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A means to an end, or making the means the end? Tuesday March 18, 2014

I've indulged in strange behaviours over the years. For example, I'd often skip breakfast so that I could be at a meeting 100 miles away early instead of merely on time. It was amazing how often so many other people would then turn up late (you know, the ones that lived around the corner!)

I conned myself that I was being 'professional', that sacrificing those precious moments needed for a breakfast, a good coffee, or even a shower was a "means to an end".

Well, I mean to make an end of that!

This week, I've put breakfast higher on the agenda. I've put taking photographs early in the morning higher on the agenda. I've put 'moments' higher on the agenda. And I've taken pleasure in 'necessities'.

I am often childish (embarrassing at 53) but occasionally I stray into being 'Child-like'. When child-like I regain my sense of wonder. In these moments I love the simplicity and luxury of the shower. I say, "Hello!" to the daffodils who have remained steadfast through the storms. I even greet my favourite trees. I talk to my fish. And I'm happier for it.

As I grow increasingly unattracted to the later part of my life (the end) I see a need to enjoy the means as the end. The ritual of making a 'posh' coffee becomes an end in itself. Buying unsliced bread so that I can cut it myself and enjoy the process – this becomes an end in itself. Deliberately walking to the shop so that I can see how the Spring flowers are faring in neighbours' gardens – an enjoyable end in itself.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that others have said more eloquently before: I need to enjoy the journey... step by step... moment by moment... simple wonder by enchanting wonder...

A Moodscope member.

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DawnCRitchie Tue, Mar 18th 2014 @ 7:52am

Thats lovely Lex. I love to look at gardens when I walk past them and also see them develop throughout the season from buds to full bloom and it gives me ideas for my own garden too.
Love and blooms :D x

Anonymous Tue, Mar 18th 2014 @ 7:53am

I have been doing this for a few weeks, with the change in season there is so much to notice and enjoy and be part of even for a fleeting moment. However I was starting to be willingly sucked back into a hurry up pace, being a hurry up person this is comfortable but it comes with the price of anxiety and missing so many opportunities. I thank you for your message as it has enabled me to refocus and to recognise that this way is important for me and it has put a smile on my face.

Lex McKee Tue, Mar 18th 2014 @ 8:14am

It's magic, moment by moment, isn't it? The elegant Grape Hyancinths are now catching up with the Narcissi - those delicate tiny daffodils. I'm particularly struck by the confidence of the Magnolias. Here is a tree that is prepared to bloom before it has put forth leaves to drink in the Sun's energy. It's almost as if it has total faith that the sunny days will come, so it rejoices in blooming first in anticipation. (Shameless anthropomorphism, I know, but it still brings me pleasure!) Have a blooming marvellous day yourself! L'x

Lex McKee Tue, Mar 18th 2014 @ 8:17am

I can think of no higher delight than putting a smile on your face. Do you know what? It's catching! Just that thought put a smile on my face too! Thank you for taking the time to share a "moment".


Anonymous Tue, Mar 18th 2014 @ 8:29am

Thank you for your reminder to be more mindful of the world around us. I strive to do this but often get caught up in the day to day rush of things - I will make a more concerted effort to relish the wonders around us.

Anonymous Tue, Mar 18th 2014 @ 8:45am

Yup thanks for reminder I busy myself through life most days and am paying the price for sure! Time to stop
And look around the gardens and watch them burst out with colour and life ! Look forward to
Walking into town today xxxx thanks Lex have a lovely day ;)

Anonymous Tue, Mar 18th 2014 @ 9:00am

Beautifully put Lex, thank you for that. For me it is running around with my nephew this morning, playing Knights and dragons for a few minutes.
It makes the rest of the day.
Claire xx

Mary Tue, Mar 18th 2014 @ 9:28am

Hey - love you Lex! Brilliant, brilliant post. When you can post something that makes us smile and cry at the same time - that's pretty powerful! And you know, I thought I was the only person over 50 who goes out into the sunshine saying "Hello flowers. Hello Trees. Hello birds. Isn't it lovely today!" My heart is warmer and fuller for your beautiful words this morning.

Lex McKee Tue, Mar 18th 2014 @ 9:35am

I've got a friend with a business called, "Press Pause" - and I really love that thought. How can we have pause for thought unless we "press pause"? Of course, "pause" also covers walking into town... I hope it's really special for you xxx (and, thank you, I'm having a lovely day... ah, sunshine!)

