The power of a factory reset

Yesterday was a horrible day, everything felt like it had fallen into piles of tiny pieces. It took a long time to calm myself. When something distressing happens I can often hold it for some time, running it over and over on repeat, the painful feelings conducting my behaviors, like an errant orchestra.

In a previous post I have written about Westonbirt Arboretum – we joined as members last year and it’s become one of my favorite places to spend time. I love the outdoors anyway and find any outdoor experience incredibly healing when I am unwell. Westonbirt though seems to most suit me when I am feeling at my worst. The variety of trees, the detail in the lichen, fungi, bark just captures my eye and it’s hard to know which way to turn it’s such a sensory assault.

Today’s walk was incredible, although we have walked there a number of times we seem to find ourselves on a different new path each time. On this occasion we quickly found ourselves in more natural ancient woodland. There were birds crossing our paths in every direction and strange shaped trees where faces could be picked out from the bark. The air was cold and crisp which added even more textures to the frozen ground and bark of the trees. We enjoyed trying to name the birdsong, noticing that we are starting to pick out more, like tuning into a fuzzy radio.

I’d recently won a hoodie in a competition for the #thisgirlcan campaign. I wanted to take some photos of it by way of thanks to our local group. I enjoyed finding trees and various structures to climb. Even as an adult climbing trees and natural play can be a fun thing to indulge in.

The day was bitterly cold and as we came into an open field we found a sunken patch out of the wind to stop and rest in the sunshine. I enjoyed feeling the sensation of strong sunshine on my body and the feeling of my hands slowly starting to warm up. I had my eyes closed whilst listening to the birdsong all around us, which gave my partner time to pull out a ring and propose to me! Of course I said yes, and the gesture has made this place even more special to us.

We made our way to the bird watching area where they place food out for the birds and enjoyed watching black caps, nut hatch, tits & blackbirds guzzle the food. It really is special to see gardens birds up so close, you can really see the detail of their look and observe their behavior.

Our walk ended with us dangling our legs over a ditch in the warm sunshine, I thought about how I’d not even considered the previous day, how I’d managed to put all thoughts of my illness to one side and to truly live and enjoy the moment, like someone had pressed my ‘ factory reset’ button. I am so happy to have found a place which can do so much for me therapeutically and where I can get some peace from the difficult thoughts and behaviors which seem to regularly pursue me at times.

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