December 1, 2015 was the 1st day of continuous live online practices. On December 1, 2017 we celebrated with a 24 hour silence retreat. A more accurate name would be a Silent Kindness Retreat.
I encouraged everyone to use this opportunity for silence and guided practice in a way that really worked for them and to be flexible, checking in with themselves throughout the retreat. We begin with setting an intention that is practical and honors where we are at in our life and practice. There are benefits every time we relax our body, when we breathe more deeply for a few minutes or stand outside and enjoy the warmth of sun on our face.
Life isn’t all or nothing! It doesn’t work that way, especially when it comes to our relationship with ourselves, kindness and self-care. Some people committed to 24 hours of silence. Some came to all of the sessions. Some to a few. Everyone can dip in at their leisure through the retreat recordings.
People write a lot about discipline and goals and there is a place for that. There can be a sluggishness and apathy that sets in and we numb out with too much time on screen. Setting an intention and following through helps us break through and we feel more alive. That’s a good thing!
We need to balance our firm intention with kindness. Many people are quite aggressive and judgmental internally. We make grandiose plans and shame ourselves when we don’t follow through. It is no wonder we want to escape and distract ourselves from our thoughts.
There is a tipping point when we realize we don’t have to avoid our feelings. Even painful sensations aren’t here to hurt us. We begin to trust ourselves and welcome whatever is arising in us. Kindness is essential and available to us all.