Posts tagged: change

Thoughts on Transformation

These are some thoughts I collected over a recent weekend workshop.  Most of them are my own (others are credited where possible but if I have failed to credit you, please let me know and I will correct the image).


Narrative thoughts

What I’m wondering is, would these thoughts mean anything to you if you weren’t part of the weekend experience?

  • A conversation can always make a difference.
  • What you see of me is just the tip of the iceberg.
  • What I see of you is just the tip of the iceberg.
  • When you’re looking for the best (in human beings), miraculously, that’s what shows up.
  • Every time I retell the story I notice something different.
  • A rippling moon looking up sees a sister riding the sky.
  • If I peeled my image off the mirror, what would I see?
  • And if I drop the future it shatters into a million sharpened futures.
  • I don’t know. You don’t know. We don’t know. Not knowing is a great place to start.
  • When I am upset about something, that’s not what I’m upset about.
  • Transformation lies in things we would rather avoid.
  • We are constituted in conversation.
  • I came from a nowhere that might have been somewhere and sometimes I glance back.
  • The completion of a story is the beginning of a story.
  • We all have a story, we are not our story and the story does not predict our future.

 Is there anything here that speaks to you and if so, what does it suggest?

If you’re curious I recommend you check the programme out. Here’s a link.


Yallah book cover


Are you thinking of writing a book, self-publishing, or starting out on a new venture of some kind?

Yallah is an Arabic word meaning ‘Let’s go’  or ‘Ready?’. It appealed to me as a title for my novel not only because it is the story of a young woman’s journey into the unknown but also that of an entire society facing the challenge of threats to the fabric of their way of life. 

I also realised, eventually, that I could apply ‘Yallah’ to myself. I had spent years telling myself that I wanted to write. There was always some reason for not doing it: I was too busy teaching; there was so much research to do; I wasn’t ready. It wasn’t until a series of events including ill-health, the death of a young family member and some straight talking from a very dear friend, that I realised what I needed to do in order to be a writer, I needed to write.

As a result my novel is now available in paperback from Amazon and on Kindle.   

If you have an aching desire, a longing, to do something, my advice is ‘get started’. There’s nothing like behaving in a new way for making something new possible. In a way that’s what all my work with clients has been about and applying this notion to my own life has transformed my view of myself. I no longer describe myself as a retired teacher. I am now NLP Master Practitioner, Narrative Life Coach and author.




One, Two, Three – NLP!

Feeling negative?

going down?



   Wish you could break out of that state of  mind?




Try this…

  1. Change your posture – stand taller or lean in a different direction.look up, spread your arms and breathe


  1. Move unexpectedly – star jumps can work wonders


  1. Look up – count chimneys or create a picture in a crack on the ceiling!


Now all you have to do is breathe the change in.


Sometimes all we need is to interrupt a pattern of thought or behaviour and something entirely new becomes possible.

Under Pressure

The Pressure That Creates a Diamond

Consider the pressures exerted on you

Consider the pressures exerted on you

If you are feeling under pressure, step back a little and consider your position.

What can you change easily?

Stepping back a little allows you to see further

Stepping back a little allows you to see further

And when you step back you can see that some things would be harder to change
and it might be possible.
What difference would it make?

And when you step right back you will see that, while there are somethings you can change – and it will make a difference – some things can never be changed.

Now that you know what can never be changed, what can be changed with some difficulty, and what can be changed easily, you can consider your options.

See the big picture

See the big picture

I Always Knew it Wasn’t Me

docs in folderIt’s time to reconsider.

Reconsider the information that makes up your story.

Reconsider your notion of ‘truth’ and how things could be so different.

Reconsider the future.

Like the butterfly’s wing, each of these aspects of life as you have been living it will be linked and interlinked so that when you change one thing, you change everything.

Consider the story of the man who grew up believing he had had polio as a child. He stood with a slight stoop and walked with a limp.

Imagine the shock of discovering that it wasn’t you, but a complete stranger who had polio and somehow your records had become confused.

It wasn’t the relief and sense of release that he experienced first.

To begin with he was confused. Then he became angry but quite quickly he began to realise something about himself.

“Deep down I think I always knew it wasn’t really me” he says, “I knew I was stronger than they said. I knew I could do things they said I couldn’t do.”

