So one weekend last September I volunteered in the Devonshire countryside far, far away from everyday life in order to disconnect. I needed to make big changes in my mindset, attitude and life and had made the very conscious decision that it was time for something completely different.
A part of me suspected that in order to sufficiently disconnect with my world that the further away I got, the better and with the whole world at my feet I did wonder whether 48 hours on a farm in the West Country, a mere 80 miles away, would do the trick.
Wifi and phone signals were non existent, anxiety ensued at the prospect of no connection for 2 days - what if? what if? what if? but it was what I had wanted and so I waited for the disconnect to begin.
Two days spent in manual labour either helping to prepare food for my cohorts or digging and planting the garden as others had done before me so that present and future visitors could eat. It seemed that Autumn could wait as we basked in brilliant sunshine and clear skies, surrounded by more shades of green than I knew existed, it was England at its very best.
The one thing about travel that I hadn’t considered is that you take your brain with you. As I marvelled at the views, weeded a 20 metre stretch of leeks, surprised a family of mice, washed up after 50 lunches, became mesmerised by the night sky, slept in a yurt, kept the stove lit and even negotiated compost toilets, so my brain did what it always does. It whirred and whizzed and ruminated and churned and at times even tortured me but never once did it let me disconnect.
As the train pulled out of Exeter station on the Sunday evening, a physical fatigue, sense of wellbeing and deep satisfaction of a job well done swept though me but my brain continued on it’s hell ride, covering old ground, relentless, refusing to stop.
And on the Monday I surprised myself, that day, in the middle of the brain chatter I contacted the council to put myself on the allotment waiting list. I didn’t know where the idea had come from, I wouldn’t know what to do with an allotment if I got one but today I’m going to have to find out because today, after a 6 month wait, I got an allotment.
And as I stood this afternoon inspecting plot 6B, my brain still whirring, I felt something. It appears that my search for disconnection had been misguided, I’d found something far more powerful, I felt a hum. A hum of excitement, of potential, of muddy boots, of childhood mud pies, of shoots bursting through soil, of birdsong, a hum of inner joy. All the time I had been longing to disconnect when the one thing that I had stumbled upon was a reconnect. A reconnection to what powers my hum, the hum where I happily lose track of time, get lost in my world, the hum that fuels and sustains me, that allows me to be resilient in this crazy world where wifi has become a basic human need.
So I ask you what’s your hum? How do you connect to your sustainable fuel and ensure your resilience? What does it take for you to be you on a good day, everyday?