Tonight, I am going on a silent retreat at one of my favorite places on earth. I have been taking retreats at this place ever since 1987 or so, when they used to host an annual retreat for the Friends of Calligraphy. I would go with my inks, my special paper and drawing board, and set up in the “scriptorium” with other calligraphers, where we would do our calligraphy in silence for a week. There were short breaks in the silence, where master artists would give seminars on how to make the perfect “B,” or brush calligraphy or some such. I felt like some sort of ecstatic monk. It was heaven.
After I had my first child in 1990, I pretty much gave up calligraphy – all those inks and pen nibs were too hazardous for grabby little fingers – and by that time I had switched to writing. I started yearning for a place to get away to just think. Thanks to the wonderful support of said child’s father, I began taking 24-hour writing retreats at the same place.
This place is the most peaceful place I know. It used to be a convent for nuns, and is now used for spiritual and other quiet retreats. There is a beautiful chapel, lovely spare little rooms, a courtyard garden, a strawbale hermitage (for when one wants to be a “hermit”), a yurt, several gardens. But the best part is the silence.
I recently received a (beautifully calligraphed) card to confirm my spot at the retreat. It almost made me cry from happiness.
Within each of us there is a silence, a silence as vast as the universe…
When we experience that silence, we remember who we are, creatures of the stars,
created from time and space, created from silence…
Silence is our deepest nature, our home, our common ground, our peace…
Silence is where God dwells. We yearn to be there.
The experience of silence is now so rare, that we must guard and treasure it. This is especially true for shared silence.”
–Gunilla Norris, Shared Silence
I have been very, very busy, and very active these past months. I am longing for some quiet and some rest. The next few months are going to be even more hectic as my day job heats up to its peak event in July. This is the biggest gift I can think of to give myself, to contemplate all that has happened this year. I plan to write, read, sleep, walk, meditate. I’m going to try and lay off the Twitter a bit, although I won’t be completely gone (twittering is silent, isn’t it?). I do believe that this is one of the biggest and most important and yet most ignored aspect of a weight loss journey – the peace of mind that is necessary for all the other pieces (food plan, exercise) to work.
I’ll be thinking of you all and how very grateful I am for the support that has surrounded me since I began this journey, not so very long ago in January. Have a peaceful weekend.