I have often thought about taking a silent retreat again. I did this about 13 years ago when I was out in New Mexico for a conference. A workmate and I visited Christ in the Desert Monastery afterwards but only I had the time to stay for a couple of days after she flew back east. It was a wonderful time being out in silence by myself, eventually. The sky was clear and the rare sound was a plane flying overhead. The first day was hard to start but I had brought a bag of Easter peanut M&Ms. No doubt sugar works as a way to numb unpleasant feelings! I got into the rhythm soon after that and felt the calm and the peace. I really didn't want to leave when it was time to fly home to my 'normal' life.
Periodically, I come to Virginia to dog-sit for my family. It's just me and an old, mainly silent dog. He is a faithful companion and does not ask for or need much. It's all about me time and how I want to use it. I've learned to bring less food, to bring fewer books to read, and to have fewer plans of things I want to do while on the this side of the Potomac. I've learned to take time, during these days, to just listen to the silence. At home, I can hear the rustle of traffic through the bamboo leaves and it sound like waves on the beach to me. Here in Virginia, I can hear the traffic of a major road and the Metro cars but it becomes a rhythmic background sound. I don't have to get caught in the bustle of all that outside my yard unless I want to.
Friday, I needed to get a lens from my glasses put back in. My husband had fixed them once but used glue to secure the screw and sadly that eliminated the ability to put a new screw in. My clerk tried to find the same frame but couldn't. I sat and waited for about 30 minutes, restless at first while she had to deal with a serious paying customer, and then watching the drama of other peoples' lives as they picked frames, talked about this style or that and remained unsure for a long time about just which frame they really wanted. I let go of my need to have my glasses issue resolved and just enjoyed watching life. In the end, the same frame in a slightly different color was found and my old lenses went into a new frame. My issue resolved in silence.
So will each day here be silent? probably not. A mixture of things I want to do - like watch some Lightroom videos to give myself a basis of understanding before I start to use it, reading a book or two, watching some Swedish Wallander films on Netflix and eventually buying one or two things that aren't available in MD such as the wonderful Lebanese garlic spread I love - but balanced with time set aside in silence to... just... be. I love these weeks alone especially as I continue to learn how to use them wisely. Oh, I also think it's going to be a stay in the jammies day!
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