A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to go on an extraordinary walking retreat in a remote and wild valley in northwestern Spain. It was interesting to note the differing responses of patients and clients when I told them about what I was planning to do. You see, the daily walks were to be done in complete SILENCE. I’d say that my client base divided roughly 50/50 into those who thought that was a weird, even alarming, and certainly bizarre thing to want to do … and those whose response was more of the eyes half closed, quiet nod and gentle sigh kind of thing.
Some people have asked me, on my return, “were you really not allowed to talk at all on the walks?”, “did you get into trouble if you talked?”, “you mean you even had to eat your lunch in silence?” – which has revealed to me an interesting thing. The prospect of silence, and particularly the idea of silence while in the company of others, can generate a level of anxiety and stress in some people – while others clearly find the idea represents some sort of balm to an overstretched soul.
In my work, I often use silence as a distinct therapeutic tool. After the initial talking at the start of an acupuncture treatment session, during which we get up-to-date and set the tone and content for our time together, I increasingly find it beneficial to choose which points to use and then let my patient rest quietly during the treatment – while I stay in the room with them, in companionable silence. Still very present, and keeping a watchful eye on how they are doing – but at the same time in my own space, and allowing them to be in theirs. This seems to engender an opportunity for a very different kind of peacefulness compared to one in which a patient is left on their own (something I do extremely rarely).
Indeed, that ‘together but separate’ state of silence is something that is a fundamental aspect of Zero Balancing too – one which invites trust and safety, and the chance to explore one’s inner world differently exactly because you are with yourself, and with another, at the same time. Loving working in this way as I do, it’s no surprise that I found the walking retreat exceptionally nourishing, calming, re-energising and illuminating – just as a good acupuncture or Zero Balancing session can be.
Call me now on 07970 295177 if you want to explore how silence can work for you.
And check out www.walkinginspirit.co.uk if you want to find out more about the retreat (and thanks to Frankie Sikes for the beautiful tree tunnel photo).