Ahhhhhh, yes, I am an Urchin


Some might consider the act of being completely silent for a week would be miserable.  Some might even proclaim, “That’s a choice that an individual   would actually make??”  But do you know, that I have always dreamt of going to a silent retreat?  This perfect place would preferably be surrounded by rich deciduous trees and moss covering the woodland floor.   My tiny sleeping space would be light filled by using its two antique windows to spill the sun onto the clean yet plain  1900’s dorm like room.  There would be a single bed on the right side accompanied by a small desk with chair on the wall underneath the windows. The left part of the room would hold space for a small oval yellow pillow that sits on the wide plank pine floors.  For seven needed days, I would awake in the mornings and my initial action would be to sit on this mediation pillow.  The mornings would start off in silence and so would the afternoons, evenings and every hour in between.

Oh, yes, I would miss terribly, Delilah and Coraline’s morning snuggles and of course, Patrick kissing me on the forehead.  He doesn’t know that this small act brings me the most comfort.  My father used to do this.  I never want to tell him because now, it’s his act of being authentic.  If I tell him then it may one day be contrived.  Love should always be simple.

But! Having hours upon hours of not speaking to anyone and just creating this amazing bubble around me filled with possibility vs this constant act of trying to be heard or even the persistent demand of connection either with work, friends, or significant other.  So often we talk way more than we need to and we over-communicate to the point we may be hindering our listening skills.

What would you hear if you actually stopped and listened before responding?  I know, I may hear my heart racing or the pestering thoughts that remind me that I don’t have all the answers and so I better speak so I can drown those out.

A personality test was presented to us at work a few months ago.  A person either falls into one or all four of the following categories: the laid-back whale, the born leader shark, the life of the party dolphin, or the deep and thoughtful urchin.

Oddly, around the same time I took this very scientific test, I also had come across a TED talk about being an Introvert in an Extrovert world.  I giggled to myself when the speaker said how she wanted to bring books to family reunions.

Thankfully, I was two marks behind a shark.  So, I was literally an Introvert/Extrovert.  After further research, I found it was called an Ambivert.  It all came together for me!  Yes, I wasn’t wary of forging my way through a new town and creating my own community nor was I ever hesitant to stand in front of massive group of people and give a speech into a microphone.  Child’s play.  However, I’d much rather go a to a yoga class by myself vs meeting someone there.  I’d rather plan a day with my dogs with a new place to walk vs joining a hiking group.  What new sanskrit mantra can I practice for 40 days by myself? Where’s my notebook where I write down lists of wishes I want for my life and may never show anyone?  My compassion for others is easily touched and I am devoted to my friends unless I feel I need to move cautiously.  I am creative but dynamic.  I am purposeful but compulsive for change.  I looked back on my life and I saw the patterns.  Fortunately, I have a few of the shark tendencies to pull me from the deep mucks of urchin solitude…but I feel so blessed to have had my protective coating.

One day, I will go on my silent retreat.  I will nod to the chef in gratitude for the food he prepared and I will write down a wish list and mail it to Patrick.  I will carry out my pillow so to sit under a new blooming Oak.    With a straight spine and a deep exhale, I’ll let go of everything I feel like I have to say.  I will then sit in solitude and soak up all the silence I can and hopefully create reserves of it that I can spool out when it is essential.

It is in my silence that I silence the “what if?” daunting inquiries and the “what’s next for you, Durden?”.  Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, all you bullies.  There’s nothing I can say to you.  I will tackle you by giving myself uninterrupted time.

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