Thursday, July 27, 2017

Day 5 - silence

Today was unbelievable.  After 4 days of 8 sessions and many hours of learning we attempted a 6 hour silence session.  We didn't have yoga this morning but did get up, take showers, and eat breakfast.  Breakfast had eggs, fruits, delicious muffins, and oatmeal,

We all met in the studio and settled into our nests (our personal yoga spaces).  Liz then walked us through 10:00-12:30 of complete meditation strategies non stop and were not allow to speak.  We did a short sitting practice, then standing practice, walking practice, some yoga, then lying down and a final sitting practice.  It went really well and I was able to stay "pay attention" almost the  whole time.  I had a terrible sleep last night and was worried I would fall asleep today but I didn't.

We broke for lunch and continue our silence until the afternoon session 1:30-4:00 pm. Liz gave us lots of information about the importance of honoring our silence and to not make eye contact with others.  The reason for this was because I owe it to the others to honor their practice.  The staff had been advised that we will not be speaking during lunch and they didn't interact with us or expect thanks etc.

During lunch I sat outside in the sun and actually felt amazing.  I loved the morning and the extreme peace and quiet. I remained in practice the whole time and because of the yoga was able to sit crossed legged for the last practice.  Lunch was soup, amazing potato salad with greens.  When you are in silence it really makes you eat more mindfully because you are not engaged in conversation.  Some people walked, rested, but most people I saw were sitting in silence or journaling.

The afternoon session was tough.  We did multiple practices included lying down and I was very worried about sleeping but Liz told us if we were getting tired to keep our eyes open.  I worked very hard to complete all the practices but by the end I was pooped but very proud.  One of the practices was called "love and kindness" and it certainly made me tear up as you had to imagine someone who loves you unconditionally.  I thought of my parents then my grandmothers.  We had to imagine they were here and we were talking to them.  Thinking of sitting with my grandmothers was very moving as they were awesome ladies who I miss often.  Then we were to think about allowing that caring relationship for ourselves.  Turns out we are pretty hard on ourselves which definitely let me here.  Liz says that what we tell ourselves we would never say to anyone else and that we need to stop speaking so negatively to ourselves.  It was powerful stuff once again.

Once the afternoon session was over, Liz asked us to paired off and shared how we were feeling then did a large group debrief of the day.  We then formed a circle and reconnected by looking at each other eye and already starting to laugh and chat again.

Dinner was so good as they made a peanut African stew (something we ate when we visited Africa and loved it).  Another guest and I have been working on a jigsaw puzzle so we have been sitting and chatting while trying to get it finished before the retreat is over.  We are so close to completion.

After dinner we all met in the lobby at 6:00 and drove about 10 minutes to the Wye Marsh to go canoeing or kayaking.  We didn't know what to expect but we had the best time.  About 5 people kayaked and the rest of us all got into a huge war canoe and paddled around the marsh.  We saw frogs, birds, a ton of flowers, and fish.  The kayakers saw a beaver which was super cool for the guest from Australia.  The weather was perfect for us to see and hear about the local history and the swan's life in the marsh.  The area has amazing trails for the summer and winter and if I had a school around here we would visit often to see all the animal informational sessions.

After the canoeing we came back and a guest had made a fire again in the pit and the some of us sat in the lounge gabbing again.  Everyone is very tired from today and some of us have headaches from working so hard.  Lots of people went to bed early or started packing.

Tomorrow we have a session 10:00 - 12:30 then lunch with final discussions to wrap up.  I have bought a couple of gifts for me, Megan, and my roomie who has been so fun.

I wish it was 2 weeks long as I want to be able to really remember what I have learned here and transfer all the learning home. I love all the guests and am so happy I came.