The Art of Sitting. Still.

My friend Dr Lauren is a doctor.  I love picturing my friends in their professions, going about their days, teaching maths to a room full of teenagers, stretching limbs in a pilates class, delivering babies.  Because Dr Lauren’s boyfriend is in India, we have been having lots of sleepovers.  Every morning, sometimes in her scrubs, Dr Lauren makes a cup of tea or coffee and then sits at the dining room table.  Sometimes she looks on Instagram and Facebook, but sometimes, she sits, sips her coffee and well, sits.

I wake up between 6 and 6:30 every morning, I get out of bed, make tea or coffee and then go. Go. Go.  My brain sprints on the treadmill of things to do, things to worry about, things to remember and think about, questions to ask, answers to answer.  Go. Go. Go. I never ever do one thing at a time, that hot beverage follows me loyally from shower to bedroom to kitchen back to bedroom for hair and make up.  We are the guys who change the tyres during formula one racing, the early morning, the car.

A few mornings ago, I decided to try something new.  Just sitting. Still.  I made coffee, left my phone in the kitchen, walked to the dining room and sat down.  Three sips in I pushed my chair out as if to get up.  Three more sips in I tucked it back under the table.  My brain did its best to whirr and buzz but then I think it got confused and slowed right down to catch up to this new thing we were doing.  Just sitting, I’ve heard it being called.

Half way through the cup of coffee, some kind of strange Inception-y thing happened.  I started to look around.  I saw for the first time that some of the cream roses in the vase on the table next to me had brown tipped edges, but were opening anyway.  I heard a bus race past, a kid saying “I don’t want to go to school”, a parent reassuring, at least seven birds making their early morning bird noises and also, silence.  Stillness.  My brain started to tingle.  My BRAIN started to TINGLE.

And then I think it started to reclaim itself.  I saw my brain in my mind (stay with me here), it’s little cartoon arms and legs sticking straight out, pick up a basket and start to pack the mess away.  One thing at a time.  From the floor into the basket.  ‘We got this’, it said in a little cartoon voice.

By the time I could see the bottom of the mug, something had changed.  I’m even going to go as far as saying I felt empowered.
I knew that out of all the moments, teeny and huge, that have happenend since we last hung out, this was the one that I wanted to talk about.  In a time where filling twenty hours of your day with stuff, happens like breathing, I think I’m doing to make sitting still my new hobby.  Who’s with me?


[Since writing this my brother, Ty, told me about this documentary. Which made me Claire Danes cry. I highly recommend it.]

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  1. lucille davie says:

    Nice, C, very nice. Especially in a city like we live in. Ant.

  2. Movan says:

    Just great! So well written! I could picture it all, even the Spongebob-shaped brain with the sticky out arms and legs!
    I’m with you. It is soul-enriching to be still.
    Part of a poem I learnt when I was 13, said:-
    ‘What is this life, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare…’
    Still such a potent reminder to me to be still. And SITTING still is even better!
    x x x :-D

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