What I learned from my day of silence...
People in today's world thrive on activity and chaos. We very rarely have the opportunity to experience true "silence" throughout our daily lives.
One of the assignments in my yoga teacher training program is to practice a complete day of silence/mindfulness… Yes, you read that correctly. A full day, unplugged from technology, communication and the stressors of the outside world.
This practice is difficult, but not impossible. It is meant to be a powerful experience that helps strengthen our ability to be mindful, and encourage ourselves to seek insight and wisdom from within.
I chose last Saturday to be my [attempted] day of silence and mindfulness.
It was the perfect opportunity because Joe was going to be out of town and my dogs were scheduled to go to daycare. I would not have any distractions in my house, no temptations to talk…. just me, myself and I.
There is a reason why I wrote "attempted" in the previous paragraph… it did not go as well as I had hoped it would.
I predetermined that after saying goodbye to Joe and his parents, and dropping the dogs off at daycare I would begin. 10 am Saturday to 10 am on Sunday. Nothing but mindfulness.
$#!t… I really needed to stop at the grocery store. I was out of some essentials and would not have the opportunity to go on Sunday… No problem, I will go in with my handy little note that read: "I am practicing silence. Namaste", and if people talked to me, I will smile and (if necessary) show them the card so they didn’t think I was being an anti-social biotch…
I quickly realized that idea was out of the question. One of my stops at the grocery store was the deli counter… There was a twenty-something year old guy behind the counter, who looked less than enthused to be there. I tried, but without having a pen/pencil to write down what I needed, I had to talk. There was NO WAY that I was going to play charades and act out : "I need a half pound of ham and a quarter pound of turkey thinly sliced".
Ok… I will go 11am-11am in silence.
After returning home from my grocery shopping, I decided to do some Short Form Ashtanga. Thankfully, with the silence in my home, I had a really strong practice. It was definitely nice to be able to do yoga when you don’t have two large labs trying to do downward facing dog with you.
After yoga- I wanted to play around in the kitchen. I decided to make one of the raw recipes I got from the workshop I attended a few weeks prior. Anyone who knows me knows I love chocolate... so making brownies was a no brainer!
KITCHEN - 1 MELISSA- 0
After fighting with my food processor, mis-measuring ingredients and getting cocoa powder all over the kitchen, it was time to throw in the towel. In my effort to clean up, I pulled one of my kitchen drawers completely off the front of the cabinet. I attempted to fix it… and failed (Where is my "handyman", aka Joe when I need him?!). One thing after another kept going wrong, which was beginning to stress me out, the complete opposite of being mindful and relaxed.
Shower time. Thank goodness I bought some eucalyptus aromatherapy soap while at the store… for anyone who doesn’t know, eucalyptus is a great natural remedy to help de-stress, ease mental fatigue and relax (yes, I read that off the bottle). PERFECTION! Thankfully, there were no complaints about my shower, except that it had to end.
Next on the To-Do List: RELAX. Something I DO NOT know how to do very well. I decided to watch the documentary "Happy" on Netflix. (Yes Ivana, if you are reading this, I used your Netflix account).
Side Note: I will write more about the actual documentary later, because it was excellent!!!
With less than 10 minutes left in the movie, my computer died. My charger is temperamental and only works when it wants to. So the only way I could finish the movie was to watch it on my phone… I downloaded the Netflix app and watched the end of the movie that way.
Oh, did I mention that the pull string on my lamp broke when I tried to turn the light on? So now, my computer wouldn't turn on, and my lamp wouldn't turn off.
That was my silence breaking point... I was done.
I told myself "Melissa, you made a valid attempt" ...But for some reason, the stars were not aligned for me to be quiet. I kept trying to prolong the practice- but it was counterproductive because of how angry I was getting.
I decided I really needed to get out of the house. After a yummy dinner, I went to Partridge Creek Mall to walk around. The fresh air, retail therapy and interacting with people in the stores was just what I needed at that point in my day.
After I came home, plopped on the couch with a bowl of ice cream and TALKED to Joe on the phone. I vented about my day, and after sharing in some laughs about it, he told me he was proud of me for trying, which was very nice to hear. I ended up going to bed super early… ending the day/evening on a high note. Being mindful in my own way.
Everyone is unique. We all have different personalities, different interests and mindsets, and different ways of finding peace in our lives. Although I did not complete 24 hours of silence, in the time spent practicing, I certainly learned a lot about my patience and ability (or lack thereof) to sit quietly for long periods of time. Things happen the way they do for a reason. My series of frustrations that day told me that I was not supposed to be mindful, silent, or even relax for that matter on Saturday.
We need to learn and understand what might work for one person, may not work at all for ourselves. We need to own that idea and be happy with whatever life throws at us.
What have you done that has put you out of your typical routine and challenged your ability to be mindful? Comment below :)