For the month of January I will be in silence at a retreat center in Ohio. I’ve been planning this retreat for a year now and watching the hunger and longing of my soul grow within me. I have also been watching the doubts. This is the second time in my life that I have chosen to take a full month to do silence and I remember that at a certain point, when the novelty and joy of the quiet has worn off, I begin to miss the stimulation of my life. I begin to miss sharing the daily trivialities with people I love. I begin to miss daily rituals that wrap my life like a cozy blanket.
I also know that at some point during the month, I will have to sit with the broken pieces of myself. And during those times, I will wonder why I ever brought myself to a whole month of this and I will long to be back home. And then I will laugh at myself because for a whole year I have desired to be here, and now I want to be anyplace but here. Such will be the state of my efforts at silence.
But to experience life as fully as we can, we have to experience ourselves as fully as we can. Life is not for silence, silence is for life. And so I go for a month of silence, not because silence is the ultimate, but because ordinary life is the ultimate and I hope to be more fully present and open to this ordinary life when I return.