Listen to the Teacher

A little poem what I wrote this afternoon while reflecting that yesterday I was swimming in the sea with a seagull and today I am sitting in a concrete box.

Listen to the Teacher

Sitting in a concrete box
Looking out the window at the trees and hills
People walking their dogs

What are we doing?
What is the lesson outcome?
We belong out there, not in here

All the Growth Mindset
All the Wellbeing Policies
Are not going to knock down those walls

I breathe in the stale air
Reconditioned and pumped around the building
‘Don’t open the windows until the LED is lit’

There will be consequences
If you dare to be different
If you don’t conform to our dress policy
If you have the wrong haircut

You see we don’t do different
But we do have a ‘diversity policy’
You make us feel uneasy
We might have to face the truth of what we have done
To our children
To you

You were once unstoppable
But now your dreams have been quashed
By a head stuffed full of facts

We don’t care what you want
You are here to consume
To keep our system going
And I am your teacher.

4.15pm 22/1/19 ©Helen Pengelly

A tale of two crabs

Once upon a time there were two crabs who lived on the same beach. There was Crafty the male one and Cheeky the female one. Because they were crabs they used their shells to protect their sensitive insides. They were both getting on in years now. When they were younger they had different mates and used to sometimes play together. They then went their separate ways. Later Crafty’s mate swam away and Cheeky’s found another and then died.

Unbeknown to Cheeky though, Crafty had still been watching her from his end of the beach. One day when Cheeky thought it might be time to start looking for a new mate, she noticed Crafty was looking her way and they both came out of their shells for a little while and had some fun together. Of course, being crabs, they would both still hide in their shells from time to time because they sometimes found it hard to be vulnerable.

Then Crafty decided to start digging a big hole in the sand. Cheeky, as her name suggests, was a little more audacious and from time to time she would go and tap on Crafty’s shell. Although she often went back into her shell she was now older and wiser and realised it was quite lonely in there. But he was very busy digging and also retreated further and further into his shell. He still liked Cheeky but told her he did not have time to come out to play because he needed to finish his hole.

After a while Cheeky got a little bored waiting for him to come out. By now the tide was coming in. She decided to ride on the waves and have fun on her own. As the tide went out again she swam with it and started to have some exciting adventures. Crafty was so deep in his hole though the tide didn’t catch him so he was left behind on the beach. At low tide he came out again and saw that Cheeky was gone.

So how does the story end? Well that really depends on Crafty. He knows Cheeky likes him but she can’t wait for him forever. He could carry on digging his hole or he could take a break and swim out to meet Cheeky and have some amazing adventures together…

Making good habits fun


Good habits don’t have to be boring. The picture above is my ‘choices’ bag. I returned from a retreat in October and I wanted to find a more creative way to stay  ‘in the gap.’ This is the space between something happening and responding to it. Most of the time we react without thinking about it. I have been meditating and practising mindfulness for over 10 years now and one of the downsides is that I am very aware of my bad habits! I am learning to be kinder to myself and instead of beating myself up replacing them with better ones. It is much harder to stay with our experience when we are upset or bored so we find something to distract us – usually something addictive like social media, alcohol, cigarettes etc.

In my choices bag are coloured cards. On the yellow different meditations, the pink different forms of exercise, the blue different writing activities and the green different inspiring ideas of something to read. I keep it by my bed and I pick out one of each colour as soon as I wake up. I am not one for a day to day routine so this works for me because I love stationery and I don’t know what I am going to choose it makes each day’s activities different. It can be hard to stay motivated when you are working at home. Another reason it works is that of course I have only put on the cards things I enjoy doing. There is no point me putting going to the gym on a pink card because that will never happen so I have doing yoga, going for a walk or bike ride or swim.

Sometimes they don’t all happen so I have to remember to be kind to myself as life gets in the way. However in less than three weeks I have established a daily writing habit, something I was struggling to do before.  If you struggle to get motivated please feel free to contact me about coaching.

Thank you for reading and have fun today!


