Life of our own – Poem

Copyright 2015 Sarah Joy, Flickr, CC-BY-SA, via Wylio

Copyright 2015 Sarah Joy, Flickr, CC-BY-SA, via Wylio

I watched as my daughter walked slowly across the grass
smoothing her hands through her long ruffled hair

A lone figure walking into school
into her own life, a life where I am not there

Everyone has their life, leave judgement aside
no-one truly knows what each other experiences

Family lives, time spent together as a unique whole
Distinct family pairings, each time differences

Working lives, daily grind to fulfilling achievement
client, manager, managed and peer

Friends made along the way, supporting and teaching us
passing connections and lifelong here

Love and conflict run close together
spiking through life’s tumultuous time

Communication is key to understanding and passion
Listening to words where nothing needs to rhyme

Stress, control, choice and time perception – including Mary Oliver Poem ‘The Summer Day’

Copyright 2015, Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015, Kay/wavesandpebbles

Here is the last section of my draft writing that I came across recently on self-development and life coaching.  For the remainder of sections, I have headings only so maybe I will do some more work on it.

Stressless < — > Calmness

I have had times in my life when I have suffered from stress, even having to take time off work. Those times were when there were numerous things going on in my life which added together resulted in my not being able to cope. I have since learnt to recognise my own signs for when I am getting stressed and take action to deal with this before it is too late. Too much stress can lead to anxiety and depression. By recognising the signs and taking action, a calmer and happier life can be yours.

Life coaching and increased self-awareness through reading self-development books has helped me deal with stress, anxiety and depression. The key to this is one word – CONTROL. Being in control or feeling in control. Once you feel out of control of situations, that is the danger zone. Another word that is important here is CHOICE. We all have choices, even if we don’t think we have. We can choose to do things differently any second, any minute, any hour of the day. We can choose to make small, almost insignificant, changes at any time.

We can choose to make life-changing decisions now, next week, next month or next year. It is our choice. Of course there are repercussions, so you have to weigh up whether you actually want to make that decision. But by taking control of situations, and making choices, you retain control and are able to feel calmer and less stressed, knowing that you have made a decision and that you are in control of your own life. Once you allow others or situations to take control, you can feel out of control and overwhelmed.

A valuable tool that I have gained through my life coach training is the Life Wheel, which can be adapted to use in any situation, and is a paper exercise that you can do for yourself taking in the whole picture of what is important or impacts on you and your life, then creates focus, exploration and action through small, achievable goals that are within your own gift of achieving – leading to a sense of regaining control over your life and the particular aspect you are focussing on. (if you are interested in this, a future post can address how to do the Life Wheel exercise and the different ways in which it can be applied)

Another BIG word that impacts immensely on stress – in competition with control, and perhaps in many cases, overtakes it – is TIME. ‘I don’t have enough time …’ ‘I am running out of time …’ ‘I have to get this done by …’ ‘Look at the time …’ ‘There is never enough time in the day …’ ‘I am always under pressure …’ ‘I never have time to relax and enjoy myself.’ ‘I never have enough time to do what I need to do.’

The first thing I did a long long time ago, that changed my relationship with time, was to stop wearing a watch. I noticed that one of my colleagues who was more laid back about things didn’t wear one and wondered how she managed. I decided to try for myself and have never looked back. … time is still there – not forgotten – but not drawing my attention every minute of every day.

How else did I change my relationship with time? By taking a more relaxed approach to my working day.  I start at varying times. Sometimes early, sometimes late. I appreciate that not everyone can do this, but many employers have become a lot more flexible, particularly with a need to cater for those with family commitments, and flexibility helps take the pressure off.

If time is really a big issue for you, and you never have enough time to do what you want, then maybe it would help to do a time analysis over a period of a week. Nothing too complicated, but something that would get you thinking about how you really spend your time. Take a few moments to write down what you spend your time on, both at home and at work. Is everything you do necessary? Do you do things because you want to do them, need to do them or feel you should do them? If the latter, what would happen if you didn’t do it? Would you feel guilty? Is it your responsibility? Does it really have to be done?

