I’ve always loved words: learning them, reading them, writing them. I’m fascinated by how cultures are partially created by words, and by a realization that we can’t always understand each other because someone else may – literally – have no words to describe a particular feeling or experience.
Part of the reason I started a blog is because I love words. Part of the reason I supported a co-worker who brought formalized reflective practice to my workplace (a pretty remarkable thing for a corporate setting) is because I learn a lot from trying to put my feelings into words.
All that to say: it’s abnormal that for the past couple of months, I’ve been rather “meh” about words. Even the use of “meh” is a sign of where I’m at. I spent a long time staring at the screen to come up with a better and more accurate descriptor, and that’s honestly the best I could come up with.
Perhaps not coincidentally, I’m approaching the end of a unique learning program. Our second-to-last in-person module was focused on the land. The week we spent together was reminiscent of girl guide camps, if girl guides included adult men, women, and trans folk…and if the troop was led by an anthropologist-turned-Outward-Bound-guide-turned-quirky-business-school-prof. Oh, and instead of being based on the teachings of a British lord who took artifacts out of west Africa, the camp would instead be founded on Blackfoot ceremony. So…maybe not like a girl guide camp at all.
Anyway. We spent a week separated from wifi and cell reception, and instead studied our five senses, fire-making, tiny mosses, and big mountain peaks. We learned from the non-human teachers around us – and those teachers don’t use words.
My therapist was impressed. In the seven years I’ve been seeing her, she’s been trying to get me to know things with my body instead of just my brain. And she probably has a point; while I believe in regular counselling in the same way I believe in regular dental check-ups, my weeks since returning from the forest have me feeling the most mentally and emotionally well that I’ve felt in several years.
And so, while I have several half-written blog posts – including one on inflation that’s calling to be finished – I’m enjoying the sensation of experiencing life with feeling instead of thinking. It’s a pleasantly confusing reversal of my normal, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that things can be both unusual and valuable.
I’m sure I’ll return to the page. In the meantime, my somewhat self-righteous (and unsolicited) advice is that if you haven’t tried experiencing things in a different way to your normal, now might be a good time.