Silent Retreat

A friend of mine, Barbara Hearne, moved from Miami to Ashland, NC because she wanted the adventure of building a new home and to experience the woods and mountains. She loves it!

During a recent conversation she told me she decided to “unplug” for a certain period of time and actually go silent for a week. That means no verbal or tech communications. Just complete silence. I was fascinated. I asked her to tell me all about it.

This is her story, her words.

If I had to describe my life in 2012 it would be “un-plugged.”

The previous three years were filled with packing, moving, selling, renting, designing and building my new home in the mountains.  Preparing the land and then building took years. I loved every minute.

My only question is how houses were built before email, texts, cell phones, internet, digital images and virtual 3D models.   I fell asleep at my keyboard many many nights because of  endless questions, answers and decisions made.

When the house was almost complete, I attended my first “Silent Retreat” with over 300 people.  Ahhhhh, a week of not speaking, “silent sitting”, hiking on my own and spending nights quiet in a little cabin.  I actually had to buy a watch since no tech items were allowed.  I noticed a few high end cars outside of some cabins — Porsche, Mercedes, Lexus. The luxury we came for was having no chatter, no input and lots of rest.  I’ve learned to value this quiet time.  Once a friend commented that I am a “true” introvert.  Inspiration bubbles up when I make time for silence.

Since that retreat I’ve given myself permission to be outdoors in nature more and less on the computer.  I love digging in the dirt, watching things grow, feeling the breeze and observing the creatures do their thing.  My partner recently bought me the new iPad,  but I must admit it’s his truck filled with mulch, stone and trees to be planted that excites me most. 

I know that silence is not dependent on being un-plugged. Maybe this is how I’m finding my balance or maybe it’s about getting older and wanting to feel life from the inside out.  Most importantly, I’ve learned to listen to what I need and I give myself permission to have it.  A wise teacher once said it best, “Life is but a whisper, be silent, listen.”

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