Remember it’s your life and you have choices over what you spend your lifetime doing. Think about it. Is there anything that you could either stop doing completely, spend less time on or get someone to help you with so that you could achieve it quicker, or even get someone to take over the job? When I was struggling working mum with a young child, we had a cleaner. Just 3 hours a week made so much difference. Having to downsize meant that I lost this wonderful luxury but if you can afford such help I thoroughly recommend it. (for some reason whilst typing this it has reminded me of a poem by Mary Oliver which I am now going to look up)

Gettting back to time, often I used to put pressure on myself for no reason. I was especially guilty in thinking I had to make the most of every waking moment, and that to stay in bed too long or sit around doing nothing was a waste of time. I can still sometimes go that way, but because I am aware of this, I remind myself and allow myself to enjoy having time just to chill out and relax, potter around and moodle. I thought this was a wonderful word when I came across it – moodling. Just doing things slowly, enjoying the process, thinking about anything but in a relaxed way. The practice of mindfulness (to be covered in a future post) is very beneficial if you are under pressure and find it difficult to switch off and do nothing. In my opinion, mindfulness is a form of meditation, as is going for a long walk on my own with no aim in mind and no distractions and letting thoughts drift in and out of my mind.

My relationship with time is so different now. In the initial stages of becoming more relaxed about time, even my choice of diary made a difference. If I could see the whole week at a glance, which I do find useful, I also used to see that there was not much time left before the week had even begun as there seemed to be so much already organised. I changed to one page a day, and time seemed immediately to extend itself. Now I am back to a week at a glance as I am able to be more relaxed and my diary no longer panics me.

There are a range of time management books out there but I think that the key to dealing with time issues is not how to manage time but how to change your relationship with time. It is the rest of life and creating balance that is the issue, not the amount of time itself. It is how you feel about time, as opposed to what it actually is. You can have the same amount of time to do the same thing, but one day you might feel that you don’t have enough time, you may feel rushed, stressed, tired. Another day you may feel relaxed and confident with no issues about getting the task completed in the time available. It is very much more about your perception of time than the amount of time actually available.

Sometimes I lump an amount of time all together, and become fearful when getting near the end of it. For example, over the weekend I think of it as a whole, and when it gets to Sunday late afternoon/early evening that that is the end of it. Yet in the week when returning home from work at teatime/early evening, I still think I have a whole evening ahead of me. Why cannot I think the same of Sunday evenings? I seem to have so much on my mind about the next day that it leads to time being wiped away.

Sometimes I stop and think. We are all living our own separate lives. We all start and end at different points. Yet we treat time as if we are all experiencing the same amount of time with the use of the 24 hour clock, 7-day week and 12 months in a year. We are all experiencing different moments of time in each of our individual lives. Why should we allow ourselves to be taken over by a universal approach to time? If we listen to the radio, we can’t get away from the fact that every hour we know when it is up when the news/weather/traffic info comes on. We get reminded to the minute of the exact time.’

Doing away with a universal approach would undoubtedly lead to chaos in the extreme but there needs to be a balance between living our own (time-limited) lives in the best way possible and fitting in with the demands cast upon us by a world dominated by time.

Note

I have checked out the poem by American poet Mary Oliver.  It is ‘The Summer Day’ also referred to as ‘The Grasshopper’.  The last lines are:

‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’

You might like to listen to Mary Oliver reading it.

Possessions, memories and how to approach clutterless living unique to you

Copyright 2015, Cajsa Lilliehook, Flickr, CC-BY-SA, via Wylio

Copyright 2015, Cajsa Lilliehook, Flickr, CC-BY-SA, via Wylio

Following on from my last post on Selfness, here is another piece of draft writing from the same book (self-development/coaching).

‘Clutterless < — > Tidyness

I have had a long struggle with ‘clutter’ – I hold on to things for too long that I may never need. I now recognise that there is little value in this, apart from saving a few pennies or pounds in the distant future at the expense of living a cluttered existence.  If there is too much clutter, housework takes too long and becomes an unwelcome chore.

