Stillness and solitude

‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ – Psalm 46:10

Autumn is my favourite time of year to go for walks.

This is because it isn’t so warm you overheat, but it isn’t so cold you’d rather hibernate in your house than venture outside. There are loads of leaves scattered on the ground, which make the best crunching sound ever when you walk on them. The air is crisp and clean and you feel rejuvenated when you take a deep breath in. The colours autumn brings are stunning – rich, earthy colours, golden leaves, deep greens from the evergreen trees all mixed together. I always feel so healthy when I get back, and it makes snuggling under a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate that much more satisfying. But most of all, it’s the perfect weather to go for long wanders through the fields and just think – about life, people, things you have to do, the world around you, any problems you have…the list is endless. And I am blessed enough to live in a place which has loads of really amazing footpaths, giving me a multitude of different walks of varying lengths which I can embark on at any time.

One thing I love doing is walking on my own, either with classical music or no music at all, and just clearing my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I love going for walks with other people too, but there’s something about being totally alone and away from the distractions of the computer, the TV, the mobile phone, the jobs that need doing and the pressures of having to generate conversation with people. For the past four years of uni I have shied away from being alone, even actively hating it at times. I constantly surrounded myself with people, which I’m definitely not complaining about – it made for a fantastic four years and I’ve made the most amazing friends. But somewhere along the way I (cliche alert) lost sense of who I was, what I enjoyed doing apart from socialising, what passions I had that made me who I was. Then I graduated and moved back home, and suddenly I didn’t have the mental demands of a degree and my circle of friends reduced considerably. I found myself with a huge amount of spare time on my hands and no idea how to fill it, because I never had to before. I spoke about this a little in a previous post, but I wanted to expand on it a little because that post was written when I was still finding the person I am when alone, and now I’ve learnt a whole lot more which I wanted to share – and also I haven’t posted in a while!

To say I spend all my time alone would be a lie. I’ve started getting involved in more at my new home church (not so new now!) and I’m horseriding again, which has been so amazing – I talk about it whenever I can and it is a constant source of joy in my life, as well as something totally challenging! I also spend time seeing people and hanging out with my family which is really nice especially as I’ve been away for so long. But I realised quite early on that I’m used to having deadlines and things to do, so I’ve channeled that into fun things I can do which are totally on me and which I can use to get creative and prevent my brain from becoming mush because I’m not writing essays and doing uni work any more! So this month (October) I did the Innocent Big Knit (see http://www.thebigknit.co.uk for more info) as a way to begin knitting, which I learnt briefly when I was younger but then totally forgot about. I managed 10 hats and now I’ve started a scarf (which is going well so far!) and I have a hat lined up and perhaps some gloves if that goes well too! I find it such a release – you have to concentrate solely on what you’re doing to remember where you’re up to, and so everything else disappears from your mind! And you end up with something you can actually use! When I get back from Hong Kong I’m going to try making my own clothes too – my mum and stepmum both used to do it, there’s a place near us which sells beautiful fabrics and patterns to make outfits, and I’ve been assured it isn’t that hard!

Next month (so tomorrow, November!) I’m doing the National Novel Writing Month…writing 50,000 words in one month!! I signed up spontaneously and I have no idea what my plot will be and what will happen, but that’s part of the adventure! I’m really excited to see if I can manage it. It’ll definitely tax my brain, that’s for sure! I’ve joined the local group and introduced myself so hopefully it won’t be totally antisocial but I’m looking forward to letting my imagination run away with me – I’m anticipating writing the impossible simply because I can, getting my characters into really random situations and just letting my momentum carry me forward! We’ll see if I’m still as enthusiastic two weeks in. I used to write a lot as a teenager so I’m looking forward to getting back into it and seeing if it’s one of those passions I used to have which got lost somewhere along the way…

So really, this has just been a life update. Nothing too philosophical except hey, spend some time alone and see what person you are when nobody else is around. What makes you who you are?

Oh, and go for a walk. You won’t regret it. (:

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