Isolation (Part 11)



Posted by Jeremy Windsor on Apr 14, 2020

Over the next few months we'll all be spending a lot more time indoors trying to limit the spread of COVID-19. We've been in touch with members of the mountain medicine community to ask them for suggestions on how to manage. Last week we spoke to Jim Duff, GP and founder of IPPG, who told us about Pete Boardman's The Shining Mountain. Here he is to share a story and give some very timely advice...


"A friend of mine organised a talk by a meditation teacher at his student union. The hall was packed and grew raucous and restless as the minutes ticked by and the teacher failed to appear. Finally, 40 minutes late and after several urgings from the organiser to the crowd to be patient, the teacher appeared. The audience went silent as the teacher very slowly, almost floating, made it to the microphone. He stood there silently for what seemed like an eternity ... and finally spoke... "Eat good food and meditate". He then turned and slowly walked off the stage. The hall erupted into rapturous applause.

Well that's a good message to you all in these trying times but this is the one I offer... 

Lie down comfortably, relax, do a bit of yoga or progressive muscle relaxation then recall a favourite memory, a walk, climb, ski, ride or swim that you love. In your minds eye conjure it up. Start at the beginning, plan, pack, arrive, climb ... immerse yourself in glorious all senses inner recall. If you get distracted start again.

I came across this trick many years ago and have used it in all sorts of situations, some comfy and some decidedly not, after I read about a British woman who, accused of spying, was locked up in solitary by the Stasi in East Germany for several years. She came out of it in remarkably good psychological condition and when asked how she survived, she said she had just relived all her favourite walks in the Lake District, repeatedly. 

Peace of mind to you all.


PS - Many years later, my friend bumped into the teacher and this is what he heard: "I was picked up at the airport and driven into town in good time, but on the way they offered me a joint and I got so stoned I couldn't move. Eventually they pushed me onto the stage and that's all I could manage to say..."


Thanks Jim!


Part 12 of "Isolation" can be found here.

Please get in touch if you'd like to take part in other "Isolation" posts! 

Stay safe.


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