I was in Arin just outside of Calca in the Inca Sacred Valley of Cusco Peru. Perhaps you might be wondering why I chose this place for a retreat. It is now, that my calling to be in silence between 2 moons must be, and I happen to be in Peru. The energy here was very supporting; it was perfect. This is not your controlled environment vipassana, where the routine and space is set out for you. No. This was about me creating one for myself.
[custom_frame_left][/custom_frame_left]I found this place through some friends we met here in Peru. It’s on the foothill of these beautiful mountains and valley with waterfalls, streams and plenty of opportunity to trek through nature. It was perfect. Enough to challenge me in so many ways yet not too far from the local town. I was to spend from the 29th of October to the 29th of November in total silence. Ok now, I know what some of you are thinking…lol
[custom_frame_right][/custom_frame_right]I suppose your wondering what on earth am I going to do for a month in silence. Well, it was a time to go deeper into my self and my daily practices. An opportunity for some healing, walk the earth, be with the stars, be amongst nature and listen to it more deeply. My commitment to further create my destiny needed a closer look you might say. It was time to let go of what I knew and who I am for the moment. To listen, connect and feel the experience of coming from a new slate from my new environment and silence. To see things not from past perceptions but through fresh new eyes. To bring a deeper level of awareness that only I can open the opportunity for. To embrace, explore and experience my whole being physically, emotionally, mental, and spiritually. To do that I had to open my self up for transformation. I had to surrender the person that I was and where I am going for the time being. Allowing my self to be in an unfamiliar environment, so I can feel the vulnerability with in me, feel my body, to breath it, without labeling it, without judging it, without giving it any meaning what so ever. Just keep feeling my body with breath and let new found wisdom emerge from within when it all was integrated.
I arrived on the 29th of October and got settled in and by that evening I was in my silence. It’s really beautiful there and it did not take long to relax and start experiencing nature. The mountains and valley had a lovely feel. I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. I made sure I had some writing material to document my experiences there. I had certain daily practices that I wanted to experience more deeply and some of the ones I learned in china recently. I wanted to just feel the energy and honor my strong commitment to creating space to experience all I can; not to mention my walks and treks through the mountains and nature. I had no idea how this would impact me. I was totally open to the new.
[custom_frame_left][/custom_frame_left]My first week in, and all was flowing nicely. I enjoyed my practices and allowed my body to soften into them and experience the energy flowing with breath. When ever I felt challenged, I just breathed and brought my self to the moment…that’s how I got through it. Whenever I expected more from myself and tried to judge it somehow, or think I should be somewhere else with it, I just breathed and stayed in the experience of the moment. My mind was thinking all sorts of things at times, so again I just witnessed and came back to what my body was feeling. I stayed focused on breathing with awareness and being a witness to it all.
Inspiration to write, insights, poems, photography and drawings just started to flow. It was beautiful. I just embraced and kept surrendering. Each day I did a walk, some shorter, some longer, but always consciously aware of experiencing nature in some way: the sun rises and sunsets were absolutely breathtaking, the streams, the trees, the mountains, the waterfalls, the clouds, the sky, the birds, the cows and the local farmers. I was observing and experiencing my reaction to all that and their reaction to me through my silence.
In my awareness and commitment to be in silence, it was interesting the first few days, when a person said hello in Spanish to me. It’s customary here to say hello in at least 3 ways depending on the time of day. If the men, women and children would say hello to me, I would start to think, “what do I do here?”. On one hand I didn’t want to offend them by not saying anything and on the other I didn’t want to dishonor my commitment of silence. So I found a way that was comfortable for me no matter what they thought. I would just place my hand on my heart with a slight nod with my head and greeted them with love in my silence. It worked well for about 99% of the time. The other 1% when a person wanted to keep talking to me I pulled out a card which I wrote in Spanish and English, saying ‘Estoy en silencio’ and’ I am in silence’, and kept on walking. As time went by it was really not an issue. A gesture of a smile, a hand on my heart or just walking by with a little nod, I kept my space and I witnessed their reaction as I walked by. I witnessed that just walking with an open heart in every step spoke quite strongly.