There has been much written on being clutterfree but some of this can be over-the-top, and lead to having a de-personalised space which is great for a showhouse but is it really a home?

At one time, I felt rebellious about clutterbusting.  Having had to downsize, I had no option than to sell or dispose of many items, some of which I still have regrets about.  Thankfully I did not rid myself completely of some of the smaller boxes containing various bits and pieces.  I later went through these and as I picked up a piece, I would recall a special person or time in my life.  Having a poor memory for some things, these triggers are invaluable and I am so thankful that I still have them in my life.

The key is to achieve a balance between possessions and space, with each possession having a place.  This leads to being clutterless (as opposed to clutterfree), keeps the space tidy and results in a personalised environment that is special to you.

Periodically I enjoy spending time sifting through a selection of my possessions to check that I still want to keep them, or to organise them in a better way.  This works for me.  I have found that by decorating a room in a way that brings me pleasure, then choosing storage solutions that complement that environment, I am able to keep the things that I love in a way that adds to my contentment in my home.

My problem is that I still buy things and bring them into the home. I get pleasure from browsing in charity shops and strolling round boot fairs, disastrous for adding to clutter! But I enjoy it, and therefore my sifting has become a regular occurrence to keep balance within the home. The benefits are that this process can be done mindfully. (A topic for another post.)

Here are a few tips for becoming clutterless:

  • Spend random times – perhaps in the evenings or at week-ends – going through a shelf, drawer or cupboard.  What works for me, if I am not motivated but want to sort something out, is to set a timer for 20 minutes and make an agreement with myself that after 20 minutes I can be done.  Oftentimes I am by then enjoying myself and get lost in the task, carrying on longer and achieving more, with a sense of satisfaction from the end result.
  • Draw up your own criteria for keeping things.  My own is that an item either gives pleasure, is useful now or within the next year, has memories or some other reason that I can justify to myself for keeping it.  Books are my downfall – yet they are such treasures. Also clothes. I do hold on to a lot of clothes, even though I apply the sifting process, but if they are well-organised then I don’t see it as a problem.
  • Decide what storage you want and get it.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot.  There are lots of cheap shelving options out there, or colourful boxes and filing systems.  The choice is yours. I have a bed with wonderful drawers which take a surprising amount.
  • Question what you are keeping ‘because it may be of use some day’.  My experience is that it is the things with memories, special things that people have given me, that I have missed. Those without memories are soon forgotten, and if you don’t need them then the likelihood is that you will not miss them. Amongst my regrets are my food mixer and food processor that I had for many years. I was in for a shock when I saw the replacement cost. So, think twice before sifting too far!
  • Think about what you really enjoy in your life.  Consider your values and keep the things that enhance your life.  Let go of those you will never use and just leave you with feelings of guilt that you should have done something with them.

Accept your level of clutterlessness and enjoy.’

This piece was written a few years back.  If you have read my recent post on Clutter-busting, it will be clear that I have not completely solved the clutter problem.  It remains something which varies according to my health, energy and motivation.

At the risk of sounding a bit weird, a conversation and youtube watching session with my daughter on shopping hauls gave me the idea of playing around with my new computer videoing a garage book haul.  I took a block of ten books off my shelf unit in my garage and recorded myself going through them and talking about them and what I found interesting.  I was hoping that by doing this I would at least find something that I no longer wanted.  I was wrong … it just reinforced my choice to keep them.  And the potential youtube video?  It was a learning experience – for a start it was too slow, I was swinging to and fro on my chair – very distracting – and it seemed so false!  There’s certainly work to be done if I want to join my daughter in becoming a youtuber (something she wants to do but not yet and would be great if we could both get involved).

By the way, for those that have read my post on Clutter-busting, as part of my garage plan I was researching the cost of skips at the week-end only to find that local skip hire companies are exceptionally secretive about their fees meaning that a few phone calls were needed.  Well today I contacted some and was slightly horrified at the cost.  Then I looked at the van hire and somehow the skip seemed more appealing.  However, even just working out that plan got me motivated to make a start on sorting the garage out, even if it wasn’t according to the plan I devised. I’ve made a start on working through it.

