Almost a month ago now I told you all I was setting off on a solitude ‘retreat’.
Well, I can now tell you that as part of my own self-development, I went and lived under the stars on North Dartmoor for 21 days. Do not ask me why I decided to do this, but I felt that I must and was somewhat inspired by people that had done this before, most notably Carl Jung, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer amongst others. Shamans around the world have always known that deepening our connection to Spirit, the creative force that we are all a part of, is the ultimate medicine for the soul, the mind, and the body. A solitary retreat can bring a person back from the lunacy of the modern world to an understanding of his or her true nature and the creative consciousness of the universe. The goal is to enter into communion with nature and Spirit, which can recharge, replenish, and enlighten you with wisdom beyond the grasp of your analytical mind. The challenge is to surrender your sense of control and make yourself vulnerable and available. This simple practice is not easy, because vulnerability and loss of control are two of the things that I discovered I feared most in my life. This is the first of 5 blogs that will tell the tale of what happened.
This was to be, as near as possible, proper seclusion from the outside world – no phones, no computers and most importantly no contact with any human. I could not be absolute in this regard as I needed to let my wife and family know that I was still alive – so once every 2 days I would walk for 2 hours to get a signal on my phone and just send a simple ‘x’ to her, nothing else. I chose North Dartmoor, as it is still one of the last ‘wild’ places we have in the British Isles. It is also home to past and very ancient life with stone circles, megaliths, stone avenues and settlements dotted over the challenging landscape – some marked on the map, some not.
It is possible to do seclusion using an isolated hut or croft somewhere, but I decided right from the word go that I needed to be in nature, so I chose an area of forest that was on the moor but away from public footpaths and bridleways. I would take some luxuries like a gas stove to have hot drinks, and a sleeping bag for warmth at night. I did not want to draw attention to myself and so any form of tent with cosy campfire lit was totally out of the question. I would build my own shelter and make myself as comfortable as possible. I had some basic food supplies and hoped to supplement this with what I could find to eat – wild berries, mushrooms perhaps even the odd rabbit or trout. Finally, of course I needed to have a nearby and plentiful supply of water.
So on a wet Wednesday afternoon, my wife drove me down to Dartmoor and the adventure into discovering a little more about myself and my sanity began! Part 2 in a week’s time will take us through week one!
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