Lex McKee Tue, Mar 18th 2014 @ 9:41am

Ah Claire, you've reminded me of another precious 'moment'. This was a head teacher who used to teach his children an important maths lesson in a rather unforgettable way... he would be the good Knight, "Sir Cumference" and charge around their round tables in the classroom to make his point... magic. No dragon will be safe today I suspect! (except the friendly ones, of course!) Recommend "Green Smoke" by Rosemary Manning...if you've not read it - and thank you for provoking the memory of that - something I've not read for 40 years!! xx

Lex McKee Tue, Mar 18th 2014 @ 9:43am

Ooops! I made a spelling mistook. I meant to say, "Mary, you make me soar on wings like an eagle!"

Anonymous Tue, Mar 18th 2014 @ 10:27am

Just - thank you. Your theme really hit home to someone in a low place. Off to look at (and maybe talk to) some daffs.

Anonymous Tue, Mar 18th 2014 @ 10:34am

Aaah, what a beautiful inspiring post. I also talk and express my gratitude to the flowers and the sheep and the trees and the sea and the sparkly rain (i swear at the wind though). I am starting my almost 50 life over again with the gift of mindfulness, which seems to be what you are talking about. I'm going to talk a walk today, which otherwise would have been a car ride. Thank you x

Lex McKee Tue, Mar 18th 2014 @ 10:55am

It's not daft to talk to Daffodils,
They simply nod their heads as if they understand our ills;
They even nod approvingly when I share my thoughts;
Yes, let's share our words with Daffodils,
I really think that we ought!

Lex McKee Tue, Mar 18th 2014 @ 10:58am

I used to live near a Nature Reserve.
It was an easy drive.
But then I began to cycle.
As I slowed my journey, I was amazed at all the new natural treasures I 'saw' and 'heard' and me being me, reached out and touched.
Is there a book or site on 'mindfulness' that you'd recommend to us all?

Anonymous Tue, Mar 18th 2014 @ 11:38am

I have to feed my tortoise every morning after bathing her, I have to pick a selection of plants. Once she has bathed she has a wander on the table and I feed her. Sometimes she eats a lot sometimes not, I can't rush her. I like that.

Lex McKee Tue, Mar 18th 2014 @ 1:53pm

The Natural World provides such a rich source of inspiration, doesn't it? I've got the hardest working snails I've ever seen in my fish tank. They do a wonderful job of cleaning the glass but they move at a snail's pace! Like the old story of the tortoise and the hare, today's mad world - dashing everywhere - is perhaps hare-brained (though I accept that's not the original meaning of that term!) A neighbour used to call people racing around everywhere, "mad cuckoos". Tortoises live a long time - perhaps because they pace themselves. Not so cuckoo after all!

Silvia A Tue, Mar 18th 2014 @ 2:54pm


I really enjoyed your blog but this is not a novelty for me.

You asked: "Is there a book or site on 'mindfulness' that you'd recommend to us all?"

Recently, the author Katherine G. Levine mentioned her blog in the commentaries. I found it interesting. She seems to be such a lovely lady. Wed, Mar 19th 2014 @ 12:08am

Lovely, lovely post Lex. Just lovely. And frankly, anyone who can slip 'anthropomorphise' into a comment, gets the thumbs up from me!!;o)

Lex McKee Wed, Mar 19th 2014 @ 7:56am

Enjoying the thumbs up! Thanks for the encouragement!

Silvia A Wed, Mar 19th 2014 @ 3:21pm

Correcting: I really enjoyed your blog but the practice of wondering is not a novelty for me.

Lex McKee Wed, Mar 19th 2014 @ 3:55pm

Thanks for the link, Silvia... I hope others also take the opportunity to look it up. As for wondering - I'm glad it's not a novelty for you. It's always with me but sometimes I forget what really matters - and I forget my own good intentions. I need reminders to be mindful.

Anonymous Sat, Mar 22nd 2014 @ 12:47am

Great post. I will remember to try to focus on the process the next time I find myself asking 'what's the point in this' - a question that can send me rapidly spiralling downwards. I love the thought of you talking to your fish :-) Animals are one of the great graces in life.

Lex McKee Sat, Mar 22nd 2014 @ 7:59am

It's amazing to think I was almost embarrassed to confess to the fact that I talk to animals and plants... but from the responses, it looks like I have a lot of good company! I really do believe we need a sense of 'connectedness' with nature. Humankind's seeming obsession with being superior, above or even separate to nature causes so many problems. None of these issues are based on the fact that we are connected in the delicate web of life. Since the cats 'talk' to me, and the fish show clear enthusiasm when I approach the tank... I think it only right that I speak back in my own language of love... and I can see the daffodils nodding their agreement! Thanks for taking the time out to comment ;0)

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