A few months back Yonnatan came to the secluded ancient woodlands of Springwood Farm near London for an overnight solo in the woods, with Giles Hutchins as space-holder and coach. Upon arrival Giles and Yonnatan spent a couple of hours together in preparation, and then again in the morning after the solo as debrief. Inbetween, Yonnatan was on his own in his solo-spot deep in the woods for about 16 hours. Here Yonnatan shares what this experience revealed to him.
My overnight solo at Springwood Farm back in late spring was truly special – something I am still reflecting on and being fuelled by today, many months later. In sum, I realised I have a lot of thoughts filling my head! Some are useful, some are just plain old useless and getting in the way of life.
What do I mean by that?
I could not shut these thoughts off!! My overnight stay, with dusk til dawn spent alone in the woods, left me realising how important cultivating a still mind is. With no technology, book or person around, it became painfully self-evident that all I do is endlessly think. In my couple of hours with Giles Hutchins after the solo, he likened this incessant thinking to a kind of neurosis – a mental dis-ease – we all suffer from in varying degrees. This I found both worrying and enlightening.
My addiction to YouTube and other social media, thinking about what people think of me in and out of work, worries about whether I’m good enough, etc. compound this mental health challenge.
During my solo, hours went by and I would be randomly reaching for a phone that wasn’t there or thinking about what time it was (I had handed over all my electronic devices to Giles upon arrival). I needed a distraction from my own mind. I felt crazy at times because of the relentlessness of my mind-chatter. As the dusk turned to night-time, being aware of my own deeper-nature was something I realized I was always too busy to notice. Now I had the space and tools Giles had given me to attend to my own self with patience and courage.
A camp fire, specific trees to meditate next to, mindfulness techniques and a cabin to sleep in: These four simple pillars of my solo helped bring me along the journey, which felt almost psychedelic to be honest. By dawn I felt an inner stillness like I hadn’t felt in years. Needless to say, the morning had me a bit emotional, but the good kind! The debrief with some fresh fruit and a warm cuppa brought closure to feelings I had struggled with for years. This inspired me to push forward with my own research in to my psyche and consciousness.
Giles and I walk back from my solo-spot through the ancient woodlands of Springwood, and I palpably noticed with each step how different I felt to when I arrived the day before. Simply amazing!
For more Giles Hutchins’ latest book and podcast series Leading by Nature, see here and for a short video about immersions at Springwood Farm, here is a short video
You can join the LinkedIn Leadership Immersions Group here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13767578/