What I Realized After Being Completely Silent for 48 Hours
This past weekend I went on a retreat with my cousin. It was a weekend on a nice estate, with friends and delicious food…
But here’s the catch: it was a silent retreat.
This was my second silent retreat and each time I’ve gone on one, I feel like a new person afterwards. Here are a few benefits and things I learned from not talking for 48 hours:
1. Silence is a Loud Communicator
Some of you might remember James Aspey who didn’t speak for a year. His silence represented the voiceless animals who are slaughtered in meat houses every day. His approach of silence was a huge witness and it made headlines because he did something that really caught everyone’s attention.
In the same way, I became hyper-aware of everyone’s facial expressions and body language because we weren’t able to speak. I realized that you can make someone feel welcomed, supported, and encouraged just by the way you look at them. In the same way, you can make someone feel rejected, ignored, or shunned. We have more power than we think!
2. Our ability to Speak is a Great Gift
Just as the saying goes: You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. There were so many times I wanted to break the silence and talk! It was quite a sacrifice to keep quiet, especially when I needed to ask for something or I wanted to share something I had thought of. After the retreat was over, I realized that I need to add “talking” to my list of things to be grateful for.
3. A Relationship with Yourself is One of the Most Important Ones You Can Have
I remember discovering this video a few years ago. It shows the importance of being alone and not lonely, and it tells you how to do it! When you aren’t able to speak to anyone, you spend a lot of time inside your own head. You might realize that you really like yourself…or you might realize you have a lot of work to do! Either way, it’s an essential part of being a whole person with a strong sense of self.
So after reading this I hope you will call up an old friend or your mom and have a nice conversation….and then take some time off on your own for some silence as well!
About the Author: Norah Kearney
I am currently a junior at Webster University of St. Louis, Missouri. I’m working on my BA in English with a focus on creative writing. I plan to use my degree for writing, editing, teaching, or a bit of all three.
Read more from and about the author: Norah’s WiLab Profile