Helen Hartley- the Person
On a more personal note, Helen has quite an artistic streak. She loves music and was classically trained on the piano as a child. Her love of music also extends to theatre, ballet and art. A budding artist, Helen thinks it is one big problem-solving activity which can be frustrating and illuminating, and when she gets right into it, she says it’s like meditation. You just go into the art, live in the moment, work it through and not be disturbed by the outer world or the complexity of the piece you are working on.
She has been a student of life and alternative ‘things’ since her early twenties and studied concepts that are only now making their way into the mainstream. She learnt quite young that circumstances that occur in life can either leave you as a victim or a survivor. She was never one to be beaten, and thanks to her father, it never occurred to her that she couldn’t do or achieve anything she wanted.
Helen’s next great love is travel. Her parents would take her as a child to watch the planes take off and land. She would announce that she would be on those planes one day, travelling wherever. Well, she did. In the earlier years, she decided that getting a job where travel was part of the deal was very attractive because she could not afford to travel. She loved doing the global thing and still loves the exhilaration of the take-off and landing as much as when she was that very young girl at the end of the runway.
She learnt that life sometimes does not go as planned. In 2009 she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, a club you never want to belong to! Along with a great medical team and the love and support of her husband, parents and friends, she’s still here! When confronted with her own mortality, she says, you become tougher in some things and, in others, softer. There is no bargaining with the universe, so you just get on with it! Learning about acceptance, detachment, and not sweating the small stuff has been a profound and ongoing process.
Life is to be lived. We all have a story, and Helen finds people’s stories fascinating. There is always something behind the smile, frown or other facial expressions. More can be said about people’s actions. Look closely, and you will see and learn a great deal.