Week two, I was still there. Deepening into my silence and daily practices. Really feeling my physical body and energy more intensely now. From movement to meditation to my personal sacred practices and my connection with nature and mother earth, I could feel more strongly the energies expanding within me. The healing and insights that followed were profound.
[custom_frame_right][/custom_frame_right]One day as I climbed and sat on top of a mountain admiring the beauty before my eyes, just listening and feeling the presence of these mountains and valley, I felt this warm feeling in my heart. Suddenly this deep connection with Mother Earth I had never felt before. It’s as if she was talking with me. I just started writing and felt this deep emotion as if I became one with the her as she opened her arms and embraced me . I had tears roll down my cheeks. I look down to see what I wrote and the message was clear; we must look after this earth so that generation to come can enjoy its beauty, and for us now to see and respect her magnificence. I felt such gratitude. I felt her reach in to me that day and give me such a deep healing with many other beautiful insights.
[custom_frame_left][/custom_frame_left]I experienced so much from this day. I know in my heart it’s not about climbing mountains to appreciate life. It was about appreciating all of God’s creations with each living breath. It wasn’t just a cognitive knowing, I felt it. A deeper found respect that only an experience can give you. This brought more depth to a saying I often use. ‘I must honour the creation to honour the creator’.
End of week three! Big breath! It’s been a massive week of challenges, emotions, profoundness, healing accomplishments, energy, pain, insights, writing and love felt.
Everything is more intense, little sounds are loud as my body becomes more sensitive but stronger and the awareness richer on multiple levels. A deeper sense of gratitude of love deep inside of me with flowing emotions, tears and joyfulness. Realizations of energies deep within that I had held onto thinking I was strong enough to carry. It sure felt great to letting go of that load. I realized there is nothing greater than experiencing life to the fullest and when I compromised an area, thing or person in my life and said it was okay, it wasn’t okay. I also realized on a deeper level every choice has a consequence that carries a vibration and that effects my being and my next choice. I feel blessed in my life and even more so the last few weeks, walking up and around the mountains through the shrubs, the trees, streams and cliffs listening and feeling with every breath the earth, looking down onto the valley and mountains in the distance was truly remarkable. My body physically walking up and experiencing this energy within my whole body, the joy and invigoration has been amazing for me. There was a couple of times I almost screamed out as I was feeling this freedom and appreciation for the beauty all around me.
[custom_frame_left][/custom_frame_left]Last 9 days, certainly the intensity hasn’t eased of. My body is experiencing so many shifts. November 21st I climbed and climbed towards these beautiful mountain cliff peaks with waterfalls and 45 to 60 degree gradients amongst bush, trees and through a valley that took my breath away. A mountain with snow in the distance took my eye, so powerfully it stood, like a pyramid. The energy was incredible. I’ve been making sure every second counts as my good friend Julie advised.
I have witnessed the difference between being in silence with action and in stillness. I have just trusted and listened to my body and allowed the wisdom within to emerge and act from that place that serves me in the moment. Finding that balance of not doing too much of one thing or pushing too much in another area because I want to do it so badly. I found even with a strong commitment to achieve things I had to let go of the outcome and remain in the moment and allow patience and wisdom to lead me as apposed to my ego. This was certainly challenging at times. I had to be so conscious and aware and work through this on so many levels through the last 30 days.
I must say I found being in silence from the ‘no talking’ aspect quite easy some how, except twice I uttered a letter or two and shut my self up. It’s the impact of being in my silence with what I was doing and the environment that opened up to the challenges and profoundness of my experiences. It allowed me to go deeper into witnessing and healing in areas of my life that I would not have seen or felt and manage to shift in this time of my life if I hadn’t done this.
There has certainly been some broken sleep with dreams, insights and deep processing and healing to say the least. One particular night, just after 3am the dreams and insights were so strong I woke up and started writing. Well that was a dumb thing to do as tears just started pouring out. No, it wasn’t really a dumb thing it was perfect, a massive cellular realization and my heart just opened more deeply to the truth within. Well, I couldn’t sleep and it was 4am, I had this feeling to go up the mountain and experience the sunrise in my vulnerability and embrace the opportunity of more healing. I knew there was more, I could feel it. Well, hours later and more writing, more tears and more profoundness. A time that shook my core and really woke me up in an area of my life I needed so much peace and freedom. Oh, the sunrise was breathtaking over the mountains and valley, by the way and yes, I managed to take photos.