As a last thought, I think being part of this blogging community is really helping to motivate and inspire me.  When it comes to the home, I particularly like Le Zoe Musings which has such beautiful photos which include a selection of closet solutions.  Blogging has opened up a whole new world to me at a time when the world might otherwise have seemed to be getting smaller.

Unblocking creativity and releasing inspiration – 10 minute writing challenge (2 of 2)

Copyright 2013 Miguel Virkkuhen Carvalho, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

Copyright 2013 Miguel Virkkuhen Carvalho, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

This 10 minute writing exercise was written four days after the last one posted yesterday, back in January of this year when I was in hospital.  It was a very emotional time yet at the same time my emotions were somewhat on hold, still struggling somewhere with my new situation in life, having just been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia – a fast-acting life threatening form of cancer.  Fortunately the final report revealed that I had the type APL (Acute Promyelocytic Leukaemia) which has the best prognosis.  

‘Let anything come to light. Light, sun, shade, depths. My favourite colours. Pink and turquoise. Where are they now? The luminescence of my favourite pink is in my hand leading this waltz of writing. Waltz – music is within me yet it has evaded me. The song of life, the thrill of it all. The lilting sound of creativity. Creativity is to be found all around – or is it? I need to search it out, to wallow in it and bring it back to life. Life, it keeps coming up. This new, unexpected venture. How does it feel to be here? But I am not ‘here’. I am soothing my soul to do something special with creativity. There is so much around, but where is it hiding. I am on a journey and that journey is just finding me. I must avoid the logic. That is not what this is for. Storytelling was my aim and that can stay with me. I will write a short story, one that wings in from the sky above. One that I don’t think hard about, it just comes to me. Will it be real? There will be more than one – but fantasy is what breathes through my veins. A new light. Get caught up in the colour that comes to me.  Take inspiration from all that has come to be in this vessel of a room. The cards and gifts. Where am I? I am with heart. I am loving life. All is not lost it is within me. To find the light and the story. To have music in my mind. To love and to laugh. To write music is a gift that I can bring to this time. I am soaring through the sky in Florida. Such a wonderful and special time. The cool air brushing through my hair as I swirl through the clouds like a swan sweeping across the ocean.’

Unblocking creativity and releasing inspiration – 10 minute writing challenge (1 of 2)

Copyright 2009 Trug Bui Viet, Flicks, via Wylio

Copyright 2009 Trug Bui Viet, Flickr, CC-BY-SA, via Wylio

I thought I would share with you this 10 minute writing exercise I carried out after a friend gave me a very special writing book while I was in hospital.  This is the very first bit of writing I did as a result of receiving this book.  (Try it yourself – set a timer for 10 minutes and just write whatever comes into your head.)  This was written in January this year.  I have in the past month started my story … I just need to return again.  This 10 minute extract conveys the kind of autobiographical fiction I would like to write.

‘Heart of my life. This moment. Where am I? I am in a new life. I am boarding a train at Platform Life. I have my ticket to an unknown destination. It is calling me. I have no idea where I am going but I have my inside filled with the fuel of inspiration. I am alone. Yet I do not feel alone. I feel that I have my spirits with me. The special light of those I have loved and lost. Yet there is the call of mystery. This is my story. I recall when I was given a signal to get on the train and know that I was on a special journey. I received texts telling me that I was not alone. It was scary yet somehow exciting. I love trains and I was on a journey to my mystery story, the one I am going to start.

I feel it is a fantasy story. It means I can go on any plane of life. The now, the future, the past, the unknown. The hidden depths within me. I may get lost but the fragments of me will collect themselves and save me from the hardness of life as I know it at this moment. I am on a soft journey to a fantasy world. I am going to soar into a story of such powerfulness that inspires me and connects me with the people who I love now and those I have yet to meet. I feel blessed to have this opportunity. And it is going to re-alight my creativity. Take me to a place that is beyond the bounds of special. A unique, timeless experience that is so touching, so enchanting, that I will create many special characters to join me on this journey. They will be colourful, fantastical, special, heartwarming …’

Oblivion – poem

Copyright 2008 David Ohmer, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

Copyright 2008 David Ohmer, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

I wrote this poem when I was attending a creative writing course in 2013.  It was at this time that I learnt about different types of poems and editing.  It was my first (and only!) attempt at a Villanelle style of poem.  Most of my poems have been written spontaneously and rarely edited.  I’d love to know what you think.

