds is all it takes for the mind to turn.
8 minutes for an eruption to destroy a dream.
8 days for your mind to accept what your heart cannot.
8 months is too long to be without an embrace, away from home.

Time is a concept, which we all forsake. We think we have it until it is gone.

We say we don’t have it when we don’t want to do something. Yet we moan there is never enough of it when we are overwhelmed with engagements.

Sometimes you don’t need too much of it, just enough to spend it with people who matter, doing things that satisfy your soul.

“Time is a storm in which we are all lost” – William Carlos Williams

“An inch of time is an inch of gold but you can’t buy that inch of time with an inch of gold” – Chinese Proverb

Staying afloat

https://www.eikojonesphotography.com/wp-content/gallery/rivers-and-lakes/maple-leaf-floating-in-river.JPG

When you fall into a river you’re besieged with an innate instinct for survival and you search for ways to keep afloat and to get out. It’s natural. If you stop trying to swim, you’ll sink, and ultimately drown.

This is somewhat true in how you survive in your daily life as well. In the relationships you build and maintain. What holds you down is what makes you drown. And that can range from the negative thoughts in your head, your problems, your stress, the prejudices you carry around, even past traumatic experiences from failed relationships that have left a bitter aftertaste.

When you exit the river, you’re never the same person as the one who entered. Something has washed over you and infiltrated you even if you can’t see it. You’re changed by every experience you have, every person who walks in – and out – of your life. There is a lesson to be gained from everything. As long as we want to acknowledge it.

Seminars on self-help and self-growth are abundant. This was an excerpt from one of them. She was drawn into it because the metaphor was cunning. But, this was nothing new. Theories are so easy to develop. They’re easy to state, even to ourselves. Acting upon them is what is necessary and means something. And that is the hardest to do. Because accepting reality and that some things just happen, is the most difficult of all.

She would give herself completely in someone she felt was worthwhile. She would fall head over heels from the start. And perhaps that was her mistake. That she would put herself on offer willingly, without being asked. Her friend told her that this made the other person greedy, thus provoking his insatiable attitude. But she would do things because she wanted to and felt pleasure in doing them. Because happiness entails making others smile. Because we love the way we want to be loved. It’s the only way she knew.

But when things snapped in an instant for no rational reason, she was the one left heartbroken, wondering why others don’t treat her the same way she would. Why they wouldn’t run to surprise her and make things right. Why they wouldn’t even call to talk and solve the dispute that so abruptly and harshly erased their laughter.

They say “we accept the love we think we deserve”, but that’s not true. Because we don’t always attract what we want, but rather what we need at certain periods in time. We learn something out of every incident we face, regardless of how good or bad it is. We don’t always end up with what we crave. But sometimes we realise that maybe it’s for the best. Sometimes pain is meant to be felt, so we can appreciate serenity when it finally arrives.

Trampled emotions

There is an element of self-torture when you refuse to let some things slide and move on; when you’re constantly seeking an explanation, a justification, and a response to your ‘why?’.

Sometimes there is no answer. Or it may come when it no longer matters.

But the truth is, it already has no importance if it’s causing you so much grief and pondering.  

Some things are meant to be experienced. We’ll get something out of them eventually.

It’s if you overthink everything that you have trouble swallowing reality. Life isn’t easy. No one said it would be. And there is no explanation for why things happen. Some things are meant to be, others not. We do participate in them all, and have a role to play in activating a chain of events, of setting life into motion. And it is often up to us, how much or how far we will allow developments to proceed.

Overthinkers are usually over-feelers too. And the trouble with feeling everything too deeply, is that you get hurt too profoundly too quickly. Sentimentalism isn’t a trait of the strong. Unfortunately.

Whatever advice you’re given, you’ll never weather the storm if you don’t want to. If you don’t decide to paddle over the water and get to shore. If you don’t pick yourself up and carry on.

That’s the thing with feelings: they’re easily trampled upon and difficult to recover.

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