In August I went on a silent retreat, something I do at least once a year. This year I was particularly pleased to be going so I could get away from the news!
I went to St Bueno’s in North Wales. It is a spirituality centre set in the most beautiful grounds and with amazing views of the Welsh countryside. It is a haven of peace in a noisy world.
Your time there is spent in silence. Everyone moves into silence on their first evening there and remains in silence until breakfast on their final morning.
Once a day you have the opportunity to meet with a spiritual director for half an hour. This is the only time when you speak, it would otherwise be a bit pointless if you just looked at one another!
My spiritual director this year was quite young, and at first, I wondered if she had the experience to be doing the job. I was proved wrong and it showed me I was being ageist! She was encouraging and enthusiastic and I came away from the sessions feeling happy with my retreat.
I took a book with me ‘A Book of Silence’ by Sara Maitland. It is a wonderful book and I highly recommend it to you. She looks at the history of silence and also delves into her own desire for more and more silence.
When I told a friend I was taking a book on silence with me on a silent retreat she was flabbergasted and wanted to know why I wasn’t taking a novel with me. however, I really enjoyed the book and found out a lot about the history of silence and the power it can have in our lives.
I also switched off my mobile phone while I was there and found that it was so restful not to be in contact with the rest of the world. I spent a lot of time in the grounds and walking in the beautiful countryside. Being out in the gardens and walking in the country was therapeutic as was stroking the lovely little black cat that lives on the site.
The retreat provided me with some peace and quiet to recharge my batteries. I came away feeling thoroughly refreshed.