By Chris Koch - Lead Voice Consultant at The Voice Advisory (formally Voice Coach)
I’m on a train passing Dangar Island on the Hawkesbury River, just off Brooklyn. It seems to sit so calmly mid-stream in its car-free, romantic isolation. A few weeks ago my 3-year old and I saw some kids coming alongside the pier with their mum in their school uniforms, and I could see he was entranced by the idea of going to school by boat. A client told me yesterday of the deep calm he felt when reading poems to his kids on a camping trip on the island, so much that he continued to read out loud after they dropped off to sleep. No cars.
Last weekend for a family birthday we ended up in the Upper Hunter, at Patrick White’s ancestral digs at Belltrees, spending the night in a whitewashed cottage with an open fire, and a stunning wintry landscape with the shallow, rocky river running past. There was no phone coverage. No computers. No TV.
The persistent buzz, distractions, the speedy thoughts that characterize the state most of us spend our lives in at work - what an utter relief when the buzz is gone, suddenly, for one reason or another. Of course it’s not always possible to cut all the cords and head for the hills - but what if we could stop the buzz without leaving town?
I’d argue it’s possible. We only have to look to thousands of years of contemplative practice, across cultures, from Buddhism to the Sufis to Marcus Aurelius, to see that the ability stop, breathe, and focus on purpose is internal to us. And if we look to contemporary science, we can see the remarkable affects of meditation on the brain, the heart rate, the breathing.
So in our working lives, where the buzz of busyness and end-gaining often dominates, let's try it. Before we begin to speak – to the conference, to the meeting, to the interview panel – just stop. Allow breath to happen. Focus on our purpose, our audience. And then begin, deliberately, not the captives of our own out-of-control momentum, but the authors of our own decisions, the ones setting the agenda.
For more inspiration, head to www.thevoiceadvisory.com