After my mother became very ill when I was young, she decided to do something dramatic to re-center herself: she didn’t talk for a week.
During that time, she did a lot of self-reflection and praying. It was a self-imposed “silent retreat”. She emerged from that week transformed. Yes, she was still sick, but she felt closer to God and had developed some mental toughness for the grueling years that were coming.
I’m thinking of her this Saturday morning. That is because I woke up at 3 a.m. this morning with a raging sore throat. And, I’ve lost my voice.
I’ve done silent spiritual retreats in the past, and my wife does one each year. I found the experience very difficult. I’m too much of an extrovert. But, my wife relishes the opportunity to go away and re-center herself amidst the quiet.
I’ll be silent today, not by choice. But, I’ll try to get something out of it. Already, not being able to speak has simplified my plan for the day. I won’t be going to an evening social tonight at my son’s school. I won’t be grocery shopping and in charge of dinner. I will skip the gym for the first time in a long time. I’m doing hand gestures to speak with my family, but am not doing it that often given the friction required to do so. And, my head really, really hurts.
So, today will be a different kind of day for me, whose days are filled with multiple calls, meetings, topics, business plans, etc. A VC’s work day (more here) is varied, intense and filled with a torrential amount of incoming bits of information. There’s a constant stream of emails, calls, social media posts and requests to process. My brain feels as thought it is “on” all the time. I love my job.
A simplified day. This will be a different pace for me. I’m eager to accept and embrace it.