In February, CAYA Coven celebrates the Silent Moon. I invite you to explore these questions and practices with me this Silent Moon.
How do you tune into the quiet that underlies all the noise? Are you getting enough quiet time? Where can you go to be silent? How do you cultivate silence in your mind and spirit?
Going on Retreat
We all need time off. I don’t just mean time not working. We need time to rest and recharge, to cease being parents, volunteers, Priest/esses, friendly support, or any of the other roles we play. We need time to bask in being ourselves.
How much time do you need off? For a good retreat, I recommend three days. But perhaps you can only take one. Perhaps you can only manage half a day. That’s OK. Do what you can.
Take the time before you go to figure out what will help renew you. Don’t pack your schedule with must-dos. A retreat with dawn to dusk yoga, meditation, class, massage, and hikes will not be as relaxing as you hope. Instead, give yourself options. I like to bring materials to read, write, create art, and do divination. Also be prepared to do none of those things. Maybe you’ll find you just want to lie down and listen to birdsong.
When you go, go somewhere separate from your daily life. Break your usual rhythms. Give yourself lots of space to go where your heart leads you. Rest. Relax. Let the silence seep into your soul.
I’m a very articulate person. I like using my word. So the first time I tried silence as a spiritual practice, it was quite a challenge. Other people reacted with bewilderment or frustration. There was a lot of huffy gesturing. During a five-day silence as an adult, several people mistook me for Deaf and tried ASL, of which I knew only a few words. I made myself a sign that said, “Temporary vow of silence for spiritual reasons,” and carried it with me everywhere. I also found that quite a few social interactions could be carried out with good eye contact, a smile, and a nod.
Outward silence leads to inward silence. When you don’t speak, you think more clearly about what you need to communicate. The patterns of your mind shift. There is a more settled sense of stillness, of waiting, of patience. Try not talking intentionally for a few hours or a few days. And see what comes up for you.