USELESS. That pretty much describes how this week’s day of silence went. I actually lost track of how many times I talked. It was so bad that I didn’t even realize I was talking until I was well into my second complete sentence! UGH… So what went wrong?
Day off? CHECK
Remote location? CHECK
Limited social interaction? CHECK
Mindless activity and zero pressure? CHECK
Seven weeks of silence training under my belt? CHECK
SO WHAT THE…..?
All I can figure out is that this was the first time I had practised a day of silence while also spending the entire day with my dad. Of course, it got me thinking about why my dad being around would rattle me so much as to completely throw me off my game. I’d been doing so well!
I’ve been the proverbial black sheep of my family for as long as I can remember. I can vividly recall the first time my father said he was proud of me. Probably because it wasn’t that long ago. I put my parents through hell for so many years. Mom died before I had the chance to show her I could be good at something. Dad is 83 now and the reality is, he won’t be part of my life for much longer. I’m terrified of screwing up and putting on that black sheepskin one more time before he’s gone. I know he doesn’t quite understand why I’m “practising” silence. It must seem so foreign to this hardworking farm boy who values integrity, honour and sweat. My poor dad raised a daughter who made all the right moves and is settled and successful – and adopted a son who keeps doing “weird’ stuff like going blind for the last week of Lent (a few years back) and not talking for a day a week in preparation for 2 months of silence! WHO DOES THAT?
I used to have a friend that tried to get me to practice “Non-Judgmental Compassionate Self Awareness”. I discovered that this might actually be one of my biggest hurdles in life. That stuff is hard for a boy who still seeks his father’s approval – a man he respects far more than any other, let alone the man he sees in the mirror each day.
The best part of my supposed day of silence was when someone trying to sell me something approached me at a gas station. The guy started his sales job about 25 feet away from where I was pumping gas. I was NOT in the mood. So I pretended to be deaf. I ignored him until he got right in front of my face, at which point I decided to throw down some fake sign language. (Yup – I’m going to Hell!) The dude still kept talking to me! While he was explaining how awesome his product was, I tried to look even “more deaf”. (I want you to imagine what “looking more deaf” might look like. Okay, now YOU’RE going to Hell!) What I really wanted to say was, “DUDE! WHAT PART OF ‘I’M DEAF’ DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?” Eventually I just shook my head “no” and he walked away. However, just as he walked behind me he said, “Hope you have a nice weekend sir.” I ALMOST turned to him to say thanks. Almost!
Spiritual Benefit During My 8th Day Of Silence = Minus 2.5/10
(Here’s a pic of my dad from my day of silence. I couldn’t talk with him so I decided to capture him forever, sitting on the porch at the cottage, looking out over the lake where my mom used to sit.)