Over a decade ago a friend of mine told me about her 10 days in a silent retreat. She came home with a renewed sense of focus, drive and knowledge of self. She made it sound challenging and wonderful and I decided I wanted to give it a try someone. I found Spirit Rock's People of Color (POC) Insight Meditation retreat back in 2007 or so. I began trying to get into the retreat 3 or more years ago but the wait list year after year has been over 100 people. This year I finally got it and am so glad that my intro was the 20th anniversary of the retreat created by and sustained by amazing people of color.
So why would I want to take 6 days to be silent, meditate and give up my phone? Well, my healing journey began when I was 19 and it was 2001. I went into therapy, did retreats for women, support groups, trust walks, spiritual healing, changed my diet, therapy and more over the years. I also worked in non-profits and in private practice with people from diverse backgrounds in supporting them through their healing journey. I felt it was time to cultivate stillness, learn how to be a better witness and how to remain still in all situations. Sometimes life ask of us to do what we can and when we have reached as far as we can go the only thing left to do is be still. We have done what we can and we are invited to have faith that the rest will come. I, for one, have a hard time with that and knowing it doesn't always make being still better. I want to try and over extend myself until I have the desired outcome forgetting that if I just stood still an answer, a solution, a miracle could show up. There is also the fact that in my work as a healer and birth worker so much of my work is being still and bearing witness to others stories/lives. Birth can be hours of hurry and wait as the labor does the work needed. So much of what we are invited to do in a birth or in a life coaching session or chakra healing is to let go so we can allow what we long for.
The Insight POC retreat was 6 days and each day we sat in meditation, participated in walking meditation, did yoga, listened to Dharma talks and well ate. Day 1 we began our silence at 8pm and began to talk on the last day. For me it was such a wonderful experience to just sit with myself and my thoughts, I sat with discomfort, sounds around me of restlessness and so much more. I learned that stillness is as challenging as it looks along with being present. I learned that it will be different everyday and some days, some moments I will have more capacity than another. I got to take time in a beautiful place, with amazing people to just sit with all that was me and the people around me.
I would do it again in a heartbeat and give thanks to my fellow yogis, staff, teachers and the land for such an amazing experience.