Adventures in the Blogosphere

Do not read this if you have a weak constitution. The Blogosphere is a very scary place unless you have a certain level of resilience and ability not to take others’ views of you personally.

There is a murky world lurking in the nether regions of the World Wide Web called ‘The Blogosphere’. The creatures that live there may bear a passing resemblance to humans but they lack an important characteristic of conscious beings and that is their ability to recognise their own reflection. They have a certain set of rules and if you unwittingly break any of them they will be after your blood. Ignorance is no defence here (nor is having a life).

So if you come across a – wait for it – *hushed tones* (a recipe) and decide you would like to share it and give full credit to the author, in their world this is akin to plagiarising a novel, sharing a sensitive state secret or some ground-breaking research that has not yet been revealed to the world. Never mind that there are only a very limited number of ingredients to make a certain dish and you could have quite possibly come up with it yourself but instead you are quite happy to give someone else the glory.

The trolls who permanently loiter in the swamps of the Blogosphere are waiting to pounce. They could have sent a cheery note that says: ‘Hey that’s my recipe’ (err yes I know I gave you credit for it and a link to your website) ‘I would rather you didn’t have it on your blog. I don’t want anyone else to know about it.’ and then you would delete it, no further bother. But instead they threaten you with contacting the almighty Google (I didn’t even know you could do that) to destroy your website and filing an SMCA (or some other random letters, again something I had never heard of) with your website host. Yes they really have nothing better to do. They also try and scare you by saying it will affect your SEO – another feature of these creatures is that they manage to live in a parallel universe that is 10 years behind ours and yet still communicate with us. They also do not understand that some people actually enjoy sharing theirs, as well as other people’s ideas that they like, for the fun of it to help make the world a better place and are not bothered about making a dollar out of it.

Then comes the really scary part – here you need to be resilient and to believe in your own innate goodness. Let’s say you reply to the passive aggressive message you have received explaining that you meant no harm and maybe the sender is over reacting a tad. (Remember at this point the wrath of the swamp dwellers has not yet been invoked.) Being highly intuitive you are good at picking up on emotions and are surprised at the anger behind the message, thinking it to be out of the ordinary – as it would be in our world – you then put a comment on your blog expressing that surprise but do not reveal the messenger’s identity. Now instead of replying to your message they call on their fellow swamp dwellers. You see, I had not realised up till now that the messenger was a troll in disguise. They then bombard your blog with comments. Luckily they are not that intelligent as they make reference to the fact they are the messenger’s friends or some of their characteristics so you know he/she is behind this tirade of abuse. Refer back now to that lack of ability to recognise their own reflection. They also have no concept of irony – so if they are reading this post they will not get that this is ironic too.

Now because you are a resilient, self-actualised human you can see the irony in their comments such as: ‘you’re a bit of a bitch,’ ‘you’re very immature and need to grow up,’ (no thanks I’d rather not) ‘the law is a real thing and was not made up by someone,’ ‘the messenger was being reasonable I would have blown up your site without giving you any warning,’ – and now for the scariest one of all, be careful here because you could end up getting sucked into that swamp with no hope of escape – ‘you need to make friends with your fellow bloggers (i.e. swamp trolls),’ etc. Yes I am paraphrasing here but you get the drift.

If you are still reading this and not hiding behind the sofa I can tell you there is good news and hope for the future. You see these swamp trolls could become emotionally intelligent human beings if they engage their will. It may be a few lifetimes away yet but if they wanted to work on their own personal growth perhaps they could learn to meditate or get some coaching, who knows?




You crept up behind me from out of the shadows,
Knocked me off kilter
And set me adrift.

The years haven’t always been kind
But somehow I survived.

Now as middle age draws near
My skin thickens and wrinkles
But underneath I’m still soft and squishy,
Tender and easily bruised.

As autumn fades into winter,
The last leaves cling resolutely to the trees
And the sun sinks lower in the sky,
Who will catch me when I fall?

