A New Beginning

My official year of silence came to an end on December 31st. Part of me was relieved that I could speak freely again and part of me was sad that the experiment was over.

I just went back through my posts here and the frequency of them really tells a story behind the posts themselves. In January (when the experiment began), I shared the most posts. I could feel my mind whirling and my energy almost frenetic when I read them now. I was a hummingbird – flitting here and there – in constant motion in my body and also in my thoughts.

As the experiment progressed and I really settled into the silence, my posts about it became less frequent. I felt a shift between sharing about it to simply living it. My last post was in September, where I wrote about how the silence had welcomed me back home to myself.

At that point, I was having a hard time putting into words the profound shifts that I experienced during this journey. I almost felt like a translator who didn’t know the language well enough yet to be able to translate it to others. And so I stopped trying and just experienced the joy and the peace that I was feeling – keeping it to myself until I had the tools to share about it with others.

I’m still in that space, to be completely honest. While I am still the same person that I was when I began the experiment, I feel that I have experienced a rebirth where I am seeing every single part of my life and part of the world through new eyes. It’s such a magical experience, and I am setting aside time to write about it – to allow the words to flow as they come. I’m putting all of these thoughts into a book that I look forward to sharing just as soon as it’s finished.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to settle into this new version of me – the version that I always knew was there but that I had veered so far away from by being busy and running away from myself and putting others’ needs before my own and doing instead of being and going instead of being still. It’s an adjustment coming back into a world of speaking again, and I’m giving myself permission to ease in and not rush it. I trust that I’ll know when the time is right when I will speak freely again. But one thing that I know for sure is that I will never go back to how I was living before this experiment began: frenzied, overwhelmed, unbalanced, on all of the time, pushing myself, and forgetting to listen to my soul and to my body.

For now, I’ll continue to enjoy this space of just soaking up this entire experiment, allowing it to seep into every part of me. And I’m so looking forward to what’s to come. My life will never again be the same because of this silence experiment, and I’m so, so grateful that I listened to my soul and said yes to it.

There truly is so much wisdom for each of us within the silence.

Hugs and love,

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P.S. – If you would like to be notified when my book about this experiment comes out, please click here to subscribe. (You’ll receive a free guided meditation, too!)

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I am currently writing a book about what I learned during my year of silence, and I would love to share it with you when it comes out! To sign up to be notified, please enter your name and email below and click on the Subscribe button. You'll also receive my guided meditation for free!

Day 261: Welcome Home

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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,

jodi signature copy

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I am currently writing a book about what I learned during my year of silence, and I would love to share it with you when it comes out! To sign up to be notified, please enter your name and email below and click on the Subscribe button. You'll also receive my guided meditation for free!

Day 174: A Loving Gift

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Wow. I’m just a few days from being halfway through this silence experiment.

To be completely honest, when it began I saw it almost as a cross that I needed to bear. I had likened it to a punishment that I had to endure after years of not listening to my soul. This was my atonement – how I would once and for all clear any karmic debt between the two of us and get back in my soul’s good graces again. So I reluctantly accepted my fate much like a bratty child who was being chastised would: with my metaphorical arms crossed over my chest – firmly planted in my “I’m going to do this because I said I would, but I’m certainly not going to like it” stance. I was prepared to go through the motions and just get it over with already, but I certainly wasn’t going to enjoy it.

And now, after just six months, I (thankfully) see this entire experiment as something completely different. I am no longer kicking and screaming my way through it. I am no longer longing for it to end. I am no longer angry at my soul for asking me to do this. I am no longer angry at myself for getting to a place where something so drastic was necessary. I no longer see this entire year as a punishment for bad past behaviors and habits. I now see all of it as the most beautiful gift that I’ve ever been given and that I’ve ever given myself.

This shift certainly didn’t happen overnight. It’s actually been quite a journey to get here. But there’s something about being silent for months on end that will take you underneath all of the bullshit that keeps you from connecting with your truth – all of the beliefs and doubts and barriers that you (for whatever reason) assigned utmost importance to will start to unravel and dissolve. And what you’re left with is the truth – your truth. You’re left looking at yourself in the mirror of your life with absolutely nothing standing between you and you. And you can choose to either keep your eyes closed and refuse to look within or open your eyes and discover what’s always been there waiting for you to see.

After squeezing them shut for a long, long time, this experiment has helped me to open my eyes again – to see the world through a lens that is aligned with my soul and aligned with the universe (rather than the scratched-up and cloudy lens that I had been looking through before). Anger and resistance are being replaced by love and openness. For the first time in a very long time, I am experiencing extended moments of peace and happiness. And for the first time in a very long time, I fully expect this shift to continue and expand as I continue to embrace silence, stillness, and my own truth.

The person who began this experiment and the person I am now are no longer the same. I have reached the point of no return where I can’t go back to how I was before. I have experienced too much. I have learned too much.

Looking back years from now, I know that I will see this experiment as the catalyst that led me home. I can feel myself getting closer to that destination each day. I feel myself feeling stronger in my own being and stronger in my place in this world. And I can feel that I’m only just beginning – that this will be a lifetime of discovery and growth, which feels so exciting to me.