Last 4 days. Into the home stretch! Sunday 25th my body just needed to rest and meditate. Just walked around the retreat, took a few photos, cooked my self a meal and took it real slow.
[custom_frame_left][/custom_frame_left]The last few days I have found a few new paths to walk. The first one I discovered was a beautiful flowing stream with little waterfalls over rocks. I decided to sit and just listen and the feeling that went through my body was incredible. You know earlier when I mentioned my body became more sensitive, well the feeling was like the water was passing through me and cleansing me. It really was amazing, so amazing I was inspired to write a poem about it. I felt my body so in tune and grounded.
[custom_frame_right][/custom_frame_right]The other was a seven and a half hour walk I did. Now this would have to be my biggest walk here and what a walk to experience. A week before I came across this stream cut into the mountain that lead to the waterfall to the right of the mountain. On the 27th November, I decided to follow it around the other way. So here I am three quarters up a mountain walking on the edge of the ridge climbing along side this stream. All of a sudden I come to a point on the mountain and I can see the valley from left to right… Absolutely gorgeous. I continue around and follow this stream. I have no idea where exactly it lead to, I assume another water source but where?, How far?, Will I reach it? And do I keep climbing?. Well, it just got better and better. A few more points and I come around the mountain and it opened up to another valley. So here I am these massive mountains around me. I am on a ledge of one. I have views of local farms below and in the distance where this valley V’s to a point, more rocky peaked mountains stood, unbelievably amazing. I was so excited, I want to venture on and experience more. So I did! What I saw, felt, discovered and experienced can not be put in words so easily. One would think I was a little crazy here.
[custom_frame_left][/custom_frame_left]The power of these mountains and mother earths magnificence called out to me so many times this day. I would be walking when I would just stop and feel this wave pass through me. The wind would all of a sudden pickup, I would just open my arms out wide and feel this force of nature. I would feel energized. I would feel the sacredness of this place. There was one point which wouldn’t have been more than a meter wide on this cliff and it was such an experience feeling the wind, the running water and the rock wall behind me and the steep drop below me into the valley. I kept walking experiencing the land, the smell of the trees, the horses and cows. I reached this point of the valley where waterfalls were at the foothill and of the peaked mountain. I see this small sign SAYWAPATA 3304. Not sure what it means but thought maybe its the name of this mountain above me. I started walking up a few hundred metres and checked the time, a little past 2pm. I was also hungry, so I decided to have some lunch and sit by the falls on a rock and enjoy it.
After lunch I realized going further up at that time of day wasn’t a good idea knowing I still had to get back. I had 2 to 3 hours to get back at least without stops and I had a feeling there would be 2 at least where I would need to connect with something. So I start to head back. Well I wasn’t wrong. I came around this ridge and I look up at this massive part of the mountain on the other side. I started to feel this powerful energy from the mountain. I look further and then to the sky above. Suddenly without thought, I dropped to my knees as I felt this deep reverence to what was in front of me. It was like I saw and felt the Grace of Mother Earth and my creator shine upon me. I bowed with humbleness and joy. I felt the magnificence in every part of my being to the core.
[custom_frame_right][/custom_frame_right]Moments later I got up and sat for a while and took what just happened in. Shortly afterwards I got up and continue to head back. Every step and turn I could see and feel the valley I couldn’t help taking photo after photo. Photos came out great yet it was certainly not capturing the essence of what I was experiencing. One last stop before I start my decent down the mountain back to flat land. I sat at the point where the new valley I discovered meets the one I came from. I could see the valley from left to right and mountains all around me. I just wrote and took it all in, in my stillness and silence. With 1 hour left of daylight I knew I had to head back, so I did, just in time to see the sunset of another day ending. More photo opportunities and taking in the experience of these illuminating views.
Last day of my 30 days of silent. I could not believe it was here. It’s gone quite slow and fast at the same time. It was a full moon on the 28th November and I realized my silence is coming to an end. What I have experienced and what my body will process will continue to integrate outside this retreat, with my family and everyday living.
This has been such an extraordinary experience of challenges, healing and profound moments that I would cherish immensely and use as another platform to pursue my life.