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Hello,

Welcome to Dark Moon Musings #02. 

It is time for your regular reminder to retreat.

If you would rather listen than read, click here for an audio recording of this newsletter. 

If you prefer to read, grab a cuppa and continue on. 

I’ve scheduled in some solo time in the forest across the road this dark moon. A quick dip into the restorative magic of solitary time in nature. 
Solitary time in nature—an ideal way to retreat. 

There is one particular moment which most impacted my enthusiasm for retreating into nature.


I was driving home from my first wilderness solo. I had travelled there by the slow route, meandering along country roads, including long stretches of gravel. It took me almost two hours longer to reach my destination, but I couldn’t even contemplate getting on the freeway. My anxiety at that time was debilitating and at its worst when driving. 

But a little over a week later, I was comfortable with the idea of taking the fast route home. I pulled onto the dual-lane Pacific Highway without a hint of fear. I overtook a truck. Then a semi-trailer. And an hour into my drive, I passed three long B-double trucks in one go. I was capable and confident. So much so I was confused. Where did my anxiety go?

How could my anxiety be so profoundly affected by three days of solitary fasting in a forest? 

It is a question I have pondered a lot these past three years since. 

I suspect it is simply because I gave my brain a break. 

Our minds typically spend much of our waking hours bathed in beta brainwaves, our mind’s busy mode. Beta brainwaves are generated when we are actively engaged, thinking, performing goal-orientated tasks and making decisions. 

We rarely give our minds a break from this busy mode. 

Even when we think we are ‘resting’, our minds are often still busy. Reading a book, scrolling social media, watching television, chatting to friends—these are all beta brainwave-inducing activities. 

For our minds to be at their best—to reduce anxiety and depression, to increase creativity, to find clarity—we need to stop throwing information at our minds. We need to slow down our brainwaves. 


Slow our mind and it transitions to alpha waves—our brain’s idling mode. These alpha waves are slower and higher in amplitude and happen when we are physically and mentally relaxed, like when meditating, walking through a forest, doing yoga, or taking time out to reflect. 

Slower still are theta brainwaves, our sleep mode. Theta brainwaves happen when our attention is focused inwards while sleeping, daydreaming, in deep meditation, or when performing monotonous tasks where we mentally disengage, like cleaning our teeth. Theta brainwaves are the cause of those aha moments where a solution falls into your mind while washing the dishes or driving on a freeway. 

I suspect my anxiety so drastically disappeared during the wilderness solo because I changed the beat of my brainwaves. Taking away all opportunities to ‘do’ starved my mind of busy beta brainwaves and bathed it in restorative alpha and theta brainwaves. I had nothing to do but watch rain droplets meander down my tent wall, or a leech loop, and my mind slipped into idling mode. 

Increasing alpha and theta brainwaves has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression and boost creativity and resilience to stress. 

Seems taking ourselves out into the wilds alone is exactly what we need to thrive in today’s busy beta brainwave-dominated world. 

So perhaps, this dark moon, head out for some solitary time in nature. Tell someone where you are going, switch off your phone, and wander or sit and sense. Simply be in the present so as to slow down the beat of your brainwave. Don't think about the future. Or the past. Simply give your brain a break. 

With love,

Tricia


P.s. Aspects of the above are a modified extract from my book Greenhood: the delight in being dormant. I had planned for it to be available in two weeks. But I’m running a tad behind schedule. Read here if you are curious as to why I’m being so flexible with my deadline. 

P.p.s. Continue below for a chance to win a copy of Greenhood. Last month’s book was won by Marina. Your responses warmed my heart. And some also broke it a little. Seems few of you take time out for yourself. And when you do, you feel guilty. I hope these Dark Moon Musings and Greenhood help you to appreciate the value in retreat.

 
Register for an Inside Time Outside retreat - 2022 dates are open

Greenhood is a nature memoir about discovering the delight in being dormant. 

It is the story of a tree-change, of living in a tiny home, and of focussing on living life, rather than earning a living. 

Available November (ish) 2021 :-)

A chance to win a copy of Greenhood


I would love to hear from you. So tell me—Do you enjoy solitary time in nature? If not, why not? Is your rest time resting your mind—or are you spending your downtime doing beta brainwave-inducing activities?

By replying to this email you go in the draw to win a copy of my upcoming nature memoir Greenhood: the delight in being dormant.

The giveaway is open to anyone in the world. (Last month's book will be going to Spain!). I'm using a global print-on-demand service for the printing and distribution of Greenhood. If you order a copy in Australia—it will be printed in Australia. Or if you order a copy in the United States—it will be printed in the US. And so on. 

So, no matter where you live in the world—simply reply to this email to enter. 

Entries close at the full moon (Friday 19th November). 
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READ PREVIOUS ISSUES OF DARK MOON MUSINGS: 
Dark Moon Musings #01: A regular reminder to retreat
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I acknowledge the Wanaruah/Wonnarua people—the Traditional Custodians of the land on which I live and write. I recognise their ongoing connection to this land and its stories, and pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

Copyright © 2021 Tricia D. Walker, All rights reserved.


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