I have just come back from a prolific three week trip to Egypt with seventeen other like minded souls striving to reach higher states of consciousness. It was an amazing experience with many profound moments, challenges, triggers and genuine moments of authentic human connection.
The Egyptian landscape is magical, amassed with stark contrasts- baron desert and fertile oasis laying side by side within metres of each other. There is an energy surrounding the sacred sites which is almost palpable, and can trigger deep seated feelings, traumas and past life events buried within the subconscious layers of our human tissue.
Our tour guides were the most generous, hospitable and knowledgeable souls who protected and nurtured us on every elaborate twist and turn of our journey. The length and depth of genuine care they displayed towards us filled me with a deep sense of appreciation and gratitude.
I learnt that I am quite introspective and treasure my own introvert space much more than I realised! This became extremely evident when I started to feel very overwhelmed with the constant chatter and non stop social interaction on the tour. I began withdrawing into myself every time it started to feel too much, and my soul felt pained from the lack of introspective space.
The problem was that not only was I having these feelings of intense overwhelm, but I was also judging and condemning myself for it. In a society where extroversion is seen to be the socially acceptable norm, I felt like a leper committing social suicide. This whole experience only served to trigger thoughts and feelings I have been subjecting myself to for many years.
As a result of this intense self criticism, I began withdrawing from the group even more to the point of isolating myself in the corner, carrying a guarded air of hostility and resistance. This only served to reinforce my own illusion that I am a bit weird and do not play well with others. This was dutifully mirrored back to me by my fellow travellers in perfect divine order. The law of attraction takes no prisoners.
In the spirit of raw authenticity, I decided to get real with myself and face this issue head on. After an immensely helpful chat with a trusted fellow traveller, I began putting myself out there, connecting with genuine interest, curiosity and depth. This increased my social confidence ten fold, and served to create a positive feedback loop which began reversing the the aforementioned self deprecation and negativity.
As I opened up, I discovered that there were others on the tour who had dealt with or were also dealing with similar issues. Sitting next to a fellow introvert on the bus one day saw the beginning of a convenient and helpful term for quiet reflection when feeling overwhelmed: ‘introverting with intent.’
It quickly became a phrase used readily on the tour and we saw great humour in purposefully seeing how long we could ‘introvert’ during bus rides and down time between activities. I was delighted to discover that I did not offend anyone by stating my need to ‘introvert with intent’. In fact, I was met with reassurance and acceptance.
So next time you feel like you feel overwhelmed and in dire need of introvert space, try ‘introverting with intent.’ More often than not, I believe it will be met with genuine respect and acceptance.