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

Life coach, author, podcaster, facilitator, Dr

I am a well-being coach who helps people find their 'thing'; the thing that lights you up and gives you joy and energy. Listen to my podcast; 'What's your thing?' to get inspiration.

I support people to create a less stressed life, to boost their well-being, to ask for what they want and to look after their own needs so that they can hear their heart's call and live a more empowered and meaningful life.

I draw on experience and training in bereavement, domestic abuse, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, Transactional Analysis and other therapeutic approaches.

I have 2 sons who I love loads (and who sometimes drive me crazy). I'm a Barefoot Trained coach and I got a distinction for my post-grad cert in 2011.

I have a PhD which led me to look at Emotional Intelligence in schools and I have a number of academic and professional qualifications in various types of therapy.

I have practiced meditation since I went to India over 30 years ago and I'm a yoga teacher. I have written a couple of books, I teach psychology and work with a large variety of coaching clients.