January 2, 2020

Well, This Should Be Interesting

The grandkids were here for New Year's Eve and left yesterday morning. The straightening is over, last year's files and receipts have been packed away. 2020 is beginning in a way I have never attempted before. Today should be a unique experience for me, a different way of starting a new year.


January 2, 2020, will be a day of silence. Yep: no talking, no cell phones, no TV, no music, no conversations with my wife of 43 years (who is participating as well). It is OK to ask the dog to go outside, but otherwise, mum's the word.

Reading is permitted, if it is something that feeds my mind, like a book on meditation or prayer or spiritual examination. But, murder mysteries, political intrigue? No, not today. Texting? Out. Time spent on the computer? Nope (my response to any comments you leave will happen starting Friday...and I wrote this post a few weeks ago).

The obvious question: Why? What do I hope to accomplish? I'm not really sure. Several articles about mindfulness retreats and the power of silent contemplation have caught my eye over the last month. It was a hectic last few months of 2019. I want to start fresh in any way I can, using any path available to me.


I am not interested in paying to go to a yoga center in southern Arizona. What I am interested in how I would respond to enforced silence...a day that only is filled by my thoughts, my ideas, exposure to nature during some walks and quiet periods. Something like that chair across a quiet stream would be perfect.

It will be interesting to see where my mind goes, what thoughts fill the gaps normally taken up with electronic or written stimulation. Will I get really, really bored and antsy? Will I be unable to sit still for long periods, just letting my thoughts wander where they will?

Or, will I discover that enforced silence is calming, restorative, and energizing? Will fresh ideas flow for my life, this blog, my future? With the focus on what is in my mind and in the natural world, where will my thoughts go? Author Sarah Monk, says, "Psychological benefits of silence can include enhanced creativity, focus, self control, self awareness, perspective and spirituality."

Will I awake January 3rd bursting to resume talking, communicating and reattaching to the verbal world? Or, will I find a day of detachment has been wonderfully different.

I promise to let you know. But, for now........

22 comments:

  1. Enforced silence would be maddening. Voluntary silence would work. It seems yours in voluntary.

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  2. I’m not a big talker but I’m not sure I could handle this. I look forward to hearing about it.

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  3. Interesting idea. As some form of meditation is one of my 2020 goals. I am eager to hear how about it.

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  4. Several years ago I went to a writing and meditation retreat in Taos with Natalie Goldberg. We had several morning silence times..where we all ate breakfast in our dining area together, but in silence, till noon. We also had some silent walking meditation periods. It was restorative.Ken and I have done “retreat” days at home like yours.. we do gentle yoga == by ourselves..keep the silence,meet at previously set times for meditation together.. and generally retreat and reset the Spirit.. : the spirit.I think you and Betty will enjoy this ,, will enjoy hearing about your experience..

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  5. Can't wait to hear the results of your experiment. I'm betting you'll probably like it so much you're resolve to do it periodically in the future. The only thing I'd have trouble giving up for a day or two in your scenario is computer time in the morning and watching Colbert's monologue before turning off the lights at night.

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  6. It will be interesting to hear how you do. I have never done this as such. But I have lived completely alone and spend large parts of my day alone and I am one of thos people who hates background noise so rarely have in music or tv. I would miss my am computer time. Ate you allowed to do hobbies and such during this time or is it complete meditation?

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  7. I spent more time in silence than I ever want to again so, this isn't something I will do but, I hope you get the results you're hoping for.
    b

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  8. Hi Bob! I'm a big fan of mindfulness and the "occasional" silence. I look forward to hearing how it goes for you and will certainly consider it as something to try in the future. If we can't try new things in a new year--then when? ~Kathy

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  9. I have never tried a silent retreat. However, as a person who already incorporates large chunks of solitude in my weeks, I imagine that I would be fine with it — as long as I was allowed to read and write.

    Jude

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  10. When we were in Oaxaca a few months ago, we met a couple who had participated in a 10-day silent meditation retreat in Mazunte, Mexico. I was fascinated to learn about their experience - which they both recommended highly. I will be interested to hear of your experience too... and learn whether it will be something you'll practice regularly.

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  11. Like others, I'll be eager to hear your evaluation of this experience. I'm a solitary type who has lived alone for more than four decades and considers long periods of solitude and silence essential to my sanity and well-being -- but I know that this is not the norm in our culture. I'm wondering if you will have discovered new sights and sounds in the world around you that you normally have trouble seeing and hearing through all the normal clutter of life.

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  12. Wow, what an interesting experiment. Can't wait to hear the results.

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  13. I tried a silent retreat a couple years ago (the Great Silence begins after dinner Friday evening and ends at breakfast on Sunday morning) and I LOVED it. I now do the same retreat every year, and am already looking forward to it. It fills up immediately and often ahead of time by people who have done this before. It's awesome. Will be interested in how you liked your day of silence!

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    1. Oops...it starts on Thursday night. So two nights and two full days. I have a friend who did 10 days and she said that was really, really hard.

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  14. Someone wiser than I said "I am least lonely when I am by myself." Do I buy into that? i'm not really sure.

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  15. The actor Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing) and his wife practiced voluntary silence ever Sunday for years; I think he said that once they got in the habit they didn’t want to let it go because of how it enriched their lives and relationship. I will be interested in reading about your experience and thoughts. Brett has done silent retreats and enjoyed them but I’ve never tried one. I think I’m ready though. Laura @ the occasional nomads

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  16. I could not do what you are setting out to do. I love conversations and my iPad too much, especially the iPad. It’s my connection to the world and I don’t mean Facebook.
    I have quiet times at home sitting outside or taking a nice walk and then my mind flows...that’s enough.

    I’ll be interested in the responses.

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  17. Well this will indeed be an interesting day. I find that in silence, I meet my mind, my hamster mind that is running in the background all the time, running on that chatter wheel. Amazing all the energy it is expending for nothing really. But it is only in silence that I can notice it and invite it to rest.

    Your post also reminded me of one of my favorite Bible verses: "For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence."

    Looking forward to your reflections...

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  18. Since I am deaf, I don't hear myself or anyone else talk. Does that count as silence? (ha). If so I have been doing it for more than 30 years now. It's kinda like the "tree in the forest" thing ��

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  19. You know who I live with Bob! He cannot hear so talking is not required EVER! It is a good kind of life at least for us. I think of it as writing a 100 word blog...get rid of all the words that are not necessary. (RJ, You know what I mean.)

    As for me, I love to talk so staying inside my head is very hard. Let us know how it worked out for you and what you learned.

    Happy New Year to you and Betty

    FYI...I have new blog domain. :)

    Barbara

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    1. I added your blog back to the blog roll once I figured out where you went!

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