Standing out by standing still

As some of you will know (because you were there virtually or physically) I have just got back from 4 days in Devon at the wonderful #LikeMinds conference run by Scott Gould and Drew Ellis down in Exeter. One of the biggest draws of the event except for the speakers, conversation and wonder that is Exeter is the sheer fact that you get out of, what is for many of us, the London bubble. It was a thoroughly refreshing experience as I find it is every time I get out of this city. Don't get me wrong, I love London, but every once in a while you get a chance, if you are very lucky to stop and stand still. Maybe for the briefest of moments, in a coffee shop, by the river, a park bench. Or maybe for a longer period, a weekend away, holiday, sabbatical or even a conference.

The River Ex

These times can be confronting can't they? Isn't it funny how often in these times of standing still, which are meant to be moments of comfort, release or rest we find ourselves so conflicted or just unable to switch off?

I think it's because in these moments we are presented with what we've been busying ourselves with. When we get a moment out it's often so hard to concentrate on being still because we spend so much time analysing what's just been or planning what's just about to come. If our heads are full of this stuff how on earth are we meant to just be?

I sometimes think we need to learn to be a bit more like a DVR or DVD player. These things are built to play stories from start to finish, they just play out, but if you stop them mid way through, if you hit pause, that's all they do - pause. They don't worry about what you were just watching nor do they care about whether Jim Carey will ever find his way out of Trumanland, they just stop in the moment and do nothing, just leaving us with a still image of the character in screen.

Maybe in our timeshifted, google mapped, live streaming world it's counter cultural to just stop for a minute and pause. So much of our time is spent spinning around trying to stand out, maybe we might just stand out all the more by learning to stand still.