The other day I watched the trailer for the film “Tracks”, an amazing, true story based on the journey of Robyn Davidson who decided to trek the Western Australian desert on her own, accompanied just by her dog and four camels. I nearly packed my little four legged girlfriend right then and there: just watching a few minutes of this incredible story made my heart ache with longing; for the stillness of the desert, the dry heat, the experience of pushing myself to my limits, not only physically but also mentally, most of all though what seemed to me both incredibly tempting and scary at the same time was the concept of the utter solitude and stillness that I imagined, the complete disconnectedness from the world Robyn must have experienced during her travels.
I think that part of what made my stomach churn at the thought of it was the longing to do something that seems to be so utterly contrary to how I find myself in today’s world. Living in the hub of a cosmopolitan city, surrounded by people most of the time, only a click away from friends, acquaintances, news and gossip, it seems almost impossible to block out the constant noise and chitter chatter that appears to be all around, for most of the time.
I have this desire, no- I think it is actually a need, deep within my mind and soul, to disconnect at times, to completely withdraw within myself, and I feel I need stillness in order to be able to come back to me. But even though this desire is almost visceral in nature, it often feels a bit scary too, to be in stillness, without distraction on the outside and to listen within rather than concentrating on without. And I can’t even pinpoint what it is that makes my heart race just a tiny bit faster thinking about unplugging and tuning out, but despite the necessity to come back to myself, there is a certain hesitation- is it the fact that the lack of distraction will reduce me just to myself and the fact that I am alone, just with me and my thoughts and feelings?
It often appears as if being alone is something that is not aspired to anymore, it seems that it has become synonymous with loneliness, but actually, being able to be alone, on your own and being content in the company of your own wonderful self is such a gift, because only when we are truly comfortable in our own company will we be able to truly connect with others for the sake of the other, rather than because of the need to avoid being alone.
But this possibility of unplugging from the world seems to have gotten increasingly harder in the last few years- so what does that mean for our possibility to connect with others, if we are having to navigate our way out of the constant accessibility back to the basis of ourselves?
Sadly, we cannot all pack up our stuff and trek out into the desert, mind, it is very likely not everyone’s dream either, but how can we create a space where we can come back to ourselves, to allow us the possibility to slow down, recharge and fill up on some much deserved self-care in order to then be able to mindfully connect with others in a meaningful way?
So, go on and treat yourself over this bank holiday weekend to a healthy dose of you- go on, you are worth it!