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  • Writer's pictureKatie Boyle

The power of silence - a week in the Spanish Pyrenees

The main reaction I was met with when mentioning my silent retreat this summer was surprise and disbelief. What no talking? At all? For one whole week?

I had no idea how much we seem to fear silence. Fear slowing down. Fear disconnecting from the outside world.

And at the same time we crave a moment of peace and clarity. We crave a break from the constant connection that technology affords us. A break from the constant demands on our minds and time. We seek answers about important issues in our lives. Clarity about relationships, careers and future aspirations.

Yet the peace and clarity we seek continuously escapes us because we keep ourselves busy. Always on the move. Always interacting and checking in with the people and the world around us.

Personally I find this exhausting.

As an introvert and an empath, time alone is more than just a luxury. It’s a necessity. When I spend too much time interacting with others and focusing externally, I deplete my energy. I find myself becoming more vulnerable and susceptible to taking on other people’s emotions and reactions, and picking up on other stuff that isn’t mine.

So, despite some slight feelings of trepidation, I was really looking forward to my silent retreat. I chose a place I had been to before – Casa Cuadrau, one of the most beautiful, serene and nourishing places in the world. I knew I would be able to rest deeply and feel safe, secure and at ease.

It didn’t disappoint. In fact, my week of silence exceeded my expectations.

It turns out that silence is a wonderful teacher. And talking is over-rated. You can feel a connection to others without saying a single thing. Simple gestures – a warm smile, a gentle touch, a reassuring nod – speak a thousand words.

My week in silence gave me the chance to rest deeply. To disconnect from all external distractions. To look deep within. To recharge and nourish my body, mind and spirit. To reconnect with my heart’s desires. To get really clear about what is important to me and what I need to live a life I’m proud of.

My intention on return from this retreat is to be more conscious of my own energy needs. More aware of how I use my energy each day. More aware of how, when and with whom I choose to share that energy. To prioritise rest and recovery. To make time to notice and enjoy the small pleasures that feed my energy – a smile and connection with my local coffee barista or the smell and sensation of fresh rain as I walk through the park.

If any of this resonates, and you too feel the need to better manage your energy, then I encourage you to do the same. You might not be able to afford a whole week away but the wonderful thing is you don’t need to. Just taking five minutes each day to switch off and check in with your energy level and what you need is enough.

In five minutes you can stop, connect to your breath and notice all the sensations in your body. You can bring your awareness and attention inside, and ask yourself two simple questions:

  • How am I right now?

  • What do I need to do for myself today that will feed my energy?

Really that’s all it takes to connect to the peace and clarity you are looking for.

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