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Sometimes the simple things matter more...

Do you remember pencils?



In primary school, Miss White’s class, I loved to stand by her desk and sharpen her pencils, in one of those machines with metal ears which you pinched to open the fierce, gripping mouth, which help the pencils, while you turned the handle to sharpen the pencil.


Remember pencil stubs,

which got so small they were hard to hold and you had to cramp your hand, but if it was the only thing in your pencil case, then you held on tight.


Remember how the big boy stabbed his friend on the hand, for a laugh, and how it left a black tattoo for ever more?

And how your mum, my mum, told me not to ever, never do that because you could get l lead poisoning, because you could.



Remember how simple it was?

You could write and then rub it out?

Sketch, doodle, blur and shade and then hide the paper in your pocket or pass it to a friend.


But now we are older,

more technologically advanced,

so we have pencils which are plastic which you turn but the thin lead snaps so you turn some more and then you throw the plastic away, in landfill, for evermore.

Or we have screens, and note functions, voice messages, apps, which need power, and precious metals and insurances and passwords.




I write in pencil,

on paper.

I use a rubber (which we can’t say any more because it is rude and so instead we say ‘eraser’..yawn),

and a small, metal, pencil-sharpener (which you have to be careful with because you can take out the blade and cut yourself if you are sad and so don’t just leave it laying around.)




I write and hear the soft swooshing of deft strokes on blank page,

I feel the not-quite-smooth drag across paper,

which slows me down

enough to


connecting brain,

to hand,

to sheet.




I feel the lump of calloused skin on my middle finger on my right hand and smile at the since-childhood sign of imaginings,

Signs on paper and on skin,

marks of meaning making.


I hold the pencil,

shortened by use

and it is an hour glass of thinking, of words, of doodles,

ebbing away with use.



I am a life coach, yoga and psychology teacher, lecturer, researcher, writer, podcaster, tree hugger, horses lover, wild swimmer, mother, sister and friend.  If you think I sound like the kind of person who might help you find what makes your heart sing, come over to to find out more (free courses, blogs, books etc).  See you there.  Go well. Julie x

Julie Leoni

Julie Leoni

Coach, author, podcaster, facilitator, Yoga and psychology teacher, learner

I have over 30 years of experience and qualification in various therapeutic and meditation/mindfulness based approaches. I work with change. Some changes we chose, others happen to us.  Sometimes we know we want to change but don't know how. Sometimes we don't want to change but external events or people are forcing us to change. The menopause, children leaving home, the end of a relationship or job, becoming a parent, coming out, bereavement are just some of the personal changes I support people with. I also work with people who want to make changes to their life and wider world in response to social issues such as Covid, the climate crisis and racial, sexual and gender inequalities. Times are changing whether we want them to or not and we need to be nimble, agile, curious and open in order to part of the new story emerging. Work with me to get clear on what matters to you, what makes your heart sing and what kind of future you want for yourself and those you love. It is possible to live differently, get in touch to explore how.

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