February 2016 update – My year of silence is now complete, and I’m currently writing about this beautiful experiment. I look forward to sharing with you everything I learned! Please be sure to subscribe here to be notified when the book is released.
Here’s how it all began when I wrote this post in October 2014:
I’m Jodi Chapman. I’ve decided that I will embrace silence, stillness, and inner reflection throughout 2015.
My soul has been urging me to do this for years: slow down, meditate, get quiet. Like many of us, I’ve been moving extra fast and pushing extra hard. I feel like I’ve been running on a metaphorical treadmill for years and years. I haven’t had much downtime – between working for myself around the clock for the last 10 years and always being “on” with technology. I’m tired. My body is tired. And it’s time for a change.
So why a year?
For awhile now, I’ve dabbled with self care – with bringing quiet into my world. I recently read journal entries that I wrote several years ago where I said that I needed to slow down – that my world was so loud that I was having a hard time hearing my inner voice. And I would make some small changes for a little while (such as try to meditate, not work quite so much, and make more time for reflection), but it never lasted. I always ended up back at my default setting, which seemed to be one of chaos and noise.
I received a wake-up call in July of 2014: my adrenal glands decided to take a vacation. They were tired of me pushing and pushing and striving and striving and ignoring every whisper from my soul that this pace was just too much, too loud, too fast, too frenzied. And so I spent months on the couch each day – having quite a bit of time to reflect upon my life and make some serious changes. I knew that I needed to live my life very differently if I wanted to feel healthy again.
I kept hearing a whisper from within say that I needed a year of silence. I’ve heard this same whisper for years, which I quickly pushed aside. Or I moved it to the “Wouldn’t it be nice?” part of my brain where fantasies spent their time.
Eventually these whispers would start again, and my heart would begin to consider that maybe it would be possible to do this. But my brain immediately would list why it wasn’t a good idea. I make a living talking to people – connecting with people – guiding people (which I love). How in the world could I do this while being silent? So I would shut it down and ignore it and try to continue living exactly how I was. But this message was persistent. And it started getting louder and louder until finally I realized that it wasn’t going to go away. I have been connecting with my soul for long enough to know when to pay attention, and so I decided to give it a go and see what happens.
I’m taking a leap and declaring to the world that I will be honoring silence for the next 12 months.
I have no idea what will happen during this time. I have no idea what I will learn or will experience. But I do know that this is part of my journey to get back to me. I know that I can’t keep up this fast, noisy pace. I do know that my insides are screaming for quiet and solitude. And I know that in giving myself this time, I will have so much more to give to others moving forward. My cup will be full. And I can’t wait to feel vibrant and joyful and all filled up again.
I’m clearly not a monk. I live in the real world. I am married. I have cats. And I run a business. So my year of silence will look very different from someone who is living in a monastery in Tibet. While I’m sure the parameters will evolve as the year progresses, for now I am saying that I will only talk to my husband, my mom, and my cats for an entire year. No one else. With that being said, this experiment isn’t about rigidity – it’s about honoring my own need for quiet. So if I have to go to the doctor, I won’t be silent. Or if I run into a neighbor, I will say hello. But I will do everything that I can to avoid talking for the next year.
I am not starting from square one with this. I’ve been working for years to cultivate a life that matches my soul’s yearnings, and so it’s already quiet in many ways. I work from home, and so I don’t have co-workers (besides my husband). I love being at home and rarely leave my loving cocoon as it is. My husband will do most of the errands and answer the phone and will run my online groups for the year. (I love him so much – he’s just wonderful!) I will still be in contact with friends/family/clients via email throughout the year, so I’m not going completely off the grid.
The silence that I am talking about isn’t just about not talking though. It’s also about creating space in my life – pockets of stillness that make room for inner reflection. It’s not about not talking to anyone while still continuing a frenzied pace of life. It’s about disconnecting as many circuits that are plugged into the outside world in order to reconnect with my soul. I want to have time to go within. I’ve had so many beautiful experiences with the spiritual world over the last few years, and I have found that when I quiet my mind and make space in my life, I make space for more of these loving experiences to happen.
With that in mind, I have already begun to scale back my work hours – the hours that I am “on” from about 80 hours a week to 30 (and hopefully this will continue to decrease as the year goes on). I have committed to disconnecting from the online world each night after dinner and for three days each week.
As I’m about to embark upon this new adventure, I’m feeling a mix of emotions. I’m excited to be honoring my own spirit in this way. I’m afraid because I don’t know what this year will bring. I’m apprehensive about whether this makes any sense at all – do I really need a full year? Is this over the top and truly necessary? I’m sad that I won’t be talking to my friends for such a long time. But most of all, I’m feeling elated and am filled with relief that I am listening to my soul and am taking this leap of faith.
I look forward to sharing this journey with you, and I would love for you to join me in whatever way feels right within your own soul. I realize that not everyone will be able to (or will even want to) be silent for an entire year. But maybe this experiment will inspire you to embrace quiet and stillness in other ways. Maybe you will want to take one day a week (or one hour a week) where you disconnect from the outside world a reconnect with your inner voice. Or maybe you will give yourself permission to unplug from the internet each evening to make space for reflection or put your phone away each morning to give yourself time to meditate.
Whatever you decide will be exactly right for you. I’m definitely not pushing this experiment on anyone. It’s something that I am doing for myself first and foremost – it’s something that I am feeling called to do on a deep, deep level. It’s my hope, though, that in sharing my experience during this process, it will give voice to others and put words to the urgings that they have been feeling and haven’t acted upon quite yet. I’m hoping that it will help shine light on all of our souls and help us embrace our true calling – whatever that may be.
I’ll be blogging here throughout this journey – keeping you in the loop about what I’m experiencing and learning. And I encourage you to connect with me here and share what you’re experiencing as well.
We are all so deserving of a life that nourishes us. It’s my hope that my journey will inspire you to look within your heart and give yourself permission to live the life that you most desire. You’re so worthy of that.
Thank you for taking this journey with me! Here’s to silence and stillness and solitude and soul expansion!
Hugs and love,
P.S. – If you would like to read my bio, please click here.