And I almost failed at the first hurdle.
If you didn’t already know, I was completing a personal challenge of having a full day without talking, reading, writing, even listening to words.
And to give myself some additional leverage, I raised £2,000 for the amazing organisation Changing Lives.
Before the challenge, several people offered me advice; one lady said she did it at a festival with a sign around her neck.
I couldn’t do that, as the sign would have words, I would hear lyrics and I would listen to people talking.
No words. No exceptions.
My plan was to embrace the challenge and fill potential gaps with some cleverly thought out tactics.
And that’s why I almost messed up.
The first part of the day was simple. I watched birds (something which takes on a whole new feel after 45 mins), had a cup of tea and loved life.
Part two was an afternoon in my workshop. I normally listen to the radio and to replace this stimulus I created a lyric free playlist.
The first hour was fine, then I became overwhelmed. I knew something wasn’t quite right.
It was the music.
To really experience this day, I needed solitude. To truly be on my own, by myself. Just me and my thoughts.
Within 30 minutes of tuning into the silence I started to feel a calm which was quite beautiful. No phone, no disturbances, just me, my thoughts and hand tools.
I carved a wooden spoon.
Then, just as I thought it was going to be easy, the sun set and with the dark a mental darkness came, too.
This was the toughest time.
Christine brought me a cup of tea and I couldn’t say thank you; I just smiled and gave a weak – thumbs up!
Dinner was even stranger. That’s the time when we have always gathered together as a family (no TV no phones) and talked, and talked, and talked.
Tuesday was just silence.
By midnight I was ready for words. Lovely – brilliant – words.
At just one minute after midnight a friend sent me a text.
‘How was it? What have you learned?’
Here’s my reply.
‘Fascinating. I learned that:
I take words (and communication in general) for granted.
Even if you cut a lump out of your thumb you don’t have to swear!
Simple things, when you look beyond the first few minutes and have no distractions, are amazing. Look at the birds.
Lots of very generous people gave me the boost I needed to do this.
By default, Christine has done this challenge with me.
I love words – which is why this text says more than just: GR8 thx. Learned loads.’
A few more words in this newsletter than usual but I’ve been storing them up!