I’m back! I’ve just taken a rare two week holiday and have been completely out of connection for pretty much that whole time – and it was a rare and beautiful opportunity to disengage from from the internet world and immerse in the real one
My husband, step-son and I ventured out into beautiful Hervey Bay on a 10m catamaran that we hired for the week. With over sixty kilometres of pristine coastline along Fraser Island and a magnificent bay full of whales, dolphins and turtles, it was nature at its absolute finest. With no online distractions, there was nothing else to do but drop into a space of stillness. A place where time is of no consequence and there is nowhere to be and no “to do” list to follow. Just a re-engagement of the natural senses that we are often disconnected from if we live a life indoors and away from nature. For me, this was one of the greatest gifts of this type of experience. It took me several days before I could feel my nervous system “drop” from my almost permanent state of “doing” to just “being”. The difference was profound – it was like I could finally breathe – and let go of the endless mind chatter and mental gymnastics that make up much of my normal day.
There is such deliciousness in the art of stillness. A going within to touch the delight of the senses when they encounter the most simple pleasures. A walk in cloud-like pillows of soft sand turned into heaven for the feet by soldier crabs digging their little burrows and discarding thousand of little balls of cushiony sand. The feel of the breeze blowing strongly as it picks up the sails of the boat and carries us swiftly across the water. The sound of whales exhaling through their blow-hole as they pass within a metre of the boat in the middle of the night while we are anchored and sleeping under the stars. Letting the capriciousness of the wind decide our daily travels and the whim of the tide where we anchor. Where nothing is more important than taking the time to watch the sun set over the water and marvel at the beauty of the colours in the sky.
This amazing trip of a lifetime came on the heels of the September Embracing Health Retreat, where there were vigorous and passionate discussions between both the EH team and the guests about our dependence upon the online world for much of our business, social life and entertainment. We talked about the addictive qualities of the internet, how it stimulates parts of the brain that then come to expect instant gratification and faster and faster snippets of information. How our nervous systems are stimulated in ways that are not healthy by this fast-pace and the often negative environment of social media. How our online world has become our “new normal” with a loss of connection to our natural world, and therefore a loss of connection to ourselves and to what we truly feel in our body.
It wasn’t until I was forced to completely disengage by being out of range, that I realised how different life really is without the constant engagement of the internet and other forms of media. It was a refreshing reminder of how important it is to spend some time offline, to get out of our heads and back into our body – a state that is very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve when interacting online. Although I won’t be moving completely offline anytime soon (!) it reinforced the value of creating those spaces in life where we are able to disengage, and come back to who we truly are, in those moments of complete and utter stillness.