On Tuesday this week I set off on a brisk walk in the Surrey Hills. Having dropped my daughter at school, I briefly considered my schedule for the day, thought about all the work I could get done if I did my usual 30-min jaunt around the lake (which is beautiful), but felt compelled to take to the hills instead. Given the glorious morning sunlight, I knew the views would be breathtaking. It is assigned as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Nature fuels my creativity, probably more than anything else. As I walk my mind chatters away to me....mostly nonsense, but there are occasional sparks of inspiration that arise! Today I got to thinking about technology. In particular my phone, which is always there in the background like a petulant teenager, wanting attention, distracting me from the present moment.
Isn't it true that phones are seen as the ultimate thief of time? An aide to procrastination, stealing our awareness from the things that matter most? But I started to ponder: how can they assist our healing, on walks or otherwise?
I know I am very lucky. I have the freedom to take off for an hour or so, when I feel like I need a more intense date with the natural world. I am fit and well enough to climb the hills and I am privileged to live in a place that is surrounded by ancient woods, green fields and a network of pathways to guide my ramblings.
But, without my phone I wouldn't find half the places the do! Or have the confidence to explore off the beaten track quite so much.
The start of this morning's walk was discovered a few weeks ago after I put 'Chantry Woods' in a search on maps - I had seen a Facebook post from someone local enjoying the scenery, so decided to explore. But I ended up at the carpark for the Church of St Martha on the Hill (presumably because Chantry Wood Campsite is close). It's a building that can only be visited on foot up a steep incline of a few hundred metres or so. What a spot! Once you get to the top it is easy to see why people come. It's a lovely historical significant church on the North Downs Way, described on the Surrey hills website:
"The beautiful St Martha’s Church (also known as St Martha-on-the-Hill) is a listed grade II Historic building...... It is the only church in Surrey to be on the Pilgrims’ Way and featured briefly in the 1944 film A Canterbury Tale. A 12th-century church existed here before falling into ruin by the 18th century. The church was rebuilt in 1848–50 to the designs of Henry Woodyer who incorporated many of the original 12th-century architectural features..... it may have been built as a landmark or beacon to assist travellers or encourage pilgrimage to Canterbury or Winchester Cathedrals."
https://www.surreyhills.org/surrey-hills-60/st-marthas-church/ (accessed 01.12.20)
Here are some snapshots I took on my first visit:
It's because of my handset that I am able to capture pictures like these. I love taking pictures, I find doing so really inspiring.
But there's more. Here's my list of 10 ways your handset can help you heal:
As mentioned above, finding places! You can use the map to go anywhere....yesterday I took off to the beach, one I had never been to before. New places are great because they enlighten the senses.
The map is also very useful once you get there because, crucially, you are able to find your way back again. It would be difficult to explore and be present in the moment as you do so, without the security of knowing you can get back to where you started! You can experience true freedom without the worry of getting lost.
Also, mentioned above, the ability to be able to take photos. Creativity sparks joy. You can use your phone camera to capture the beauty of nature. Looking for things to photograph means you pay more attention to your surroundings. You get to focus on the amazing details.
Here are some pics I took this week:
4. Audible. I am such a massive fan. I listen to many words of wisdom, whether fiction or fact, all help me to grow and heal. You can listen while you work, in the car, on public transport...or take yourself off elsewhere while walking. I have had some real poignant moments this way...
5. And music streaming of course....as above....I have a few playlists on Spotify - Heron Moon - Tunes for Tuning Out is a good one if you fancy, check it out!
6. Which brings me to meditation. I use my handset for sleep hypnosis (I'm a fan of Michael Sealey) and for all sorts of meditation and visualisation exercises.
7. Social Media - yes, it can really help you heal! In so many ways....read articles, connect with likeminded people, find out about events you may like to attend and also actually attend events! Like my Sleepy Sound Sessions every Tuesday at 9 on Facebook Live.
Here's the next one if you would like to book:
8. Capturing creative ideas. I use the voice memos when I get an idea so I don't forget it...it works really well. Less time worrying about forgetting them and more time being present! Perfect! This blog was an idea I recorded this week for example.
9. Actually listening in to sound healing sessions - like mine on a Tuesday, mentioned above. I have tried and tested many methods, but find my phone is by far the most superior for listening in. Add a set of decent headphones and you are good to go!
10. And finally, to call a friend if you need support. Or connect on zoom, or FaceTime or whatever....as they say, a problem shared is a problem halved. So, reach out if you need to....and be grateful for the chance to connect, wherever you are....
What do you think? We all know phones can be bad for you health, but can YOU recall any other uses that actually help you to feel better? Any specific examples? I would love to read more hints and tips..