reading between the lines


I followed a van the other day.

Its brightly decorated paintwork advertised service, repair and maintenance. I gazed absent mindedly at the contact details. A number and a website.

A Quaking.

Service and repair after an earthquake? Wow, that’s a niche market.

I looked again… and moved the space. Aquaking. “Aqua King” not “A Quaking”.

Misunderstanding and misinterpretation. Sometimes the signs are hard to read. As they can be in life. Our own signs in particular. Learning to read yourself is perhaps the best skill you can acquire. Understand and interpret wisely, for misunderstanding and misinterpreting your own thoughts, feelings and behaviours could cause significant tremors.


signalling endings, signalling beginnings


Dusk is here.

It’s a strange time. The transition between day and night.

Day and night are clearly marked in our routine of existence.  Each of us associates certain activities with day and night – everything has a place in one or both. Day is when we get up, for example, as many of us work in the day.  Some of us though work at night, so day is when we sleep and everything is reversed.

Dusk is different though.  I can’t think of something I associate with dusk.

It seems solely to exist to mark the transition from day to night.  The fading light a reminder that day is ending and night is beginning.

Signalling endings. Signalling beginnings.

Maybe there is a place for this signalling elsewhere in our lives?
Maybe then change wouldn’t be so scary?
Maybe the signalling could be seen as a celebration of a new beginning?
The celebration of a time passing and a chance to enjoy what that time gave?

Maybe every transition and change programme needs dusk?


is train travel a metaphor for life?

train signal
My train was delayed the other morning because of signalling problems. If you travel by train they are an ever present fact of life.

The delays gave me time to ponder. Even if you don’t commute by train, signalling problems will be ever present in your life too.  Human signalling problems.

That look …
That sigh …
She hasn’t answered my email …
He’s late again …
Those tattoos …
That outfit …
She smiled …
He’s quiet …
My stomach is churning …

If only life’s signals were as simple as red, amber, green. Stop and go. But in life we interpret the signal. Often incorrectly. Very often.

And the misreading of them, accounts for many of our train crashes, in relationships … with others and with ourselves.

That look means I got it wrong, again
That sigh just proves to me that I’m a boring person
She hasn’t answered my email so she doesn’t care
He’s late again so I don’t matter
Those tattoos mean he’s a thug
That outfit says everything about her
She smiled so she likes me
He’s quiet because he doesn’t agree
My stomach is churning because, again, I’m not good enough

Signals on the train network are there to keep us safe and ironically so are life’s signals.

Our interpretation of the signals allow our beliefs about ourselves and our beliefs about the world around us to remain true. In doing so they keep us safe. They also permit judgement of others and in this way we can attribute our pain and discomfort to them and know we are OK.

Sometimes train signals might serve us better in life. Clear and incontrovertible. No interpretation needed. But then we wouldn’t be human.

So how to avoid the train crash?

What if we just noticed?
What if we communicated?
What if we asked what that signal meant and listened to the reply?
What if we explained how we felt at that moment?
What if we were just curious and had the humanity to have an honest conversation instead of judging and interpreting?

I suspect our relationships would be better – mostly our relationship with ourselves.

Travel well on life’s train journey.