I Used to Travel by Train

I used to travel by train
From this station.
Then life changed.
I was made redundant.
And my boss tried to pretend he was sorry;
And I said, “Thank you.”

He seemed to have difficulty believing
That he was doing me a favour;
Making my life easier.
He couldn’t grasp
That he was helping me to fulfil
A long-term ambition,
A dream;
A personal goal.

So I said, “Thank you.”
And he couldn’t believe it.
And, now, I live the life I’ve planned
For such a long time;
While he has to get up every morning
And commute to a job he’s done all his life,
Even though he no longer enjoys it.

And I travel by train
Past the same station
To a life of fulfillment
That benefits other people
And leaves me with
A sense of accomplishment
And satisfaction.

And I look at all the people
Rushing by
To their dream jobs.
(So why do they all look miserable?)
And I think to myself,
“It’s the clutter;
“They don’t have time to enjoy life.”

Minimalist lifestyle;
A simple eye.
Its all
An attitude of mind.


Enough Really Is Enough

Llyn Llech Owain
Your local area probably has great locations for photography and meditation. A holiday at home is less expensive and offers an opportunity to find these easily-accessible places.

Some years ago I was discussing the weekly shop with a colleague. He told me that his wife had been to the local superstore, the previous evening, and returned with a car “full” of bags. She had spent most of the week’s grocery budget. On checking the bags, however, it appeared that there was little food included. As he said, it appeared that the cleaning products, toilet rolls, toothpaste, etc., far outweighed the food.

In 1943, Abraham Maslow developed his theory of The Hierarchy of Needs. In it he proposed that the physiological needs fill the most basic necessities – food and water, among other things. Safety, such as you may consider to be satisfied by cleaning products, comes second. That makes sense. We are not likely to be able to clean the house if we fail to eat or drink for too long a period.

All of this highlights the difficulties of obtaining “sufficient for each day.” What do we mean by “sufficient”?

Advertising Pays – But It Doesn’t Pay You

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The Power of "No"

Yorkshire 1

We lead such busy lives, today. We are surrounded by clutter. We buy too much and spend too much and eat too much and leave too much lying around.

Yes. I admit that I’m as guilty as anyone else. I have to make a conscious effort to clear my desk every night. I have to make a conscious effort to put things away. And I don’t always succeed.

But the biggest clutter comes from other people. How often have you planned some activity, only to answer the telephone and hear the pleading voice confirming that you are the only person in the whole wide world who can help and it’s really, really, desperate, and if you don’t help the caller doesn’t know what he or she will do?

And how many times have you given up your day out to go and help, only to find that it was something that could have been put off till another day?

That’s why we need to schedule personal time every week. We need time for our immediate family – which does not include the children who have left home. And we need time for ourselves, too. We need to protect that time. Don’t let anything trivial get in the way. We have our own needs to take care of. And if we don’t look after ourselves, we will not have the resources to look after anyone else.

This is where we need to learn the power of ‘No’. We need to learn that our time is precious and must be protected. Yes, there will be emergencies. But as one fridge magnet puts it, “Bad planning on your part does not constitute a crisis on my part.”

After all, there will always be other opportunities to look after the grandchildren; opportunities when you can plan fun activities, rather than being stressed about what you cannot do or should do or could be doing.

De-clutter your schedule – learn to say, “No.”

Closed for Lunch

Closed for Lunch

On the verge of falling down.
Need some loving care.

When we visited Bradford on Avon in 2002, this old tea room was obviously closed, not just for lunch, but until a new owner could be found. I have not been back, since, so I have no idea whether it has been re-opened. I felt that the rather bedraggled look added to the olde worlde charm. I also felt that the TV aerial was a little incongruous, in the circumstances.

The idea of being closed for lunch is a fairly important one. Although most people have a work contract that specifies a lunch break, many are expected to forego their break or to eat their lunch at their desk whilst working, or to have a working lunch meeting.

