Friday, September 15, 2006
Silence is Golden
I attended a day long silent retreat yesterday. It was wonderful. For those who have never experienced a silent retreat, I highly recommend it. What does one do on a silent retreat? Plenty. The organizers of this retreat, (it happened to be my annual Parish Nurse retreat) had things very well planned out. It was held at a retreat center, so there were ponds and wooded areas with trails for us to walk. There was a prayer labyrinth to walk as well. They gave us each a "kit" at the beginning that included a journaling book, a pen, a small Gideon Bible, and bottled water. After an hour of instructions and directions, they set us loose on the grounds. We were given many options of how to spend our day. There were rooms set aside for silent meditation and prayer and bedrooms set up for sleep even! There was a sign-up for 30 minute sessions of one-on-one prayer and reflective listening. There were portable CD players with headphones and a vast array of meditative music CDs. There were mandalas printed on paper that we could color in with colored markers. Box lunches were provided so we could stay out all day or come back at will for a meal. Though some of the ladies expressed concern over being able to be silent for the day, I have long been enamored of the practice of silence. I think it is a wonderful discipline that everyone could benefit from. Its amazing what you'll hear if you keep your mouth shut long enough. It was a beautiful day, in the low 80s with a sky full of fluffy clouds. I wanted to hear the sounds a nature for a while and then slipped on my headphones to listen to some John Micheal Talbot, a monk who sings very meditative music. (A little bit of Keith Green would have been perfect for this occassion as well, but was not made available) I wanted to try some of everything suggested, but would you believe, the time was just too short? I didn't get to walk the prayer labyrinth, but I know of one back in the city that I promise myself to visit. I did sign up for the reflective listening and prayer time with one of the trained practitioners. It was a beautiful and healing time. I really needed a retreat like that. I wished I could have done it for several days, a week even! What a time of physical refreshment and spiritual renewal. It made me see how crazy my schedule is and how hectic my life. (I knew that already, but on this occassion, I FELT it.) My body is so tired and wrung out. I can't give birth like this. I have start backing away from some of my committments, bit by bit, and start delegating what I can. (To think, I almost didn't go to the retreat, almost called away once more by the tyranny of the urgent.) I am looking for ways to incorporate more silence into my life- at least until the baby comes.