Peter Johnson & PiM

Insights Discovery & Deeper Discovery Licensed Practitioners

Stand and stare

I was driving through the Cotswolds, in England, recently and as I started to descend a large hill I noticed the amazing view. This is a view I have seen many times over during the past decades, it is near where I live, and one of my favourite areas. The trees are free from leaf; spring beckons. I noticed some clearance too, so more opportunity to see the view. In the past it has been fleeting glimpses. When sunny it would have been dappled and distracting as the rays of sunlight caught my eye.

As usual I was keen to get to my destination. But on such a perfect day I decided to ‘halt time’ – it is so easy to be busy; well, busy being busy. Easy not to take time to enjoy the wonders that surround us. So I pulled off the main road, parked, wrapped myself up against the wind and went for a stroll. I was well rewarded.

The view is spectacular and whilst not easy to see in the picture, there are large hills in the far distance. It also made me realise through the winter I have not lifted my eyes to the distant horizon that often. It has been especially wet and rainy so even though I do walk tall, I am often checking where my feet are treading – puddles, mud, slippery leaf and more to make sure I avoid tripping over.

As I looked, and enjoyed scenery I know well, I sought out familiar landmarks, the changing sky, felt the chill raw wind on my face. It was wonderful - soon enough I was back on my way with a large smile, the feeling from the wind making me feel alive!

Looking at the picture I can now see the molehills in the foreground, which I had not noticed before – there are a lot of them too. An interesting reflection on what I was looking at. Through Insights Discovery we talk about perception, and what we notice; aware that, to quote Anais Nin, “We see the world not as it is, but as we are.”. A useful reminder that someone else’s ‘take’ can be valuable; it helps us experience more.

Had I raced on to my destination I would have missed so much. I am sure if I had been with someone else we would have shared what we noticed and created a richer experience for each other.

So how poignant the words are by the Welsh poet William Henry Davies (1911) – here are the lines of his poem Leisure:

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

Magical words indeed...

As I read these lines again I realise that unusually there are no sheep or cows in the fields. I didn't notice that before either!

A message to myself to take a little more time to stare and also to pay more attention to what I am looking at. Perhaps I need to ‘halt time’ a little more often. And you?

My best wishes,


PS Interestingly, I discovered that an adapted part of the poem was used in 1991, by the KGB, in a secret message to their spy in the FBI.