Love. How did I arrive at that word? For three consecutive years, I have chosen to invest in myself by disconnecting for periods of time – up to a week – and participate in prolonged silence. We often hear the phrase, “third time is a charm,” and it very well may be. I chose to record my first words following my third retreat and the word love came tumbling out front and center.
The journey into, through, and out of prolonged silence brings with it a series of gifts, packaged as lessons upon closer examination. My first year of prolonged silence was riddled with anxious vibes and a noisy mind. You don’t realize how much stimulation you are constantly impacted by until you slow it all down. One of many things I realized in this first experience was that you can be silent. You can be still. You can unplug and come back more inspired than before. Silence is not the end of the world – just a rather enriching reprieve from the daily hustle and bustle which you won’t value until you experience it. My second experience in prolonged silence revealed that I could assimilate into silence at a rather easy pace, and once I did, my other senses were heightened. I was so much more in tune with energy, my intuition, and the ability to be present seemed effortless. I came back from this retreat with a renewed sense of clarity that was, without a doubt, superior to my first experience.
After both of these retreats people would often say to me – what was your first word?! Was talking again difficult? Was it hard to step back into the day to day? So, for my third retreat I decided to capture these words and thoughts in the moment. What was interesting about this retreat is that I readily recognized those who were having a hard time quieting the mind – in part because one of my takeaways from the second retreat was the ability to be truly present. This time around I was able to step right into silence – in fact I could barely wait to do so. During my days in silence I felt so compelled each day to take care of the environment supporting me. That’s when it hit me – I realized everything around me was actually there to support me – the air, the earth, the birds, the wind, the furniture I was resting on, the food I was enjoying – everything was there to nurture me. This realization allowed me to feel a true sense of love for everything around me. Love is defined as an intense feeling of deep affection. In this sense, it is hard not to love the people, places, and things that are in your life’s journey which is designed to support you.
As my time in prolonged silence came to an end, I had a renewed interest in seizing the second. We don’t need a new day, week, month or year to shift. The shift happens in seconds. I also had the cognition that all of us are more than we think we are. We are not just people, or friends, or lovers. We are each a part of each other’s support system. With these realizations I also acknowledged the universal truth that anything is possible – if we can actually define what it is we want. And that is where love is found – in the journey of defining what we want and understanding we have all we need to be love and accept love. While stepping back into the real world filled with incessant notifications, to-do lists and beyond was necessary, what I love about being back in it is that I know the value of silence, and I know I can go there when I need that support. It’s only one second away.