A girlfriend of mine pointed out how addicted I am to my smartphone. It’s become an extension of my arm.
I noted what she was saying, and how it fortuitously coincided with my upcoming trip. I’m going to be spending the Easter fortnight walking the St James’s Way to Saint-Jean- Pied-de-Port. In July, I’ll be doing the “rest” of the thousand kilometres from Hendaye to Finisterre.
I’ve decided that I’m going to do something that I shared with you in another bubble: “and”. Each day, as I walk I’m going to be listening to my inner self and to my external surroundings. Without a smartphone. AND in the evening, I’ll recount what I’ve heard thanks to this digital silence, in the shape of a tale, metaphor, speech bubble or anecdote.
They say that it’s the journey rather than the destination that counts. For me, it’s going to count and be recounted. I can’t wait to find out what I’m going to hear!
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What about you? How do you make your personal detox sessions enjoyable?
There were about a dozen of us at the yoga class that evening. Inside the room everything was calm, but outside some youngsters were playing around in the car park with music blaring out full blast.
Geneviève asked us with laughter in her voice: “Do you think that our silence is disturbing them?”
Everyone smiled and went back to concentrating on their inner worlds.
Geneviève had accused no one, there was no anger in her words, just a delicious sense of mischief.
Henry Ward Beecher said: “A person without a sense of humour is like a wagon without any suspension. He is shaken around by the smallest stone.”
I could express my annoyance and let anger get the better of me or I could see the funny side of the situation. I then use my energy looking for the golden nugget. Just that effort of looking for something funny is already half the solution.
What about you? What do you do to make sure that you’re not shaken about by the smallest stone?
When I’m hiking, I’m sometimes overtaken by faster, younger hikers with lighter rucksacks. On other occasions, it’s me that does the overtaking, in which case I think that their rucksack must be really heavy.
The truth is that I’ve no way of knowing how much their rucksack weighs. Is it full of lead or is it full of feathers? Are they whistling as they walk or are they struggling along? Are they half or twice the age they appear?
Sometimes, I can hear myself judging someone’s pace, gait or particularly annoying posture.
But what do I know about how much their « rucksack » weighs? Would I be capable of carrying the same weight, real or metaphorical? Have they just recovered from a long illness? Are they in mourning?
Which rucksack would you like to open up rather than judging someone blindly?
« If only the walls could talk! » said the beauty therapist at a meeting of small business owners. « You can’t begin to imagine all the things my customers tell me. »
I smile to myself because it’s the same with my Italian teacher. She asks me what I did last week, what I’m doing this week and what I’m going to be doing in the future. This gets me practising the three verb tenses and, if there’s been some kind of misunderstanding and I regret not having done something, the conditional puts in an appearance too!
Sometimes, I think of her as my own personal psychologist (expresso style, of course!)
When it comes down to it, psychologists, coaches, beauty therapists and Italian teachers are just trying to get us to talk. None of them has the solution to our problems. That’s for us to find. But saying something aloud shines a different light on a situation. It’s not what someone else says that makes us progress, it’s taking the time to listen to our own voice.
A personal psychologist who knows how to listen without providing a solution or giving their opinion is a rare beast. If you have one, you know it.
Tell them how much they mean to you. They’ll like that. And I’d like to say to Laura, sei la migliore! (you’re the best!)
Philippe told me that he has introduced a compulsory break for his team at around 3.30 pm to 4 pm. He calls it the « apple break ». Not just because it’s too early for a quick drink and too late for caffeine, or because an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but because an apple is a good excuse.
You can’t eat an apple in one go nor can you eat it while you’re doing something else. You need a certain amount of time and at least one hand free. So the break lasts the length of time you spend chewing and it forces – or allows – us to listen to the other apple-eaters!
If I know that at a specific time during the day, there’s going to be a difficult or vitally important moment for either myself or my team, I think about slipping in an « apple break ». It’s all about anticipation and management, creating a break to be able to look up and take a breather instead of exhausting myself at the rock face. It’s all about being ‘forced’ to discuss issues with other people instead of going around in circles on my own.
Italians go to their local café for a wickedly strong espresso, and I always plan lunch breaks with people from all walks of life to broaden my horizons.
What about your apple break? What would it be like?