10 Day At Home Silent Retreat
The last 10 days have been bliss and challenging. They’ve been luxurious and simple. They’ve been beautiful and hard. They’ve been eye opening and surrendering. They have been perfectly imperfect.
My planner/organizer self had everything planned out and prepped. I didn’t know how these 10 days would actually flow but I had some ideas about how I’d spend my days. Some of it happened and some of it didn’t. After the first few days I just let go and went with the flow. There was nothing specific I had to accomplish during this time. It was essentially an experiment. I’ve learned so much about myself and reconnected to what really matters. I didn’t miss the speculation, dramatization or the sensationalizing of the media or social media but I did miss knowing what was happening in the world & connecting with my friends and family.
Here are a few of the guidelines I had in place for myself:
- No tv
- No internet
- No phone
- I had one piece of new age meditation music with nature sounds that was one hour long that I could listen to during my evening routine. No other music.
- I would remain silent
- I would nourish & nurture my body
- Spend time in nature
My plan included day 1-7 in complete silence. Day 8-10 were to ease my way back into re-entry.
Here’s what actually happened!
- No TV
- I got the internet back on Day 9. I checked emails, looked at IG. I looked at FB on day 11.
- I got the phone back on Day 11.
- I listened to that piece of music probably 3 times.
- I remained silent 99% of the time.
- I ate every meal by candlelight on pretty dishes or picnic in the park
- I took several bubble baths, long hot showers or spent time by the lake
- I spent time in nature everyday. We walked. I laid under trees & watched their leaves dance in the wind. I played on the swings and jumped in puddles. I sat and watched the birds & listened to their songs
- I either had a campfire or lit candles everyday. It just felt important.
Up until day 4.5, it felt like I was just unplugged for the weekend and it was BLISS!! Day 4.5 hit and I started to feel some withdrawal. I may or may not have done a tiny search for my hidden items. Prior to going silent I asked Matt to hide my phone & the Wi-Fi. I didn’t succeed in that search and I’m really glad; I definitely would have disappointed myself.
I managed to read four books & start another two.
- Rise Sister Rise – Rebecca Campbell. This book has inspired so much in me. A belonging to the Universe & to myself.
- How to Be Here – Rob Bell. This book inspired action & new dreaming.
- Braving The Wilderness – Brene Brown. This book inspired a different way of being in today’s world.
- The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz. This book inspired alignment & a new practice.
- You Can Heal Your Life – Louise Hay. This book is inspiring a better relationship with my body.
- A Mind at Home with Itself – Byron Katie. I’m just getting started on this one.
On the first morning, because I didn’t have my phone, I had no idea what time it was! The sky was a beautiful shade of pink. I was up before the sun. It felt odd not to know the time all the time. I asked myself that first morning if it was necessary to know the time during these 10 days and the answer was no. I rarely knew the time unless I saw the time on the stove or microwave. After an adjustment period it felt really good not to be a slave to time but it did take some getting used to. I also never knew what weather was coming. (hello! Snow flakes on the morning of Day 2!) I didn’t realize how much I value the weather app.
For some reason I did expect the house to be silent but the house isn’t completely silent. There’s the hum of the refrigerator, kids playing in the streets, neighbourhood dogs barking, houses being built out back. I was silent in my un-silent world.
I reeeeaaaallllllly missed my phone camera. A lot. It brings me joy to document life & nature through pictures on the fly. There were so many times I wanted to share a photo with you! Sunsets on the lake, the way the light was hitting colored leaves, the snowflakes! Colors seemed so much more vibrant during these last 10 days.
I am grateful that Matt had agreed to me doing this experiment. He did try his best! There was actually more hand holding, eye gazing and such, since we needed to communicate in different ways. He was super helpful during the prep phase and was 100% on board to being silent while at home with me…for the first four days. By day 5 he was ready for the “trying to communicate” in silence to be over and I don’t blame him. It was frustrating at times. I love him for supporting me in this quest.
I am so so so so grateful to my friends & family who supported & held space for me over these last 10 days. Lauren, Waymatea, Dudley, Ann, Mom, Manda, Lesley, Celeste, Beck and to each and every one of you who sent love, positive vibes, prayers and well wishes. Thank you. They are felt so deeply & I’m so appreciative.
In my mind, these last 10 days have been everything I needed them to be. Were they perfect? No. Would I do it again? Yes! In a heart beat and I will! I would do a couple things a little differently next time but I would definitely do it again. Creativity has flowed, something new has been conceived (can’t wait to share more about that!) & I’ve reconnected with myself in new ways but that is a post for another day.
For today, this day 11, be gentle with me. I’m happy to be back. xo