I have been thinking recently that we all spend so much time sharing, opening up to friends, family or professionals, that sometimes it is important to be silent. We are positively encouraged to speak about our problems, and I agree with this, but I feel it should be balanced with times when we are alone with our thoughts. To find that balance I took myself to Wakehurst Place in Sussex today for a walk on my own. Just me and my camera.
I have recently finished nearly four months of weekly support groups and I have found it frustrating, challenging and really helpful at various times. Most importantly, I have learned things about depression and myself and how others deal with similar issues. I store these insights away for the days when I really need them. On those days I feel like I’m riding on the back of a dragon. It’s a wild and tempestuous creature and it takes me all my strength just to stay upright. However, I believe that applying the insights about mental health that I have collected, allows me a small degree of control over that dragon. In short, it is not in total control of me and that is a comforting thought.
So today I just walked and walked. I stopped to photograph nature now and again and I thought sometimes. Most of the time though, I tried to just be in the present moment and not to worry about the past or future. I made a point of appreciating the bees and the small delights that came across my path. I was grateful….for my blessings and for being alive.
On top of that I did not speak to anyone during my walk. Of course I smiled at anyone wishing me “good morning”, however, I wanted a few hours of peace and silence. I’ve noticed that people often feel they have to fill silences in social situations. I’m not sure this is always necessary, though I suppose it depends on who you are with. When I’m with my closest friends, I know we share an understanding…a companionable silence, that is in no way awkward. I realised on my walk how much I appreciated that.
The other refreshing feature of the day was total radio silence. I actually made a conscious effort to leave my mobile in the glove compartment of the car. I have spoken with friends about this and have read articles in the newspapers about the freedom that you can experience without being contactable wherever you go. I remained sceptical though. I always worry about not being available on the one occasion when I might be needed the most. What if there was an emergency?
I can happily say there were no emergencies. I felt conscious at first that I was uncontactable, but after a short period of time, I felt completely liberated. I really didn’t miss the apps, the games, the texts or the calls. It was just me, the camera and nature. I wholeheartedly recommend you try it.
Have you tried a day of silence, or are you tempted by it? Let me know in the comments.