Silence is Golden

I have taken the first month of 2017 to focus on some much needed self care.  As a health coach , I have come to appreciate the fact that wellness ,comes not just from what we do, such as , what we eat, and how we move , but  wellness is also found  in the not doing. I have done many a cleanse over the years and as a health coach focused on teach people that our health is affected by what we put in on and around our body, I recommend regular cleansing to my clients. These aim to help our bodies remove the negative effects of what we eat and drink and the air we breathe, and they promote healing. But what about our minds?  In a society that is constantly connected to our phones, to our computer and televisions , the power of shutting down can have a profound effect on our well being.  The later part of 2016 had me pushing through some business goals and challenges. There was a lot of traveling involved and an intensity that left me somewhat drained.  It was time to pull back and slow down! There has been much documentation on the positive effects of mediation, but what about the power to completely disconnect, to go inward and find silence.

This past weekend I did just that, I took 3 days, drove to the beach , with no computer, no phone, and no television. My plan was to disconnect from the bombardment of noise. More that just disconnecting from technology, I wanted  to experience silence , to refrain from discussing   the state of the world, pop culture, or my  to do list.   When I told others of my plans the reactions were mixed. For most there was some comment akin to ” I could never do that” ! Some wondered why, a few understood!

When I first arrived at my retreat destination , our second home at Carolina beach I busied myself with settling in and making preparations. Along with the intent of silence, I intended to embark in a 3 day juice and broth fast. I arrived Thursday around 7 pm. Friday I woke up and went for a long walk on the beach followed by some meditation. When I returned from my walk  it hit… I found myself staring at my phone… longingly. It reminded me of when I quit smoking.. then my thoughts were maybe I can just have one cigarette,.. this time it was… a desire to check email, to see what was happening on facebook, I wondered if I had an important text.  And then there was  the silence. I wanted to call my husband to share about the beautiful day at the beach, about the full moon I had enjoyed the night before. But I remembered my intention of connecting with myself and really going inward. I picked up my journal and began to write my thoughts and feeling. The rest of Friday was more of the same, meditating, reading, and journaling. The book I was reading was The Slow Sown Diet , By Marc David. I felt that this particular book would give me insights to to our need to slow down in how we approach our meals as well as every aspect of life.

Friday evening I returned to the beach to watch one of the most beautiful sunsets . The moon rise on one side,j brilliant orange sky on the other. I even think I may have seen the comments that had been anticipated to be crossing the sky that evening.

I returned to the house, to begin working on my vision board. Again I struggled with the silence and decided it wouldn’t hurt to play some quiet meditative music. There is a CD player in the room I was working in and I had just the right type of music with me. But alas, CD player refused to work and I took this as a message from the universe that my purpose was to get comfortable and connect with silence. So for the next few hours I flipped through magazines,  cutting out pictures and words that resonated with me,working on my vision board , and making peace with silence.

I slept Friday night, and woke up Saturday to a bright sunny day. The one element that was missing for me so far during my little retreat was yoga. I found myself struggling to guide myself and so decided to bend the silence rule and to attend a gentle yoga class. I remembered what one of my friends who is a yoga teacher shared, with yoga and life it is a practice. And so with the with in my practice of silence, I allowed for a little leeway to practice yoga. It was the right move.

The rest of Saturday was more of the same, walking, meditating, reflecting and connecting with myself. Throughout the day I used any essential oils to calm and centered me when I was feeling anxious about silence,and to help focus during meditation as my mind wandered.

After another night of incredibly restful sleep , I awoke to what would be my last hours of my alone time I once again decided that I would benefit more from a guided yoga class then trying to go it alone, So my last walk on the beach to me to the yoga studio for a heart centered guided meditation and restorative yoga class. Not complete silence but close enough , and certainly within the confines of really connecting with self.

There’s so much going on today, so much stimulation, that it’s easy for people never to stop and be mindful.  In the bible , a day of rest is called for, and  in the Jewish tradition, those who are observant shut  everything is shut down from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, Buddist tradition calls for silence, and would guess, the there are many more traditions that do as well .Maybe there is wisdom in these traditional practices.

Silence, It has the power  help slow the mind down, and it is a powerful in helping us to hear the inner voice. The trouble with silence is that many people feel the need to fill the void of silence with needless chatter, with TV, with music, with noise of some kind. I am back home and back to the life that includes technology. A friend recently said she was thinking about trying some time with silence, just  considering. It is very empowering , and I encourage you to try it, maybe for an hour or maybe for a half a day. I hear there are retreats that go for 30 days. I am not sure I am quite ready for that yet, but maybe , someday!