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June 3, 2021

The Voice of Silence

Shhhhh. You'll be amazed what you hear.

After hearing about silent retreats for many years, I finally embraced the concept and decided to attend one last fall.

Then I encountered two problems. I couldn’t find one that fit my schedule or budget. Who knew that silence would cost thousands of dollars?

That’s when I decided to create my own silent retreat.

If you’re ready to escape the noise around you, I encourage you to try it too.

Here’s what I did:

I chose a week when my kids and husband were out of the house.

I turned off all electronic devices.

I had enough food to feed myself and all the pets in my life for the five “retreat” days.

I resolved not speak a single word, even to those pets. I wouldn’t read books. I only listened.

I set a timer for the 20 minutes a day that I checked my iPhone. (I couldn’t go cold-turkey with no electronics. I spent too much time wondering if the world had ended and I missed it.)

I didn’t talk.

I found it most difficult to stay silent with my pets. Surprisingly, they paid closer attention to me when I didn’t speak.

Maybe it was because I had to get down on their level and gesture to communicate? Maybe it was because they don’t use words? All I know is they paid closer attention to me when I wasn’t constantly yammering.

Another surprising thing I learned is that silence doesn’t really exist. Birds sing. Leaves rustle. Wind blows. Water trickles. My heart beats.

And hearing them is a gift.

I could hear those beautiful sounds so much better when I kept quiet. Perhaps hearing the unspoken sounds of nature help us better communicate with others.

If a silent retreat is not possible, try taking a hour-long walk in nature without your iPod or earphones. You’ll be amazed at what you hear.


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