Wrote about silence two weeks ago and then fell silent. In the interim I took a page from my fellow resident at Ragdale and held a day of silence myself. Carried a note pad with me for those instances when communication was necessary. (To those of you who know how miserable my handwriting is: I was very very careful so as not to be misunderstood or frustrate those at the other end of my pen!)
Day began fairly smoothly. Went to yoga, prepared with a slip of paper on which I had written, Observing a day of silence. My fellow yoginis gave me a hug and a smile.
Heading to Kroger after class was more of a challenge, even using the self-checkout. The carrots wouldn’t scan. Normallly I’d call over an attendant, but I was loath to bring out my pad or go through a pantomime about the recalcitrant bag of carrots, and thereby draw attention to this wierd dumb person playing charades by the scanners, dressed in yoga clothes no less.
I remembered a scene from the 1962 movie, Gigot, in which Jackie Gleason played a mute. I saw the film with my mother when I was a child. It likely wouldn’t have received a G rating had there been ratings back then but at six, I had no idea the pretty French mom with the blonde little daughter was the town prostitute. Nor did I understand the scene in the church where Gigot tries to explain the meaning of God and Christ to this urchin version of Madonna and child. What I never forgot was the scene where Gleason pounds his face with his fists, frustrated as at his inability to speak. I wasn’t anywhere close to pounding my face, but Cleason’s Gigot did come back to me as I departed Kroger sans carrottes.
The rest of the day, being a Sunday, passed pretty uneventfully. It was a thrill to be liberated from answering the phone. My husband was sweetly indulgent of this strange turn into silence his wife had taken and I was extra careful to exhibit pristine penmanship when “talking” to him. Some minor crisis or other arose that I felt demanded my input of wisdom. It was either write my way into the situation, break the day’s vow of silence or let Martin handle it. I chose door number three and went about my business.
The surprise Gigot moment of the day came at bedtime. Realizing I couldn’t tell Martin, “I love you” as we settled in to our pillows brought such sadness. Writing I love you on my notepad, I felt a deep loss of connection at not being able to say aloud those three little words. I wavered. I’d gone the whole day. I’d made whatever point I was trying to make. Why not just open my mouth? But I’d promised myself a day of silence and so I went to sleep with those three words fighting to break free behind my closed lips. I also went to sleep grateful that I could say them, shout them even, when the sun rose the next morning.
Lovely post, and a beautiful idea. Sounds as if you were enriched by the practice of silence. I’ve gone on retreats at a Jesuit monastery where silence was part of the program, the spiritual experience. I do believe we go deeper when we don’t speak. Sue Monk Kidd has a wonderful meditation on this topic as well.
Thank you, Cindy. I’ll have to look up Sue Monk Kidd’s meditation. I love her.
I’m intrigued and impressed. I would love to give this a try; I like the concept of peace and simplicity.
Give it a shot. Pick an easy day with a minimum of human interaction. I’m going to try and have one day of silence a month. That’s the next step… Keep us posted.