On Wednesday afternoon we were told to be silent until we met back up for the seminar the following morning. My first thought was that it was silly and that I wouldn’t be doing it. However, my two roommates took it seriously so I followed suite.
I thought it was going to be really hard not only to not say anything, but to communicate without words. The first hour or so was difficult, but mostly because I had to keep reminding myself I couldn’t say anything. I think this is because talking is so automatic that I had to make a conscious decision not to do it!
I’ve got to admit it was a little strange going into Whole Foods for dinner and not being able to say anything! For me the thumbs up sign became my go to form of communication meaning ok, yes, good, and thank you.
We were more prepared the next morning when getting bagels for breakfast. I typed in the notepad section of my phone: “Good morning. The three of us are on a silent retreat. Here is our order: ” At first the guy was a little confused as I held up phone up, but he read it and was very friendly and helpful throughout the process of giving us our order.
After bagels we went on a beautiful hike. It was actually really nice not to worry about having to talk while hiking. Not only can that be tricky while you are trying to breath while climbing up a mountain, but sometimes feeling the need for talking results in a sub-par conversation that you really could have done without.
Here’s a video I took of the view half-way up the mountain. I wanted to give you the same experience I had from the silence so that’s why I don’t say anything during the video.
When you can’t talk with words, you only communicate when absolutely necessary (hand gestures and grunts only get you so far!). There is something so beautiful and peaceful about only meaningful communication. I’ve realized that sometimes I use chatter just to fill space or because I feel like I should be talking, not because I have something actually that interesting to say.
When we broke our silence during the seminar we were each asked to share our experience. Multiple people said they were going to do a day of silence regularly to connect back in with the power we were all feeling. It’s a lovely thought and I challenge you to do it. Maybe there should be a National Day of Silence so we can be reminded of what is actually important and let the rest go.