Thursday, December 09, 2010

silent retreat

I'm leaving tomorrow for my very first silent retreat. I've been wanting to take a silent retreat for some time now. On one hand it is very appealing to me. I am quiet by nature. My natural tendencies are to be more introverted than extroverted. I enjoy (actually I must have) time alone. I love time to reflect and contemplate. For all of these reasons plus more, I am excited to remove myself from the chatter of daily life and retreat to the woods.

But this retreat will be different than others that I've taken. I'm going alone. I wont be taking a computer. No working, or surfing the internet to distract me from what I'll be doing, which is simply being with myself and my thoughts. I don'thave an agenda. I don't have a goal.

In April my brother and I made the trek to Kripalu for an ayurveda spring cleanse. It was suggested that we observe silence for one of those days. We both found ourselves kinda excited about not talking to anyone. We both own businesses and at that time we were both super busy. Silence sounded great.

Well it didn't last for so long. Not long at all actually. In fact I don't think we made it past breakfast. We were donning our "In loving silence" stickers. Looking at one another, giggling, signing, and general miming. We both attributed it to us sharing a room and getting to spend precious time with one another. How could we not speak (even if only for a day)? Geez.....

Much different this time around. No brother. No other people. Just me and a cabin out in the middle of nowhere.

A friend of mine sent this for inspiration:

Henry David Thoreau, Walden, from "Sounds "

I did not read books the first summer; I hoed beans. Nay, I often did better than this. There were times when I could not afford to sacrifice the bloom of the present moment to any work, whether of the head or hands.

I love a broad margin to my life. Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a revery, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sing around or flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveler's wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time. I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance.

Sounds pretty magical. But for some reason, I'm kinda doubting that I'll be sitting in a sunny doorway for hours, just observing. I could be wrong, but....

So that's partially why I'm giving myself a little wiggle room. First silent retreat. Go easy on youself Sharon. I will not be working, facebooking, blogging, or general computering. I will not be planning or strategizing. I will not be talking on the phone. Or texting. I've let Andy know of my intention. Which is again, to be silent.

I will only take one or two books, so I'm not burying myself in books, again taking myself away from my intention. Being with me and my thoughts. Still. :)

The wiggle room is coming in the form of a book or two.
A journal.
Some questions to ponder and reflect on the past year, the moment at hand, and the future.
My ipod to listen to a few meditation lectures. I'll give myself perhaps two times per day to listen in. I thought this would be ok since many guided retreats have lectures.
I'll take my yoga mat and props.
A change of clothes and some comfy jammies.
Healthy food.
And I think that's about it.

I plan to spend time doing yoga morning and evening. Take three times for seated meditation (30-60 minutes each).
I will do inquiry and journaling each day.
I don't have a goal or any big expectations from my time in silence. I'm trying to give myself a break from setting goals. Even if for only a little while longer (cause I can't deny how much i enjoy working towards "something"). I simply wish to be alone and see what unfolds.

This is where I'm retreating to, The Sisters of Loretto.
And here in an article from Yoga Journal about silent retreats.

Wish me luck! I'll let you know how it goes. :)


Jen said...

Love this idea, Sharon. Enjoy the silence! Looking forward to reading about your experience when you return.

Sharon Tessandori said...

Thanks Jen! I imagine I'll have time to do plenty of writing. :)

James said...
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