Away from the Hubble Bubble

Yesterday I walked. It started as a gentle re-introduction to walking after a few weeks off due to injury. It ended up as a three hour trek through the beautiful Sussex countryside. This morning I am left with the memory of that walk. Just walking is a rather strange and pointless thing to do in many ways and for me that is part of the joy of it – to walk and reflect with no real purpose or goal – to enjoy the moment and to allow the drift of life to happen. Everything we do in our life is a reflection of us, of our internal process, and I was aware that as I purposelessly drifted along on my walk – there was a lot going on.

The Adventure

Having not walked or exercised for some time, I was full excitement and a little anxious about starting this walk. I didn’t know where it would take me or how my body would cope with it. I am aware that in life, when we don’t know what is going to happen, this can cause a level of anxiety. Sometimes we call this excitement. They are very similar processes. Maybe what makes the difference is our belief in how we can cope with it, and our expectation of what the experience will be like. I knew I would be ok, whatever happened.

The Surprise

I parked the car in a place I have parked many times before. On this day I was not going for lunch, the shops, or to meet people – but turned in a different direction. As I rounded the corner to the place I intended to walk I was confronted with a building – a place – a space I have never seen before. A beautiful shape – beautiful lines – a place I hadn’t known existed. I was shocked that this place was just metres from where I had been so often and yet I had missed its existence. How many surprises are there just around the corner – where we never go?  In life we tend to tread the same paths – physically, emotionally and psychologically. What happens if we allow ourselves new paths, new experiences and new richness to our internal and external world?

The Reflection

I love water and enjoyed walking next to the river. On the other side were houses – some old, some modern, in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes. They were reflected in the river and I took some time to reflect on what life would be like to live there. I have always wanted to live on an estuary or tidal river. I dreamt of sitting and watching the tide come in and go out again.

How many alternative lives are there to the one we are living now? Each of us has made choices – choices which mean we are where we are today. Each choice we make takes us in a certain direction which has led us to now. What options, what possibilities are out there in our alternative lives and where will we go next? We can plan but we don’t really know what will happen.

The Completion

I had seen this path from a distance many times before and I had wanted to walk it. This was my time. I loved the feeling as I finally walked it – mixed with the reality of the experience. Often we can imagine what things will be like. I have imagined this walk but of course the reality is different. We spend our lives fantasizing about how things will be: a holiday, a meeting or a meal. We then make an adjustment between the imagined experience and the actual experience. It’s a constant experience of preparing and integrating. We need to hold our fantasy loosely to be able to integrate the reality and truly experience the now.

The Light

The light is beautiful and the sky is open. To be outside and watch the changing light is a passion of mine. The combination of the sky and the water nourishes me and stirs my heart. As I watched the light on the water I was struck by feelings of joy and sadness.

We can feel different emotions at the same time – HappySad is a very familiar emotion for me. The experiencing of something beautiful, tinged with the loss of those with whom I would have liked to have shared it with – those who would have taken equal delight and shared my joy. Truly blissful moments are those shared with another.

Humans are emotional beings and all our emotions are useful to us. It’s important that we allow ourselves to feel – to express what we feel and have others hear and acknowledge our feelings.

Away From The River

As I turned and walked away from the river I realised this was as far as my fantasy had taken me. This is the length to which my imagination had gone. Sometimes we exceed the bounds of our imagined journeys or our imagined self. We then have a choice to imagine the next stretch or to take each new step unprepared and with courage. This is a different experience for us than the preparation/integration one. It can be scary sometimes and I was aware that I speeded up a little. Is it better to get to the unknown quickly so we then know it?

The Strength

I felt good. I had not been able to move my body, to get out and to exercise and I was aware of how good it felt to move. Human bodies are meant to move, not to sit at a desk but to be out there in the world. If we don’t take care of that, our systems slow down and don’t function well. It’s a basic piece of self-care but our modern day lifestyle does not always prioritise and support this. We have choices. We can choose whether we go along with the norms of our society or to ‘dance to our own tune’ and decide how we live our lives and what’s important to us as individuals. There is pressure from our culture, group and family to think, believe and behave in a certain way. This does not mean that we have to give in to that pressure. Live life – be free.

The Contact

Human contact is vital to us. As I walked with my partner, I was aware of the pleasure of silence – the shared experience of ‘being’ in the same space, away from the hubble bubble (his words) of life. I enjoyed the conversation which was diverse and directionless. I was aware of the physical contact as we held hands and passed through the kissing (and wishing) gates and the distance, as we walked separately. I believe healthy relationships are not static; there is an ebb and flow – a development and movement in them, as they grow and change. Like two clouds being blown by the wind, they come together, merge, separate and re-form.

The Anticipation

We walked through a field of Rape Seed. The little plants were just growing and a few of the flowers were out. In a few weeks’ time the field would be a glorious yellow. Almost too yellow to look natural and yet it is. I love anticipation – that feeling of something wonderful to come. Even if I don’t go back when the flowers are out, I have had a glimpse of that experience. I have felt the joy. Our imagination is powerful – for good and for bad. We can create negative, challenging images for ourselves or we can imagine wonderful, joyful experiences. We choose what we imagine and what we do with those imaginings.

The Toe

As I walked I suddenly became aware of my toe hurting. I had felt some level of discomfort but now it was really hurting. We were a long way from the end of the walk. My toe had now become figural for me. In Gestalt Theory we talk about Figure and Ground – things come into our consciousness and become more figural and other things fade into the ground. As my toe started to really hurt I became much less aware of how thirsty I was.  I was not as aware of the sights, smells or sounds of the birds around me. This is a constant process that human beings are in – things come to the fore for us and other things fade and become less important.

The Completion

The last leg – the site of the town that we were walking back to felt nurturing and homely. As a child I remember the satisfaction of finishing the shampoo bottle – sometimes prematurely – just so I could feel the joy of it. Completing is not just about going home, not just about resting after the exertion – but has a deep psychological satisfaction. To finish, to complete, to feel the satisfaction at the end of the task, journey or experience can be wonderful. And it was.

By Leilani Mitchell

These are my random rambling’s of today and tomorrow I may change my mind

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