I just came off of a 4-day silent retreat on a private, gated estate in the rolling hills of Northern California.
I had my husband Gene, my cousin PJ, and the two winners from my #BeHerNow Challenge in tow. I put my phone on airplane mode -- only using it to take pictures on occasion, or to type notes to communicate with folks in the house whenever necessary, without breaking the silence. Unplugging from social was a big part of this for me, and I never once felt compelled to check it!
I jokingly, but seriously, told Gene (and crew) in the Uber on the way up the mountain, "Don't look at me, don't try to talk to me, don't touch me! I don't exist to y'all!" They respected that (mostly) and we all did our own thing. I ate minimally, drank tons of water and green juice, attended the mandatory twice-a-day guided meditations, took long, hot showers, enjoyed an insightful one-on-one meditation session with co-founder Ruth, ugly cried cleansing tears, and just generally found myself 'lost in love'.
I also meditatively walked the acres of stunning views, sipped organic teas with honey from bees kept on site, ran from said bees on many occasions, and read books from the extra thorough library. The founder of Silent Stay, Dr. Bruce says, "As awareness rests in the heart, an indescribable joy from within unfolds..." and truer words were never spoken.
I had stumbled upon this effortless subtle joy back in 2015 just before my bestie, Grandma Maxine, transitioned. I was with her when she took her last breath and was tremendously thankful that, as grief descended, there was also a palpable peaceful-joy present in the background. Without that sense of deep 'calmness,' I would've been utterly broken. I knew I had found something precious, so over the next couple of years, I nurtured this inner peace with attention and love, and knew a retreat would be a great way to further stabilize in the awareness of IT.
Ruth shared that this presence is like the ocean, or the sky, always there, you just have to remember to turn to IT, to feel IT. I want that for you. I want this peace for everyone. It's why you are here.
To Love. To Be.
"All needs can lead us first to more silence. Daily we can remind ourselves to approach the silence first so that everything we need comes so much easier. When we want shelter we can begin by taking shelter in the quiet presence. When we want food or companionship we can first nourish ourselves with the stillness and let the silence be our closest companion. As we are open, the natural order of things can answer all our needs either directly or by guiding us to the easiest solution. The more we fill our needs with the silence, the more love can reach deeper inside us, bringing the perfect shelter, the perfect food, and the perfect companion who expresses most what the silence wishes for us."
- Dr. Bruce Davis from 'Monastery Without Walls'
Dr. Ruth told us to grab groceries from the market before we checked in. Once you're in, it's best to stay in for the duration of your trip, to keep the silence. I bought easy stuff 'cause I don't do a lot of cooking, and I wanted to be focused more on meditating and reading, not fighting with the stove and washing dishes. I also washed and styled my hair before we arrived so I didn't have to spend any time wrestling that situation either! I didn't even pack a single hair product! FREEDOM!
In addition to our crew of five, there were three other women that joined us on our stay. It felt so powerful being around them without the need to speak or learn about who they were or where they were from!
In a way, there's more love and intimacy in the silence, even with strangers.
And then, they're not so much strangers anymore. Lots of smiles and a few notes were shared with them.
I had never meditated with a group before. After the initial noise from the mind (mostly worries about my stomach grumbles rudely breaking the silence), I found it extremely powerful. I've been home for two days and continue to sit twice a day, with candles and incense! Me and hubby as well as Remonde (one of the challenge winners) have vowed to hold each other accountable and to continue this practice no matter what!
I wholly recommend a silent retreat, and HIGHLY recommend Silent Stay. Dr. Bruce and his wife Ruth, and their gentle, effective pointers and guided meditations, will reintroduce you to your true self, so that you may reintroduce yourself to the world. They radiate love, the views are breathtaking, and the loud silence will soothe your soul. They also take groups to Bali and Italy each year! Treat yo self! xoxo
Originally published on CurlyNikki.