Suddenly everything seemed to change for him. He grew an inch taller. He took more exercise, joined a drama group and made new friends.  butterfly

The limp took longer to disappear but as he recognised the relief, and embraced the sense of release from living someone else’s story, everything fell into place so that one day he realised that he no longer limps.

He is not sure when it finally disappeared but there’s one thing he is sure of; he doesn’t want his old records back.

On Reflection

face to face with myself 


I saw that look in the mirror
resembling me but being you
I looked again and saw my mother.
I saw that look in the mirror
did I dream I glimpsed another?
I thought of breaking through.
I saw that look in the mirror
resembling me but being you



national poetry writing month 2013

National Poetry Writing Day – day 23

Today’s challenge – writing a  triolet.
A triolet is an eight-line poem. All the lines are in iambic tetramenter (for a total of eight syllables per line), and the first, fourth, and seventh lines are identical, as are the second and final lines.
This means that the poem begins and ends with the same couplet. Beyond this, there is a tight rhyme scheme (helped along by the repetition of lines) — ABaAabAB.

Narrative NLP
I think this poem is about that moment of transformational confusion in which you think you know what you are looking at but you see something you don’t expect and suddenly everything looks different.

What do you think?


Through the Eyes, Ears, Nose and Fingertips of a Child – How Poetry can Set You Free

children jumping




Girls and boys come out today

see and smell 
touch and hear and feel
a couple of trees
a neglected hedge
a skyful of reeling birds
the after-rain air
the drip of a drop from a bud
the calls of an owl in love
the squelching or crunching or crack underfoot
the tickles, the pongs, the screeches and songs
the lumpy jumpy crawly things
the water the sap the blood

in the mud
in the grass
in the rain
in the tractor rut in the lane
in the park under a slide
on a pavement lit in the dark
by a blue puddle of moonlight

While foxes bark and Jack Frost bites
owls hoot at the moon
hedgehogs swim and spiders spin
frogs leap and croak and spawn
so when you wake
be sure to take
a look in the pond on the lawn

The world can be sticky or stony or mossed
it is damp by turns with dry
wind can be cool or warm and wet
time can stand still or fly
when you watch and wait for clouds to change
or for rainbows after the rain
listen for cuckoo
look for a hare
listen for lark
look for the dark
or wait for the rain again

Walk in the light bright world for a while
feel the touch of the sun
find leaves and stones and waterfall
now that something new has begun


national poetry writing month 2013National Poetry Writing Month 2013
Day 22 is Earth Day

The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 and is now celebrated internationally.
The challenge – write a poem in keeping with Earth Day.


Poetry and Life Coaching with Narrative NLP

One of the most inspiring ways of looking at life is to experience it as a child again, at a time before the first inklings of negativity have made a mark.  It may sound difficult to believe, but we can get back there.

Of course know that we are adults we can look back and see times in our childhood when something, and it is often love, seems to be missing. 

How would it be if, whatever you believe was missing in your childhood, you could go back now and give it to the younger you? What difference would it make to the child? And what difference would that make to you growing up with this new experience no longer missing, but present in your life as you matured? Imagine the difference it could make to how you feel right now.

The good news is that our brains don’t really know the difference between imagination and reality and imagination is always more powerful. So imagine yourself having had the childhood you would wish for yourself and notice the difference.

Writing this poem was a wonderful experience of splashing in puddles, pushing sticks into frogspawn and feeling the sun on my back.  It was exactly like being there again now.  I know there is still work to be done on it, and the best bit is that each time I revisit the poem, I will be revisiting my childhood.


Tell Your Own Fortune

 national poetry writing month 2013
Day 21 of National Poetry Writing Month

The challenge: re-write Frank O’Hara’s Lines for the Fortune Cookies.


Fortune Cookie Lines Recreated

You were always perfect, today, more perfect than yesterday, tomorrow…

You will have a future you have not even dreamed of

Everyone you ever meet will be a familiar stranger

Whatever you write will be right but may be left until the left has righted itself

Please contact the person whose contact you have been avoiding

You will never know RLS and KB and many more besides

Relax a little

Your first efforts will necessarily lead to your greatest achievement

Wherever you go will be the place to be

Your dreams have a lyrical quality which only you can translate

It is up to you to fill in the gaps

Who do you think you are? It turns out that’s who you will be.

You think your life is on a downward spiral but life is upside down

Something will happen

That’s not a pain in the neck, it’s stargazing

I realise you know all this but did you know you knew?

