If all goes to plan, this coming Wednesday I will begin a ten day silent retreat. I’ll be hours from home with no internet, no screens, no journals, no coffee, no instruments, no Shawn. Just this breath, this step, this moment – and then the next, and the next.
I’ve sat two silent retreats before, each five days in length, each full of challenges and rewards.
Sleep – stand – walk – sit – eat – work – walk – sit – stand – walk – sit – eat – stand – walk – sit – stand – walk – sit – eat – stand – walk – sit – stand – walk – sleep.
Each day, each hour, each moment an opportunity – an invitation – to pay attention to the present moment without judgment.
Can I really do ten days? I’ve been asking myself. I will miss (insert person/place/thing here) so much. What will I notice? What will happen?
Years ago, my dear friend Leah went on a vision quest in Montana, and wrote an album’s worth of songs about her experience, called ‘Up The Mountain.’ (I would link it here, except that much of her music, with the exception of her ‘Songs of the Circle‘ album, isn’t available online.) A line from the title track has been running through my mind and voice lately:
I don’t know what I’ll find with my searching
And I don’t know what I’ll see with my seeking
And I don’t know what I’ll call with my asking
I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know
But I gotta go.
It’s that last line that hooks me.
…but I gotta go.
It’ll be difficult, no doubt. And I gotta do this. I gotta sit with the mind, sit with all the joy and grief and anxiety and bliss, and look at it and be with it. In silence and solitude. For ten days.
Why? you might wonder.
I yam what I yam.
I gotta because I gotta.
I wanna look after the very thing that is with me at every moment of this life, see what it’s up to, take good care of it.
How one spends one’s days is how one spends one’s life.
So, I’ll be taking a break from the blog for at least a couple of Mondays.
I am looking forward to sharing whatever presents itself for sharing from the silence and solitude of this experience.
In the meantime, I wish you happiness and joy, strength and ease, freedom from suffering, and peace.