Stop and Stare

In this world of business and care, take the time to stop and stare

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Hello from my desk watching the sun rise on this Sunday morning and listening to the dog snore with his head against my legs.  I love this time of day where all is quiet and the house has not woken yet. 

I've been out with the dogs and spotted the birds waking the toadstools pushing their way through the damp, autumn ground.  From here can see the mist lifting out of the window and am really appreciating the time to be still and watch, whilst I write.

The lovely women I work with and I often joke about how being a mum is a bit like being an unpaid but highly skilled project manager: in charge of finances, purchasing, diaries, team leadership, HR, personnel, and PR as well as all the hospitality issues of catering, cleaning, cooking etc.   Oh, and of course we do all have a job as well; the ones we get paid for.

And I know it's not just us mums, it's the dads too.  One client told me how his day begins at 6am so mum could have a lie in. He comes downstairs with babe in a sling and gets on with emptying the dishwasher, putting washing on, tidying up and getting breakfast before taking baby and tea up for mum and heading off for work.

We parents have done a half a days work before we get to work- or that's how it feels sometimes.

So when I sit and listen to someone talk about how stressed they were, and how much to do there was, I really get it, because I used to be like that too. I see my younger self reflected back at me. I used to be full of lists to do and people to please and places to be.  And then I learned how to stop, just stop and do nothing. To postpone things, to cancel,to sit still and quiet and have time alone. 

It worked wonders and I always feel so much better for not having done anything.  Miraculously, the more I don't do the more gets done. It was Martin Luther who said;

 'The busier I am the more I pray'. 

I don't pray, but I do meditate and I do go for walks and swim which is my way of clearing my mind. Which is why more has got done, because I've stopped trying so hard.

And while I was walking the other night, for the first time in my life, I saw a badger cross the road in front of me. Then another. Then a baby badger. Then another baby badger. It was just so amazing. I stopped and watched and did nothing but smile and feel humble.

Then as I walked back, I saw a hare. I stopped again and it ran towards me.  It stopped, looked, sniffed then lolloped off at it's own pace to do whatever it is that hares do at sundown.

Then it happened again. Honestly it did. I was only out for 20 minutes, but the same thing happened again. Another hare or the same one? I have no idea, but again it came towards me, the stopped, sniffed and went gently on it's way.

So in the silence of my twilight walk, 6 beautiful, calm, creatures crossed my path and I stood still and stared

Which reminds me of the poem my mum used to recite to my sister and I when we were out walking with her as kids; Leisure by W.H. Davies.

'What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare'

I read the poem it her funeral. Mum's ability to stand and stare was a gift which is so simple that sometimes I forget it's there.

  • When was the last time you stopped and did nothing?
  • When was the last time you looked really closely at something, like you used to do when you were a kid?
  • When you've finished reading this go and find something natural and really, really look at it, like you've never seen it before.

Alice Walker's character Shug says in the Color Purple:

'I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in field somewhere and don't notice it'.

And whatever your take on God is, the point is the same - take note, stop and stare, see the beauty around us. Be quiet, be still and see what crosses your path.

Julie Leoni

Regenerative living coach, author, podcaster, facilitator, educator, Dr

Business as usual is no longer possible.  We need to dramatically shift how we think and live in order that the planet and all those people we share it with as well as our children's children, flourish.  This is the time of the Great Turning (Joanna Macy) and each of us can play our part in tipping life towards health and well-being for all.

Finding your thing or things can be the most radical thing you can do for your own well-being and for the well-being of the planet.

Work with me to create a life where your energy, health, social connection and emotional and social well-being are not just sustained, but improve, regeneratively. 

I am an author, educator and researcher who coaches individuals and organisations to find more regenerative ways of living and working in order to support the health of all peoples, the more than human world and future generations.

My work is based on wisdom from indigenous people, science, and my own direct relationship with people and the more than human world which have taught me about the interconnectedness of all things, and our dependency on each other for well-being.

There are more things to measure than income and status so let's start creating the world we want our grandchildren to live in.  It starts here and it starts now with each of us, daily.  

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