Who would I be without life’s distractions? Without work, family, TV, internet, books or chatter? When it comes down to the core, who am I? Who would I be if I didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, didn’t beat myself up for not doing enough. Who would I be without an MS diagnosis? Who would I be without my walking stick?

Big questions! Learning to be a Coach does bring up some biggies, and I often play with the thought of totally going without all these things that define me, that stress me, that bring me joy. How would I feel if there was just me?

In an attempt to get to know myself on a deeper level, I have decided to retreat into silence. Just me, a tent, some basic essentials and nature for 3 days and 3 nights.

It is proving difficult to let go of things that I could be doing – even on my own in a field – books I could be reading, blogs I could be writing, workbooks I could be completing. But really the aim is go and dive into silence. To gently let thoughts and feelings bubble to the surface and to be whatever they need to be.

The idea of a silent retreat has been with me for over 10 years, after watching a BBC documentary programme called ‘The Big Silence’, where they followed a group of about 12 people as they embarked on a journey of fitting silence into their lives. It culminated in a 5 day silent retreat in the Welsh mountains. They were a diverse group, all different ages, with different backgrounds, beliefs and cultures. Some struggled with it more than others. All of them had some sort of spiritual awakening.

I knew that there was something in this, so not long after I went on a day’s meditation course, but actually incorporating even a little bit of silence in my life was very challenging.

This idea of being in silence has never been too far. I have now met people that have been on silent retreats and even a lady to practiced silence for two weeks while still living her normal life.

My diagnosis of MS and subsequent reading of ‘Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis’ by Professor George Jelinek, where he suggested that lifestyle choices could affect management of symptoms, led me to prioritise a practice of meditation as part of my daily routine.  I love it and definitely feel the benefit on how I deal with life’s challenges.

I have also applied for Vipassana Silent retreat, but so far have not been successful. That is pretty hard-core. 10 days of no talking, lots of meditation, no devices, reading or writing material.

So this week, I am creating my own version. Three days and three nights of camping in a private field on my own. I am bringing some reading material, definitely my journal and my camera. Enough healthy food to last me. No alcohol, no smoke. I am planning to leave in about 1-2 hours.

How am I feeling? Nervous, excited, curious.

What am I hoping to achieve? I guess, another level of consciousness – awareness. Maybe work though some emotions and thoughts that aren’t serving me. But really I don’t know. My intention is to go in as a blank canvas, have no expectations and allow peace to radiate through me. For three days and three nights I have no responsibilities or obligations, I can just ‘be’.

So with that I am going to sign off. At this point in time, I do intend to share my experiences after I return.  Today is Tuesday 6th August 2019. I will return to my life on the afternoon of Friday 9th August 2019.