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.”

W.H. Davies, The Collected Poems of William H. Davies

I recently encountered an article that listed over thirty activities – hobbies – with which one might fill leisure time. All well and good, but I find my real leisure joys, the joys that heal me and feed my creativity, are quiet and of the more or less passive variety that involve connecting to Sacred Space:

  • listening (meditation);
  • creative visualization (as in Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization), a cognitive process involving mental imagery; and
  • channeling poetry and art, in other words letting poems and drawings come through from the Ineffable without my frail linear interventions.

Hobbist activities are good. They certainly have their place and can certainly be exercised mindfully and often as a kind of meditation, but they are largely about doing and we humans are essentially creative creatures. We need time to simply be.  Perhaps it’s good to remember the root of the word leisure: from Old French leisir, based on Latin licere ‘be allowed.’ We might spin that – “TO allow” … to allow the Sacred a voice in our lives, in our poetry, art and music, through tranquil leisure-time BEing.

– Jamie Dedes



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