What I learned at a Silent Stay Retreat
Recently I went to Silent Stay Retreat Center. It was very beautiful, peaceful and relaxing. It’s in the hills of Solano County in Pleasant Valley. Once you get here they encourage silence and it was quite refreshing to not feel pressured to talk to the other participants. I found it quite interesting that all of the participants were women except for one of the facilitators. You do a couple of meditations per day in a group but the rest of the time you can do whatever you like. They recommend you leave your phone in the car so that you can really unplug. I did notice I wasn’t the only person who didn’t abide by this recommendation. My excuse was because I needed to be available in case of an emergency with my family. Needless to say it made me aware that I have a real addiction with my phone.
One of the things we discussed is that with all of the busyness of life, we become so work oriented that we don’t know how to get our balance. The silence is what helps us to get our balance again. It helps your soul to come home and give itself a rest. It’s a beautiful concept.
There is a concept of Yin and Yang. Yang being work, education, doing, achieving, making money, pursuing. Yin is about being, accepting, allowing, receiving, silence, inner being and soul work. It’s about getting in touch with that little kid inside of you and realizing what your inner child needs. Maybe it needs to play for a bit or get some rest. It also could need to get rid of stuff that is holding you back. Such as holding on to too much stuff. It’s difficult to listen to your needs without silence. Your inner child gets drowned out with all of the other noises and sounds.
The thing that was nice about having silence at the retreat, is that I didn’t have to feel that pressure to speak to talk to others. They have notes of paper around so you can communicate with someone if you need to. It is perfectly fine to be in the same room and not feel responsible to talk to them. That felt very freeing and made me realize how such a simple thing as silence can have a real benefit to our lives.
Western culture is very much goal oriented, analytical, results driven and forces one to “go, go,go.” When really what our soul needs is just some time to sit back under a tree, and enjoy the cool breeze and enjoy the moment. What would happen if we gave ourselves a bit of time?
There was silence but the birds weren’t silent. In the quiet of the hills, I could hear the beautiful songs of the birds. There were many wind chimes and other wild life. Hearing all of the wonderful nature sounds was very peaceful. There was a beautiful family of turkeys. The baby turkeys with their mom and dad. I took the worst picture humanly possible.
Of course I was reading an Awesome book when I was there that just completely enhanced the experience. I took the book by Michelle Paisley Reed, called Manifesting Miracles and for the first time I was actually able to meet my soul. It was such an amazing experience. My soul is just so happy. I mead ridiculously happy. Kind of reminded me of my puppy when she gets so excited. I was surprised because there are times when I am feeling stressed, sad and feel rushed. When I saw my soul was happy, it just made me feel happy and want to spend more time with my happy little soul. I feel so blessed that I was able to have this experience.
I’ve meditated for years but I’ve never really been silent for days on end and I no longer fear silence. I wonder what would happen if we would all take the time to just shut up for a couple of days. And of course my ego wants to judge people and tell them, “You really need to shut up.” But not only is that not nice, but that’s their choice and we all have choices now don’t we?
Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and Yoga Instructor. She’s recuperating from a 26 year career in law enforcement. After 9 months retired or repurposed she’s finally allowing herself a chance to truly rest. She’s learning to listen to that voice inside of her and listening to what it wants. You can read more about Valerie here.