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Time for Change 2

So I decided that I would concentrate on just one blog and simplify my life. I decided to do this by making good use of the WordPress Categories function. However, I needed a way to show the posts on my main page without cluttering it up too much. So I spent a pleasant, productive evening looking at the customization options on WordPress.

I need not have worried. The various functions are just what I need. All I had to do was to learn how to use them. Thank you, WordPress for making blogging life so simple.

What have I achieved?

Basically, I was faced with re-blogging all my posts from the various sites. There aren’t that many, by comparison, but I was concerned that some readers would be put off. For example, who wants to look at my photos when they have come to look at my Haiku? Who wants to look at either of those if they have come here to read my essays?

Then I discovered Menus and Links. (Look on your Dashboard under Appearance, Menus.) With these tools, I can put a menu of my blogs anywhere on my page.

Also, I have added a page describing my blogs. This is a static page with further details that would clutter up the main menu.

Planning for the Future

My next exercise will be to look at the idea of creating a static first page. I believe that I will be able to link all my blogs to this. The only problem that I see with it is that it will be static. And I know how much people like to see movement on blog pages.

There is, of course, a function in WordPress where you can link the latest posts. But I don’t think it works on static pages.

So watch this space. I am going to be developing it, as time goes on.

Why Am I Telling You All This

Why would you be interested in how I am changing my blog presence? Most people are probably not bothered. Yet there may be some readers who, like me, are fairly new to customizing blogs. They may be on the verge of giving up, just because they cannot get the results they desire.

Well, if I can make these changes, and if I can bring them to the attention of someone who might benefit from the process, then so much the better. Yet, even if I only create a record for my own memory purposes, it’s time well spent. After all, I suspect that most of us have been in the position of telling ourselves, “I’m sure I looked up this information, before!”


Words of Gratitude

Finally, my thanks to Elizabeth for the encouraging comment on my plans. It gave me the inspiration to try.

Time for Change

I have been blogging, now, for nearly ten years. I haven’t been very regular with it; in fact, I have had long spells with no blog posts. But I have recently been looking at how to create an easily-maintained website. The idea of uploading data regularly is rather overwhelming in the midst of a busy life. So I decided to try my hand at blogging, again, and, I have to say, the concept has developed nicely, over the years, such that I can now see the value of the activity.

I tried the micro-blogging idea, where you are limited to, say, 140 characters, but I was not impressed. Even though I love the limitations of Haiku, I still want the flexibility to post a few words, or many, depending on how I feel.

With this in mind, I have tried to maintain several blogs for different purposes. For example, this was originally to be a sort of “general purpose” blog which would catch all my random musings that did not fit into a more specific page; my Haiku blog was for Haiku, obviously; and my photo blog was for photos. I also like the idea of keeping my photos and my poetry separate from the general, run-of-the-mill brain waves.

Yet, as I have developed these, over the past few weeks, I’m starting to wonder why. I can see all of my blogs overlapping. I like using photos to illustrate my Haiku, for example. Also, WordPress has the facility to split content according to the needs of the user. Categories and tags are very useful in this regard.

Therefore, I have decided to try a few weeks of writing only this blog, rather than maintaining several of them. I will still keep them open, and I may double-post, from time to time. If this irritates you, please accept my apologies. Leave me a message to say so and I will consider changing my ways.

Still, the seasons are changing; and we must change, too. We must be prepared to be flexible in our outlook and develop according to our needs and the needs of our community. The world is changing; and so are we. We need to embrace these changes and work with them. We need to use their energy to energise ourselves. And that’s what this change is all about.

I will keep the other blogs open, as I said. This will probably be useful if I decide to enter upon a long-term project. For example, I would like to develop enough of my Haiku and my photographs to provide the material for a book. Maybe I will use one blog to “store” my output whilst continuing to post the content here.

Who knows? The future is ours to write. That, after all, is the beauty of blogging.