So no, this wasn’t a punishment. It was a gift – a gift from my soul to me. I gift that I now lovingly accept with endless gratitude.

 

Hugs and love,

jodi signature copy

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I am currently writing a book about what I learned during my year of silence, and I would love to share it with you when it comes out! To sign up to be notified, please enter your name and email below and click on the Subscribe button. You'll also receive my guided meditation for free!

Day 69: Consciously Disconnecting

make choices

I love technology. I’m a writer, blogger, and I run an online business. Technology has allowed me to live the life that I currently live. As long as I have a computer and an internet connection, I can live anywhere and work anywhere. I love the freedom that technology brings to my life. But it’s only in the last few months that I’ve seen just how big of a role this connection had in my needing a year of silence. 

Before this silence began, I was completely connected to technology and completely frazzled. What started out as a love affair where we couldn’t get enough of each other became an unhealthy addiction where I felt miserable, unfulfilled, but didn’t know how to get out.

Like many, I was on the computer and online from the time I woke up until I dropped into bed at night. I crawled out of bed each morning and would start emailing people back in a still half-asleep state. (I wonder if they made any sense at all?) I had my email set to pop up on my computer any time a new message came in, and considering I received hundreds of emails a day, it was always alerting me. I had Facebook always open so that I would flip between the tabs to check every few minutes if there was a new message or notification. The phone’s ringer was always on, and so any time it rang, I would jump up to answer it.

There were very few boundaries, and I felt like I was becoming a slave to technology. Like I mentioned above, I loved how I had a business because of it. I loved connecting with others around the world because of it. But I felt like I was at the mercy of it – that I had no control over it. I was absolutely exhausted, but I didn’t know how to take myself out of what had come to feel like a force-field that continued to pull me in.

The more I talked about this with others, the more I realized I wasn’t alone. Friends shared that they slept with their phone beside their bed so they could check it in the middle of the night. They admitted to feeling naked or incomplete if they didn’t have it next to them at all times. I noticed that reality stars on TV carried several phones with them at a time so they would be able to chat while still checking email and social media. I would Skype with friends who would be talking to me while typing into their phone and watching TV at the same time.

Here are some recent statistics that demonstrate how truly connected we all are:

Arianna Huffington shared a startling statistic in her new book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder. She wrote that the average smartphone user checks their phone every 6.5 minutes, which is 221 times per day.

Radicati recently reported that the average number of emails sent and received each day was 121.

In his recent book The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere, Pico Iyer shared how researchers found that it takes about 25 minutes to recover from a phone call. The average person receives a call every 11 minutes, which means we never full recover from all of the interruptions.

No wonder I was tired! Like many of us, I was so connected to technology and gadgets that I had lost a lot of my connection to myself. I never went outside because I didn’t feel like I had the time to. I never stopped working unless I absolutely had to because I was hungry or completely exhausted. I had completely lost sight of why I was doing any of this and why any of it mattered. I was in a technology coma and wasn’t sure how to come out of it.

That’s where the silence helped. By slowing down and getting still, I was able to pull back and gain some perspective on how I was living my life. I was able to see what needed to change in order to feel happy and more alive and connected to my own soul and to the universe.

And so, several months ago, I began taking (what I considered) drastic measures to reclaim my life and allow technology to work for me rather than the other way around. I started by turning the phone’s ringer off and checking messages just a couple times per day. I unsubscribed from almost every newsletter in order to completely clear out my inbox. I used to wake up and immediately feel overwhelmed by all of the email that I needed to read. Now, I know that the email that comes in is directly to me, and I am able to sift through it much more quickly. I close my email program and only open it when I am consciously going to respond to emails. I bought a program called Antisocial, which allows me to block certain sites for certain periods of time. This has really helped me not have Facebook open while I’m writing – I definitely get a lot more done this way! I now take at least two hours each day after lunch to step away from social media and email and allow myself “open time.” This means that I can do whatever my soul wants me to do: read, nap, write, space out, go outside… the possibilities are endless! I stopped working after dinner and committed to not checking social media sites or email at all after that. I committed to taking three days per week off completely from all email and social media, which gives me time to recharge.

These measures have already helped me immensely. I feel like I am getting my life back. I feel human again. I feel like myself again. And I feel like my relationship with technology has become more balanced and less chaotic and exhausting. While I’m still in the midst of implementing these changes and sticking with them, I can already say that I can see the benefit of staying the course and continuing to listen to my soul when it asks me to unplug. I just don’t think we’re meant to be this connected with all of our gadgets – it takes time away from us plugging into our soul. This time in silence is helping me sort of hit my life’s reset button (technology pun not intended), which feels really amazing and definitely worth staying conscious of and continuing in whatever ways feel right.

Hugs and love,

jodi signature copy

Free Reconnecting with Your Soul Guided Meditation!
I am currently writing a book about what I learned during my year of silence, and I would love to share it with you when it comes out! To sign up to be notified, please enter your name and email below and click on the Subscribe button. You'll also receive my guided meditation for free!