Silence, Stillness & Stopping

There are times when we stop. We sit still…We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.
— James Carroll
Devon under a soft blanket of snow, 2013

Devon under a soft blanket of snow, 2013

Bliss! It’s that time of year for me to go on silent retreat.  Fasting from rich or complex foods, fasting from social interaction and even…gasp…a media fast.  No internet, no screens, no phones of any kind, no talking, no coffee or alcohol or even news of the world.  10 days of nothing with less places to hide or hinder being with what is.  Do you think the world can take 10 days without you?

I do. And I am willing to take the risk. And so far, after 12 years of this particular yearly ritual of going away on silent retreat, I find it more and more necessary to recharge my battery and gain perspective on what really matters.  You might call it rejuvenation, a mini-death, a reality check, hell or heaven…but for me this is an essential part of my wellness.  And as I make my last preparations for the retreat, I am so filled with gratitude! My breath deepens…and of course there is a predictable habitual bit of fear thrown in the mix.  This too shall pass…

If you know me well, you will know that I am a pretty energetic, gregarious person.  I am often busy…for all sorts of reasons: I am a mom, I am involved in my local community and several international organisations, I have dynamic international projects going, and I am making an independent film at the moment.  It’s enough to make any head spin.  I am busy.  Most of us are. I am also more busy than I really am…if you see what I mean. My busy –ness is my business and it is down to me to take responsibility for what is the essential. What do I need to actually do and want to do? What is naturally and intelligently arising as a priority?  And what is just making me busy as a habit of avoiding my depth of presence that comes from culturally acquired fears and scarcities?

And most of us were taught fear.  It came into our bodies with our mother’s milk. It became a part of the voices we carry in our heads but rarely admit to any but our most trusted peeps. And, in silence, we are left alone with all the voices in our heads spinning away with no vices to gag them.  Cut off the vices and the voices have a party.  And in my experience, once these internal voices have had a bit of fun, I am left with more open access to the more essential depth of presence that is always and already there.  Deep well-being that includes all of me is already there.  Bliss! This is living while we are alive. I have a choice every millisecond, and I chose life year after year.

So, ironically, I make this pilgrimage to silence so that I can remember who I already am deep in my essential core.  It works for me. And I want to share the wealth.

How can you take/create/make silence and stillness in your day today? What are your experiences with silence and stillness?  What practices in your day to day life support this remembering of the essential? 

I would love to hear your experiences.

Have a great week!

Katheryn TrenshawComment