Copyright Helen Pengelly 2015

I Wonder by Derek Tasker

The Write Idea

A friend sent me this poem by Derek Tasker a few years ago when I was dealing with a particularly difficult person. Today, my birthday, I offer it to myself and all of you, as a possibility. I wonder, too.

I Wonder

I wonder what would happen if

I treated everyone like I was in love

with them, whether I like them or not

and whether they respond or not and no matter

what they say or do to me and even if I see

things in them which are ugly twisted petty

cruel vain deceitful indifferent, just accept

all that and turn my attention to some small

weak tender hidden part and keep my eyes on

that until it shines like a beam of light

like a bonfire I can warm my hands by and trust

it to burn away all the waste which is not

never was my…

View original post 4 more words


Busy people
Rushing around
Got to finish this job
Heads bowed looking down
How can they see where they are going?
They are moving onto the next thing
They’ve lost touch with what they love and their true vision

Take a minute
It only takes a minute

Could you do this another way?

But this is the way it’s always been
Bugger efficiency
I’m too old to change my ways now


Sorry, things to do. Bye

Surely you don’t really need to do all that paperwork

Oh but I have to meet these targets

But what if you didn’t do it, would the job still get done?

Of course but I need to have the evidence that I did it


For the inspectors

Oh, are they blind then?

No, but… hang on a minute… I have a brain
I could do this my way

Yes! Yes! Yes!

National Novel Writing Month

A little over 2 years ago while I was on retreat I had an idea for a novel. I started writing it but after I came home life got in the way and although I did a bit every now and then it got put aside after a while.

I’ve always wanted to write a book so last month I set myself the goal of finishing the raw story by the end of November. Fortunately this happened to coincide with National Novel Writing Month. The target is 50,000 words in a month. You can set up a profile and enter in each day how many words you’ve written. This is displayed on a graph and it compares your stats with the average and tells you how many words a day you need to write to reach the target and what day you’ll finish if you continue at your current rate. As a mathematician all this is very pleasing to me and keeps me motivated.

In the past I would make excuses to myself for not doing it. Since the last week of October I’ve been writing every day. Even if I don’t have much time I write SOMETHING! My daily word count has ranged from as little as 400 words to over 7000. I know that if I miss a day I’m likely to miss the next and the next…. I’m currently on target to reach 50,000 words on 24th November so it would be easy for me to say I’m well with in the (self-imposed) deadline so it won’t matter if I don’t do it today, I’ll make up for it tomorrow.

Last weekend I hated it. But I still wrote anyway.

Some days I think it’s stupid. But I still write anyway.

I’ve heard the best way to get over writer’s block is to write. Fortunately I haven’t had that problem. I don’t always know what’s going to happen next in my story but that’s part of the fun, seeing how it unfolds. It’s like watching a film in my head sometimes, I just write down what I see.

If you are writing too and feel like giving up – don’t! Coaching may help too.

It’s ok to be silly

How often I was told as a child ‘don’t be silly’, ‘be sensible’ and if my younger brother was naughty I would get the blame being told that ‘you are old enough to know better’ or ‘you should be setting a good example.’ When I was older it occurred to me to wonder who, as I was the oldest, should be setting me a good example? And of course I’ve been guilty of saying similar things to my boys!

When we are at Primary School a lot of the teaching time is devoted to creative activities then suddenly at Secondary School everything is sectioned off into separate subjects with Maths, English and Science being considered the most important. Maybe there is a little room for imagination in English but exam questions have to be answered in a certain format.

When I started Grammar School the novelty of feeling grown up wore off after the first term and I discovered that it was more fun to try and make people laugh. This was frowned upon of course.

I grew up without a TV so I lived a lot in my imagination, either through reading or writing stories, drawing pictures or simply sitting making things up in my head. How lovely to have the opportunity this last week to re-connect with my imagination and write whatever came into my head – however ridiculous or silly it may seem.

Then yesterday when I get home there is a knot in my stomach ‘Oh dear, did I make a fool of myself?’ and I inwardly cringe. How ridiculous – I am cringing at the thought of being authentic.

So now my mantra has to be ‘it’s ok to be silly.’