.

OBLIVION

.

Across the trapway looming dwellings queue

I struggle with thoughts of others’ feeling

Shimmering isle inspired by blue depth hue

.

Eery emptiness fakes tempting trespass

I’m drawn to chance the shake of such stepping

Across the trapway looming dwellings queue

.

Furtive steps melt along the curving path

I feel the heat of the orange glowing

Shimmering isle inspired by blue depth hue

.

Hidden echoes of the privileged few

I hear aching voices softly calling

Across the tramway looming dwellings queue

.

Tippling boats and boys seared by rich sun rays

I bless them from the heart for such dreaming

Shimmering isle inspired by blue depth hue

.

Shedding golden light on secret ways

I feel lured in by those that went sailing

Across the tramway looming dwellings queue

Shimmering isle inspired by blue depth hue

River of Gold – poem on graduation

Copyright 2013 Kinshuk Kashyap, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

Copyright 2013 Kinshuk Kashyap, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

I wrote this poem on the train en route to my son’s graduation back in 2011.

.

RIVER OF GOLD

.

A droplet in the ocean

no different than the rest

The world is filled with motion

yet there seems no special quest

.

There’s such a special journey

for one that is so small

A ripple, one of many

some are heading for a fall

.

Life gives them such a blessing

with gifts for all to seek

Within is where they’re hiding

and the secret is to peek

.

Search for true hidden talents

the playful ones count too

Don’t let them say it’s nonsense

deep inside you have the cue

.

To learn the many reasons

for this and that and how

Till knowledge is the river

leads to taking such a bow

.

The prize is yours forever

to take you far and wide

The river it is golden

rippling ever more with pride

Poem on a much delayed train journey to Brighton – untitled

Copyright 2011 Alexander, Flickr, CC-BY-SA, via Wylio

Copyright 2011 Alexander, Flickr, CC-BY-SA, via Wylio

Just found this poem.  I was on my way to Brighton to visit a school friend I had not seen for very many years.  It turned out to be a very special day.  This was written spontaneously on the very long (much delayed) train journey there after gazing out the window at the surrounding countryside.

I am life.

I am a leaf

growing out a place.

I live here,

here on the bank.

The trains pass me by,

no-one sees

‘cept those frustrated

with their time-thieved lives

and they are too blinkered to see.

I am a leaf of life.

Words – what would we do without them? Random poetic writing

Copyright 2012 Denise Krebs, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

Copyright 2012 Denise Krebs, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

I have just stumbled across these verses written early one morning in the summer of 2010 sitting by the river whilst holidaying at Statford upon Avon.  The desire to write and getting stuck seems to have remained with me!

.

Aren’t words the wonder of all

they bring such treasures our way

Without them we’d fall with nothing to call

and life would be dull day on day.

.

We’d sing, no lyrics would come

we would hum, laa laa, dee dee

What would be the point, well ok for some

but for most so lost would be.

.

So writers what would they write

no way to convey their thoughts

However they tried, as hard as they might

they would drift and be out of sorts.

.

How would we share all our joys

that come bursting through our voice

Whatever we feel, whatever the noise

the message is not our choice.

.

With no words no wonder is

unless an artist could be

With colour and light, some pencil and vizz

would say all there is to see.

.

Words are the key to my life

without them what would I do

Be lost for a while, my thoughts would be rife

till vision could see them too.

.

A lesson it is for me

to be the best that I can

A story will write, for all it will be

for children, for women, for man.

.

A puzzle this has become

it didn’t set out to be

I will paint and draw, I will sing and hum

till the words they come to me.

.