Take the Time to Stop and Stare

Hello from my desk watching the rain drizzling. I’m in between coats of blue paint in the kitchen so fingers crossed no one comes to the door as I’m in my painting clothes which have paint from over 10 years ago welded onto them. Oh, and I’ve just been for a bike ride. Multi-tasking.

The lovely ladies 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…one we get paid for.

And I know it’s not just us. The mums (no dads this time 🙁 ) on the Love Being Me Course do the same too. We’re all great multi-taskers.  A guy I know has just had his first baby so he’s up at 6am with baby so mum can sleep. 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 sat and listened to someone talk about how stressed they were, and how much to do there was, I really got it. What’s more I saw myself reflected back at me.  In my last coaching session with the incisively warm Angela, I was so full of lists of things to do that I couldn’t see for looking how to do it all. So I decided to stop, just stop and do nothing. To postpone some things, to cancel others and do not see people for a day or two.

It worked wonders, I feel so much better for not having done anything, and 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’. Now I don’t pray (although your welcome to if that’s your thing), 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 last night for the first time in my 46 years 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 stop 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.  We’d been listening to Alice in Wonderland in the car so White Rabbit connotations flitted through my head, was I dreaming, a hare running towards me…did it have a pocket clock? 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.

I told the kids when we woke up this morning. ‘I wish I’d seen it’ said Youngest. But if he’s been with me, we’d have been chattering, there would have been Marvel Action Hero play and so I wonder if the noise would have kept the animals away.

So in the silence of my twilight walk, 6 beautiful, calm, creatures crossed my path. I don’t think I would have been any more surprised if  a deer had crossed my path, or a wild boar (which did happen when Man and I were out cycling a while ago…quietly..he saw it, I was behind and missed it).

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’

boy, red squirrel
Red Squirrel and Patient Boy

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.
yellow flower
Look closely at something simple

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.

Love

Julie (who’s off to paint the kitchen again now)

 

 

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