Whenever you wear white I know all’s right in your world

The next person you don’t speak to might have an intriguing proposal

A lot of people in the room wish they were you.

Have you been to those classes yet?

At times a glance at your watch may be misconstrued

What would you do if you didn’t have to do anything?

If you were a prisoner here, how would you escape?

Eat, drink, and self-authenticate

Put yesterday behind you

Whatever has been stopping you has stopped.


What has all this got to do with Narrative NLP and Life Coaching?

digital thought womanIf you keep doing what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always had.  

In order to transform your experience, you need to do something that will feel strange.  The moment of confusion that the unfamiliar triggers is the moment when something new is beginning to seem possible.

Take any of the lines of the poem and treat it as if it were true.  When ‘A lot of people wish they were you‘ is true, what does that say about you? Now what happens when you see yourself living that as true? Does it feel unfamiliar?  Good, you are experiencing a new perspective.

Try another one; ‘Please contact the person whose contact you have been avoiding‘. That has to be unfamiliar; and what difference does it make?

Now think of something that has been holding you back and consider ‘Whatever has been stopping you has stopped‘. That’s the point of Narrative NLP.  It helps you reach the point at which you know that whatever has been holding you back has stopped so you can let it go.


Disaster Prone Ideas

We hear from Owl

the abscondees have flown the burrows
and boast, with borrowed rodomontade 
hard to tolerate, that they will build a penthouse 
outhouse where they will dine on quahog and clove cheese.
They tease us with their bilious recipes
and we receive their dunderhead disaster prone ideas
as if from messengers mercurial and non-pareil.
They leave themselves open to the cowbird
whose own twice curled unhatched 
will play the owlet while our heroes 
squander their love on a future that proves elusive.


nest metaphorIt’s day 20 of National Poetry Writing Month and I have been becoming a little reckless with my writing over recent days.  

Writing a poem every day has freed me up from some habits that had insidiously made their way into my self-perception. 

My reaction to today’s challenge was to throw caution to the wind and just play.  

Here’s the challenge: write a poem that uses at least five of the following words:






























Letting Go

NaPoWriMo is proving to be a wonderful exercise in letting go. For reasons which may, or may not, include tiredness, enthusiasm, hysteria, …. [fill in your own word here], I have let go of some of my reserve in writing and sharing my poems.

When I re-read the 20 poems I think I detect a loosening or lightening of tone.  I would be very interested to know whether anyone else has noticed changes.  I expect to return to all the poems later to select some for redrafting, and I wonder what I will notice in the future that I’m not seeing now.

If you want to let go of a habit, thought pattern or tendency in your own life, this might be a model you could use.  Let me know what you think. 


Playing with Words

Yesterday I tried too hard to write for National Poetry Writing Month so this morning I decided to be more playful.  I picked a lovely word (I collect words.  If I hear one I like, I save it at the top of a blank word file) and just let my mind wander. This is where it led me…


I approach the boundary
when liminal guards are slipping
into nocturnes of their own
somnambulently trusting.
Beyond them lie notions
whose scope is universal
whose reach profound.

Like creatures under rule of ocean
declining to be found
they lie beyond compare
beyond perception
of me
as I of them.

The facade of wakefulness
until I reinstate
the mist cloud
at the night garden gate.


Life Coaching with Narrative NLP

So what does this have to do with life-coaching, Narrative Practice and NLP?

Sometimes it’s useful, as well as fun, to simply play with words for a while without worrying about things ‘making sense’; ‘sounding right’ or ‘meaning’ something.

Playing is a useful way of learning; children do it all the time but as adults it may not be something we allow ourselves to ‘indulge’ in.  I suggest we do exactly that, indulge our inner child and we might learn something surprising; confirm something we suspected or affirm a positive belief.

This morning I let myself play because yesterday had seemed like hard work. What I discovered was that I don’t have to make life difficult for myself in order to achieve.  That may sound simple but many of us hold ourselves to account by demanding that we live up to words like hard-working, doing what’s right, should, must, always, never.  What words would you add to the list?

Discover your own expectations of yourself and then set yourself free from them for a while.  You may well be surprised.

If this sounds risky then a session with a creative life coach could provide you with the safe environment for your exploration.

If it sounds like fun but you don’t know where to start you could try Beyond Expectations.  It’s a Narrative NLP coaching App which gives you weekly prompts or exercises that will help you find your own luminescent mist cloud.


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