When I began this project, it was exactly that: an experiment that the sociologist in me clung to. “How would one’s life change if they dramatically pulled themselves back from the world for an extended period of time? How would they change? How would those around them change? What would they experience during this period? What could they hope to learn?”
Without realizing it, I went into this from a researcher’s perspective and was excited and determined to report what I found. I would go into “the trenches” and see what could be excavated – discover what would happen when we stopped talking to others and delved into our inner psyche for an entire year. When this project began, I religiously took notes about what I was experiencing. I set up a blogging schedule and posted frequently – sharing some of my breakthroughs and insights. I signed with a literary agent and began writing a book about it. I put on my observer’s hat and was fully prepared to share everything that I found.
As I began to dive deeper into the silence, however, this project stopped being a project, and I stopped being a researcher. As I began to slow down, the outward journey slowed and my inner journey sped up. I couldn’t bring myself to write about what I was experiencing while I was experiencing it. I wanted to savor this time and really soak it all up. So my posts became less frequent, and I began to shift away from being the researcher and fully integrated into becoming a participant. Living the silence, experiencing the silence, being the silence took center stage. Silence became more about my own evolution and self-care and less about the experiment itself. All of the external expectations that I was holding onto when I began seemed to fall away, and what I was left with was me.
I hadn’t expected this. Knowing this when I began would have stopped me from even starting. It would’ve felt too deep, too heavy, too much. My soul knows me well enough to know how to ease me in – making it an experiment gave me permission to dive in fully. I wasn’t just doing it for myself – I was doing it to research, to share, to report, to learn.
I now see that it wasn’t about the experiment at all. It was about me getting back to me – however that needed to happen. And here I am. Completely transformed. Completely renewed. In the silence, I have been able to welcome myself back home.
I had been so used to “doing ” and “performing” that it’s taken this much time in solitude to get back to my core and really remember what matters, what I value, and why I’m here.
While I never saw this experiment as a frivolous one, I will admit that when I began I had no idea of the inner strength and groundedness that would emerge as a result of it. It feels as though each month that I’m in silence, I become more firmly rooted to the earth. Before I began, I felt so weak – like a soft breeze could easily blow me over. And now, I feel that I have gently settled into my own being – for the first time ever.
I am learning to lovingly say no. I am learning that I have permission to do whatever I want and to not do whatever I don’t want. I am learning to focus solely on my own happiness and inner peace. For years, I tried to make everyone else happy and ended up making myself miserable (and physically ill) in the process.
I am so grateful to have found myself again – to have remembered myself again. I am so grateful that I said yes to this “silly” whisper from my soul to be silent for an entire year. It’s the best gift that I’ve ever given myself, and it’s a gift that will continue. I’m not sure how long I will continue the silence, but I do know that I’m not even close to being ready to come out. I’m enjoying it too much.
I recently heard Abraham-Hicks say that if it feels good, do it. And if it doesn’t, don’t. That’s become my barometer for everything that I do (and don’t do). I trust that I’ll know if and when it’s time to come out of the silence. For now, I’m having such a great time here that I think I’ll stay awhile. The experiment officially ends at the end of the year, and I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen beyond that.
I’m still very excited to write a book about this experience. But I have a feeling that it will be a very different book from the one I originally planned to write. It will be more about the inner journey rather than the outward impact. That’s what matters now, at least to me. That’s what I wish for all of us – to give ourselves permission to have space and time and openness so we can explore and discover who we really are. That’s what the silence has given me, and it’s been an absolute miracle.
Hugs and love,