First thing you should know is that I’m an extrovert, and some people thought it was funny that one of the most talkative people in the office signed up for a full five-day silent retreat. You should also know that I signed up at the last minute, and even though I knew I wanted to have the experience, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Attendees who had gone before me were vague with their descriptions. They’d say something like, “It’s life-changing,” or “The food is good,” but no one gave me any clear direction about the journey I would embark on. All I knew is that I needed quiet time to think and reflect on my life, the pandemic and the death of my mom in 2021. It’s not often that you get the gift of a week away where everything is taken care of — no cooking, no cleaning and no work; just rest.
Since the silent retreat, I haven’t talked in depth to other people about their experiences, but I will tell you this: the gifts I received in return after the retreat have far exceeded any personal uncomfortableness I experienced during the week of silence. I learned that I need quiet time, even if it’s just a little, to be centered and hear the voice inside of me. I learned that I need far less than I think and that the things that are truly important aren’t things. Cliché, I know. But after the death of my mom in October 2021, it became abundantly clear that life is short, and sometimes the hardest lessons in life can only be learned in a tragic moment.
I’ll be honest, I cheated and called my fiancé from my car on day three, but hearing his voice and the distance between us made me so grateful for the life that we have. I am so blessed beyond belief. And you know what?
So are you — but you just may need a silent retreat to rediscover the life you already have.