In all honesty, if I could post videos to this blog instead of write it, I would definitely choose to do so for this post. You see, I have just returned from a silent retreat. Meaning I just spent the weekend in silence….
Zero words spoken.
Zero conversations had (well there were some nonverbal ones).
There was even a point when I saw a very large spider in my shower when I went to reach for my shampoo and you know what? I didn’t say a word (but I do imagine my actions mirrored that of Kramer from Seinfeld when he’s shocked about something). Pats of the back for me.
You could say I did a lot of thinking, but that would be an understatement. I sat around, marinating in my own thoughts the entire weekend.
There was an amazing lake (Ilopango I believe) that was breathtaking enough, but then we were told that there’s actually a volcano UNDER the lake. Can you even imagine that? My mind was just slightly blown.
Anywho…back to this retreat.
So we all sat around in this wonderful place about an hour and a half outside Antiguo. We were surrounded by plants, flowers, trees, even some bamboo (which I did not know existed here). Most of the time I would go and sit on this edge that overlooked the lake and let my feet dangle as I journaled or read. I listened to music but most times it wasn’t necessary with all the lovely bird chirping and wind breeziness that made me feel like I had bought a “Peaceful Sounds” CD in the $1 section at TArget or something.
And I let myself go, I found the me that was one with my surroundings and at peace with my thoughts.. It was wonderful to be liberated and know that I can come back to this moment and find peace in the future.
We also meditated like none other. Like I said, kind of hippie things, but I mean, it was all for the best and I regret none of it and I love this new hippie side of myself. There’s nothing wrong with that. We had 5 reflections and each one included a meditation. They usually lasted for around 20 minutes and focused on breathing which in turn helps focus your mind. After we would have time for journaling, drinking tea, taking a candle to our rooms, making art in the art corner. Anything to help us with our reflecting.
We had a morning of yoga and a morning of hand massages. Yes. We sat in pairs, meditated for 50 minutes and gave each other hand massages. Complete with oil. This happened after we stared into our partner’s eyes for almost 10 minutes straight (if anybody thought of the scene from Baby Mama when Tina Fey gets 5 minutes of uninterrupted eye contact, then we must be good friends.) I will also admit that the first time we tried this exercise I had a very hard time keeping a straight face. And I’d like to see you try it after spending a day and a half in silence and then having to stare at someone’s completely relaxed face. It’s difficult.
Lastly, we practiced mindful eating. It was slightly challenging since I normally eat very quickly so I can keep on schedule. But I savored each bite of my food (shout out to my Dad and my cousin Brandy who always do this) and I cut everything into smaller and smaller bites, I even cut my watermelon with a knife and fork, it was that serious. And I enjoyed it a lot more. I don’t know how often I’ll be able to do it without everybody else also eating slowly, but I think I’m going to try.
We ended by reading a poem out loud together, and then one more time while shouting. I was going to post it but I forgot the paper in my house and I am now sitting at the internet cafe. My bad.
It was an inspiring weekend. I filed up half a journal with thoughts, reflections, and poems, I watercolored and drew even though I was previously under the assumption that I was completely incompetent at both of these things. And now here I am at the internet cafe, after a bus ride filled with shouting and stories and sharing artwork. Back to the homework I neglected and the week ahead.
Next up: Vacation week, starting Friday afternoon. My plans aren’t final, but I’m excited nonetheless.