I think it is odd when one of my senses highjacks my day and becomes the lens for which everything else comes into focus. Just the other day I woke up and no one was home. Larry was traveling and Dante had already left for work. Other than my rather annoying pets the house was silent. The first thing I noticed was the smell and flavor of my coffee, then the beauty of the wisteria blooming right outside my window, and the texture of my perfectly boiled egg as I bit into the soft yolk. The shower was nirvana, the softness of my blouse like a caress, and the way my leather flats cushioned my feet was pure indulgence. It was like the silence allowed me to experience my other senses more deeply and with greater awareness.
I went on a partial silent retreat once when I was in my early twenties. It was an engagement encounter. Larry and I went to an old monastery somewhere in Washington. It was required by the Catholic Church to attend one of these encounters before marriage. Larry lived near Seattle at the time so we signed up for a retreat in the Northwest. It had a rigid format. We listened to speakers all day, kept of journal of our thoughts, and then after dinner we exchanged journals with our intended. The idea was to remain silent from dinner on, immerse yourself in the journal of your partner, and spend the evening in thoughtful reflection. But of course that wasn’t the way it worked out. Larry found a secret pathway to the women’s side of the monastery on day two and there went my opportunity for silence.
I wanted to stay in this extraordinary place of quiet for the rest of the day, but since I get paid to talk, I drove to work. I had to use my voice all morning but interestingly the experience of silence stayed with me. It was like a jolt to my anesthetized senses. Maybe the practice of silence is something I should incorporate into my noisy life. I can only imagine what Larry is thinking. Perhaps the secret pathway to authentic appreciation of ones partner is periods of silence and solitude. Who knew?