If you live in New York or any other big city you know silence is a rare commodity there. Non-stop sirens, alarms and honking, buses, trucks loading and unloading, the screeching hellish sound of subway trains pulling into the station, all conspire to create a maddening environment. Even restaurants! You'd think respite could be found there, but no. They're as noisy as ever. The cacophony of clinking plates and loud patrons with ever louder “ambient” music rubs on our already irritated nervous systems.
Sitting with a friend in one of those lately, we strained to hear and be heard as the decibel level of the place was going crescendo. Mildly frowning and nodding to each other, as if to say “I kinda sorta got what you just said”, feigning to connect, but really failing to connect. A pathetic and all too familiar scene. I have this recurring fantasy in such a moment that I am going to stand up and scream “Can't you all just shut up!” But I don't :) Instead I breathe deep, wrap up quickly and swear to never come to that place again. Which makes me think there should really be a guide out there for restaurants where true conversation can actually be had. True connecting. True sharing.
The Soothing Sound of Silence
Until that guide comes out I'm going to get some silence in Costa Rica. Just kidding. Well, about the guide part. Because I am going to Costa Rica, precisely to get a heaping dose of silence. My first silent retreat ever! I'm excited. And a bit anxious too. Because five days without talking is already a challenge, but it's also without eating! Well almost. Juicing only. I guess it has to be that way, it would otherwise be all too easy to shut up and stuff oneself. I am not going to suggest you go on a juice cleanse for five days (or even one!), unless you happen to be in a part of the world where it's summer. (if you're wondering why check out my piece To Juice or Not to Juice). I am going to suggest though that you join me in spirit with a daily practice of silence (aside from your existing meditation). Ten minutes a day for the next five days. It could be a perfect midday time-out or unwinding evening practice. See how you like it. Let it be a cleansing silence, bathe in it, drink it, feel it. And let me know if you can hear better afterward
Hasta luego amigas!