I didn’t actually choose to be silent the last few weeks. When I had the time to write and read blog posts, the Internet in Maine was like something out of the early nineties. I was on an island, and every thunderstorm or slight wind would knock everything out of commission for an afternoon or a day; once it came back on it would take five minutes to send one email.
Then when the Internet miraculously started working again I also started teaching again, picked up an online course that needed a sub, fast!–and I was spending all my kid-free time reading and grading. I kept wondering what I was missing over here in Buddhist Bloglandia, and one day I finally accepted: I’m not posting again, or checking in with Momaste, Bussokuseki, Amanda, and others, until I get back to Berkeley.
It was interesting, how difficult this felt. A few hours of work a day, that took me away from my blogging, while on an island Paradise with my family? Who could complain? And isn’t the point of a vacation to, well, unplug? On the other hand, I felt desperate to be blogging, maybe because, being on said island Paradise–with my family–I was testing my mindfulness at every turn, and I wanted that little piece of community and camaraderie to ground me.
I definitely felt conflicted, and aware of all these feelings like guilt (“I should be blogging!”), anxiety (“what if I lose all my readers?”), frustration (“fucking Internet!”)–fascinating. Finally I told myself that not being able to blog was perhaps one of the simplest yet important challenges of my new “Zen over it” lifestyle. I couldn’t post; there was no reason for guilt, frustration, or anxiety. It just was.
And so, without meaning to, I found…silence.
This morning, meditating, I thought a bit about silence, and it occurred to me how much of a good exercise taking a break actually was. While being away from the Bs (Berkeley, Becoming Buddhist, Blogs generally), I realized how important silence is, and how much, lately, I have been embracing it.
Now, I am a veritable chatterbox, and many of you close to me are probably cracking up at the moment (Right. Point taken). I mean, I have an ongoing case of laryngitis from talking too much. I cannot NOT process most facets of my marriage. I’m compulsively social. Etcetera. But lately I’ve been finding myself in a group situation and realizing, I don’t have to talk right now if I don’t feel like it. Or I’ll open my mouth to process something with my husband and think, I could skip it this time. Maybe I keep a revelation to myself instead of sharing it immediately. The idea comes to me and I think, oh my God, I could just…not…talk.
It’s a whole new world, people.
So this morning, after I’d ruminated on all this for a bit, I thought, wow, maybe I need to go on a silent meditation retreat. It just might be time.
Oops, I think that was a revelation that I shared immediately. But Rome wasn’t built in a day, right?
It’s good to be back.