A new injury kept me put of the ocean and away from my private practice clients not to mention causing a cessation of yoga, walks in the national park, and the occasional dance. My mood was unaccountably flat. I put it down to lack of endorphins and worry about what might happen.
Finally sick of myself, I hauled myself down for a wallow in the waves, nice and alone apart from the handful of other crazy souls braving the bracing conditions. There were no amazing aquatic acts, but something fantastic happened in my brain. Suddenly, I felt the heaviness shift and I felt, well, expansive, somehow alive again. As though someone had kicked over my internal starter motor.
Being literally immersed in nature, with a view that involved mountains and waves. Being circled by a fin certainly lets you know that you are alive, and the rush of relief that comes when that fin turns out to be attached to a baby dolphin, watchful mother close by. That helps. The da-da, da-da, da-da music courtesy of jaws fading into a joyous tune from long ago.
We can put some of this shift down to biology I am sure, getting moving, triggering endorphins and so on. But my strongest feeling was that I had plugged back in, to the world, to myself. Many people view connection as something that happens when you have 256 Facebook friends and your mobile phone constantly chimes.
I believe that connection starts, and to some degree ends, with getting back into your own body, being with your own present experience, connecting with oneself. And without that, connections with others have the potential to be draining encounters fraught with frission rather than sustenance for the soul.
I have heard many therapists discuss depression as ‘a disorder of disconnection’, and have noted in my practice that people who are depressed often are disconnected: from loved ones, valued activities, and other things that give life meaning. However, my recent experience of being ‘unplugged’ has reinforced for me that all the electronic friends in the world are no substitute for connecting to the beauty around us, as well as our own internal experiences.
For me it seems to be nature that does the trick. What jolts you back into your body, into a sense of vitality?