Over the New Year period, having said goodbye to two sets of wonderful guests, we spent a few days in the mountains near to Granada. It’s a favourite haunt of ours, a restored farmhouse on the edge of a tiny village with magnificent mountains views, snow-capped at this time of year. We try to escape there every few months, simply to get away from the busyness of life and to press the reset button.
Probably one of the best things about this mountain getaway is the very limited access to the Internet! Unless your idea of fun is standing in the cold on the edge of a tiny balcony and waiting for an elusive signal, then it’s easier to disconnect entirely. I have realised that there is something so renewing for me to switch off from the constant round of emails and social media exchanges, the mental awareness that what I am doing right now could be presented to others as a story, or a post, or a photo update, the subconscious wondering about how my life would be perceived by others.
When we come home from our mini-retreat, this is one of the things that hits me hardest. Once more, I become aware of the world beyond my physical location and I am conscious of which of my friends is doing what. But more than that, I have the feeling that my life is on view and being measured somehow as successful, or productive, or fulfilling. Don’t get me wrong, I engage in social media by choice and there are many benefits of being able to connect with people all over the world. For me and my family it has become a way to keep our link churches and supporters updated, as well as an effective way to present ministry-related training.
I guess as an Enneagram type 3 called to a contemplative journey, it’s just that I’m aware of the tension between the communication-driven storyteller in me, and the reflective soul that seeks space, silence and solitude.