I am going outside for a while

30 Sep 2018

I have in mind nothing as noble as the famous sacrifice by Captain Lawrence Oates, who said, "I am just going outside and may be some time..." a man who gave his life for his comrades. No, I'm thinking of a different kind of survival.

Today's blog is for those of us who are more introverted – though my hope is that my extraverted Moodscope friends will also find value in it. As an extreme introvert, I am used to getting my 'energy' from inside. 'Inner strength' is something introverts understand well. Quiet, seclusion, ideally silent space, all these have previously worked well for me when I needed to recharge and replenish... when I needed to pause for thought.

But what happens when our internal world decays into chaos, noise, and, frankly, torment? What happens when our inner sanctuary becomes a place of mental torture one needs to escape from? What happens when our thoughts become enemies that steal energy and not friends that bring us strength and hope? In short, we need to go outside for a while.

During these difficult seasons, I have found comfort, release, and escape in movement. A walk through the local vineyard, a car journey through the countryside, a mowing of the lawn – all these have helped.

In a 'stuck' state, I've found the worst thing I can do is to stay still – to stay stuck physically. To move forward, I need to move forward. I also need to make sure my senses are turned outwards and not inwards. The Autumn hedgerows are a powerful tonic for my external senses. Blackberries and hazel nuts, chattering sparrows, and playful flocks of long-tailed tits – these can wrench me out of the hands of my tormentors and bring a few moments of peace. The mists, the fog, the moon... all have offered fresh friendship. The fruit on the vine has given me an image of hope.

If you are currently disturbed, upset, tormented, or even tortured by your inner dialogue, escape with me outside for a while. Deliberately turn your attention to the world outside, in the here and now, and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can physically feel, and even what you may be able to smell or taste. I've just mown the grass before writing this, and the scent coming through the open door is a rescue remedy like no other!


A Moodscope member.

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