Getting Back to YOU

Sometimes I need solitude. Have you ever felt like that?  When things and people and jobs all become just too much? That space to be yourself for a few days?

They say introverts enjoy and need their own time to gain energy and that extroverts need the opposite; social groups.  I say what about both? I can’t categorise myself as introvert or extrovert as I have traits of both, are we not all a bit of everything.

For me, it’s just about knowing yourself, listening to yourself and acting based on that, making a choice; whether a moment in time to think or act different or a big decision.  This is mindfulness in reality.

It’s not just sitting and meditating, this is just one way to be mindful. This is great practice for the real world, but how about the rest of the day, the rest of your life?

When we don’t pause, we can’t hear the message from our bodies and our minds and these messages, which start subtle, get louder until we cannot ignore them anymore.

‘Emotion’ means to ‘move out’ and if we suppress them, they get worse. Emotions are also our navigation system, guiding us to new choices that bring back our balance.  When we learn from pausing and listening we get so attuned that we can prevent dis-ease within ourselves and adjust as we go along.

As a new mum I had temporarily lost a big part of who I was – taking holidays by myself, to ponder and to think. I lived alone overseas for 5 years and discovered peace isolation in a hectic world and with this came my love of solitude and retreats.  So after I ran my one of my retreats for others in October, I decided it was time for my own retreat.

Knowing that to nurture yourself means your battery is full to look after others even better, there was no guilt, only excitement and calm – it’s possible to have both.

So I booked myself into a luxury pod in the middle of wales for 2 nights. The below was my experience:

click here to hear about my experience

My Little Pod Experience

So as I step away from my partner, my mum and my baby, even though I had done it before, I leave with mixed feelings; the first time I went away was pure work, a service to others – a retreat that I lead.  I had to see my writing also as work and also the importance of simply connecting back to me. Feeling emotional in all sorts of ways, including how I might feel for 2 nights alone, with no contact and just my own head. It had been a while.

As the nose of my car emerges over a little collection of hills, approaching the heart of wales, an awesome view comes into sight.  Huge hills both distant and close shine in glory as the bright sunlight flows over them, contrasting against the darker shadows made by the neighbouring mountains and the occasional white fluffy cloud dispersed amongst the bright blue autumnal sky.  As the strong beams of sun blind my eyes, I pull down my visor down and observe the purple tinged heather to my left and the lush green fields to my right. Sensing the dewiness in the air and the sharp, cold dryness typical of an impending winter, I sit back in my warm car and listen to the music, letting my mind wander.  

The movement in the car fills me with a sense of transition, with a destination in mind. An excitement of what the destination will be like. I have the gift of time. The same feeling I would get on a train where I can would let my creativity flow from the pen.

As I arrive at the gorgeous little pod my heart skips a beat. I am here, I let out a little squeal as I see the pod come into view on the little hilly mound ahead of me.  

I was already inside before I got there! I walk in and the smell of wood takes me to a nostalgic place where I would smell the wood carvings and sawdust in my dad’s work garage. It is perfect; warmed underfloor heating, a cute little desk, sofa and the most comfortable double bed tucked away at the back next door to the clean and new bathroom, complete with shower.  The kitchen is modern and equip and I am glad to notice the salt and pepper which I had forgotten to pack, along with my towel. Oh well.

I unpack in a frenzy noticing how I would always do this.  It’s like I would get into a mild panic that I need to do everything now, a pattern I had since identified. I have my notebooks, my manuscript printed, books also for reading, lots of bits and bobs  – but from previous experience, knowing not to over do it and overwhelm myself with ‘stuff to do’ or distractions would lead to procrastination and corrode the peace.

I make tea, light an incense stick and sit. Then a mild anxiety comes over me as I realise not only is there no 3G but there is no phone service in the area either.  I fully trust my partner with our daughter so there is no worry there but hang on, this means I cannot contact anyone even if I wanted to.  It’s kind of what I want but also a little uncomfortable.  I find myself continually checking and sending messages that don’t send.

I always want people to know where I am, what I am doing and yet there is no way to contact. It doesn’t of course stop me checking my phone.  What an interesting habit.

The evening is spent a little all over as I settle into the pod.   The darkness surrounding the pod is heavy with autumnal storms brewing all around me.  The clatter of leaves and branches on the pod feel a little spooky at first and then I just choose to ignore it.  In and out of bed I get, many times. I write things, plan things, list things, record myself a self-hypnosis, and listen to it.  I drink more wine and talk to myself. The night is hit and miss. It feels like I am awake half the night but the dreams of the past all make sure that I realise that wasn’t the case.  Plus by morning I feel genuinely refreshed and the air is again calm. I’m not tired.Ah the breath of the still fresh air outside as I open the door, step out and stretch – slippers on and a cosy dressing gown wrapped around. Warm tea in hand.

Buzzards are flying high and little sparrows are tapping away on the ground.

I take my time. I decide that to manage head space in these kind of isolating conditions that I must mix up any intense ‘head stuff’ with practical stuff like cooking, washing up or showering otherwise to prevent feeling overwhelmed and intense, with a sense of fatigue or weird feelings.   The days flows beautifully, and by the next morning I am satisfied with my progress. I was productive but had not given myself a specific goal, it makes me think that perhaps some goals don’t need to be SMART. Maybe being smart is giving the goal a time to breathe, to flourish and evolve, like a flowering.

I ponder over my short time away, half craving more and half recognising that my human connection is essential not only personal connection but also in the creative process and especially as a freelancer.  Whether a chat with a passer by, such as the farmer I connected with, or whether working alongside a professional to help guide or collaborate with, or your colleagues if in employment.

I also notice that clutter depresses me, and simplicity clears my mind. I will declutter some more when I get home – and not just physically. I leave the little pod leaving a little piece of my heart, while looking forward to the next place I find, and step away feeling excited to see my family.”

What brings you back to you?  What promises would you like to keep to yourself?  I say if it’s something you can book, book it in. Set a date and protect that time because something else will always come and steal it from you if you don’t.

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#solitude #timeout #rest #holiday #retreat #mindfulness #nature #country #declutter #metime


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