For stillness and simply being present

Written by Brady Walker, Performance, Wellness and Breath Coach

In its very makeup, nothing in nature or life remains still, and yet our worlds collectively, for a brief unprecedented moment, were as still as they have ever been. In contrast to a life that most would profess has felt at times stuck in fast forward, this current stillness has created a new awareness, creativity, and invigorating silence in me.

Stillness is where creativity and solutions to problems are found.  - Eckhart Tolle

As a breath coach, I ask people to stop, preferably daily, to take control. To focus on the breath is to find clarity and flow through stillness that allows a more authentic self to surface.  Our breath creates physiological change, nervous system influence, and helps us to create space and time within.

There is no understating the significance of the recent and continuing times. On the macro, it is evident that economies will continue to fluctuate to float their people, markets, and business access daily. On a smaller scale as individuals, we have seen everything from complete fall out to becoming busier than ever.

We can often get blasé in times of significance, seeming to find a level of solace or comfort in coining terms and using language like unprecedented or once in a lifetime that then appears to downplay the real impact.  But the reality is, we are in a bizarre situation.  We have experienced a stoppage that is a once in a lifetime occurrence.  When it hit, I sensed preoccupation with returning to ‘normal.’  It felt like a rush to get back to life as it was, so we did not have to face our insecurities or deal with the unfamiliar nature of stopping. 

For those whose worlds were busy and noisy, this shutdown for many bought a deafening and uncomfortable silence.   

I will be the first to admit I was almost shamefully not as concerned as I probably should have been in the shutdown period. I was blissfully happy in hibernation and basking in the ‘Rona-moon’ with my family. I felt it was a rare and uniquely unique opportunity just to be and to sit still with time literally. Little sleep-ins, instead of my barking alarm, were big wins.  Unprecedented time with my three kids was a blessing and a two-coffee morning ritual with my wife that felt a lot like a holiday that was well overdue in our lives.

For someone that’s passion and work revolves around opening clients up to real rest and physiological shutdown, a shutdown was precisely what my nervous system, collectively, my family’s system was needing.  Isolation, do not get me wrong, was causing as much disruption and challenge as it was fuelling creativity and refreshing relationships in my situation.  Still, I did not miss the real significance of this offering and affording a new ability to dedicate time to time itself.  More imperfect moments and crazy connection of a young family together, away from the regimented schedule we all lived by prior.

The last six years have seen our family endure the ups and downs, the long hours, and the selflessness of small businesses, and it has been tough! At times it is felt beyond tough, and it would be untruthful to say that it has not scared aspects of our family life and made us question a lot that most perhaps would not have to?  This shutdown was a good snapshot in time for me to realise the impact of the life we had led and the effect that we have all had on each other over the last six years.  It made me recognise all the things we may have missed - our rapidly growing kids sprouting before our eyes.  The partnership that had drifted from passion, lust, and love to a hastily put together showing of affection as we passed each other at the front door, like ships in the night.

Often only hindsight offers us real and truthful clarity.  Things we would change, the time we would have spent, moments we would do anything to replicate, and words we should have said if we had our time again. 

However, I worry that in everyone’s excitement and rush to get back to the office, gym, and barista-made coffee, that hindsight will be coupled with regret.  But regret does not need to partner with hindsight.  Hindsight alone provides an opportunity to reshape our focus, grow, and move forward. 

While this situation has been an enormous life interjection and insight for me, I hope that collectively we draw something from this.  Something that resonates deeper so that we do not just slip back into missing moments and wishing we could have said something or done something different.  I hope that we prioritise stillness and crave a more authentic and more profound connection knowing that we will only ever look back in the desire of not more time but merely want for time itself.

There is a lot to be said for being ‘present’ in life.  To indeed be present in the day and the moments has been a blessing, but it has taken a lot of work, work that I have put into myself, to be able to appreciate these moments.  Are you ready to put the work in on yourself? 

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