Updated: Apr 3
Day of Silence
About halfway through the month, there is a day of silence. For one whole day, from sunset to sunset, we are not allowed to speak a single word.
While for the others this is a very strange and new experience, in a way I am used to not speaking. After all I have just come out of nearly a year of silence due to my vocal cord growths and operations. However, sitting at the table for breakfast with the others but not speaking at all does trigger me a little. I am fine with my own company, but when I am with others, I still feel like chatting. Often, I now realise, even to just fill the silence.
It does help that we are all in the same boat - that makes the silence easier. Isn’t it funny how we are almost conditioned to fill silences? How so many of us feel uncomfortable with silence? I spend the morning going for a long forest walk. I only meet one elderly couple on the way and instead of saying hello I give them a nice broad smile.
I encounter a deer on my walk and when I come home, I look up the meaning. There is a book on spirit animals I found in the library, which I absolutely love. Tribal cultures like the American Indians for instance, used to believe that every encounter happens for a reason and is an exchange of messages. This book tells you what the message of a particular animal might be.
I read that a deer represents inner peace, tranquility, gentleness, intuition, graceful action and self-awareness. Certainly all things I am currently working on. Apparently they have a strong spiritual connection, as they are aware of subtle energies all around them.
Deer are forest animals, seek refuge within the depths of the woods. This is very saturated earth energy, being intricately aware of the interconnectedness of everything in their ecosystem. They also have a very light, graceful, and quiet presence, lending to their airy element of speed, agility, flexibility and intelligence.
When a deer enters our life through a deer encounter or through synchronistic ways, it brings our awareness to the subtleties of life and allows us to slow down and feel what is happening in our immediate energetic environment. What a beautiful message that totally fits in with what is currently happening to me.
(From now on I will always look up the spiritual meaning of any animal that crosses my path in a way that seems significant. For instance, if I encounter the same animal several times in a day or if a very rare animal appears. Googling “spiritual meaning of…” is a great way of becoming aware of the message the animal has for you.)
In the afternoon of our Day of Silence, we all meet for a Ho’oponopono ritual. Ho'oponopono means 'to make things right' and is a kind of prayer or Hawaiian practice for forgiveness. According to Ho'oponopono, everything that is your reality is something perceived by your mind. Your connections, the people you know, are affected by your inner-self.
Ho'oponopono is an ancestral Hawaiian practice in which people get in touch with their anger, accept their errors (both are causes of disease for this culture) and work on them until their burden disappears. You apply forgiveness to negative thoughts and false beliefs. Instead of feeling guilty for having negative thoughts, simply notice them and respond with: I'm sorry. Please forgive me. You show gratitude for what you’ve learned through the negativity and feel love for yourself and everyone around you.
In Hawaii, in the ancient cultures, people would understand the community as one organism. If someone fell ill, the whole community would meet in order to heal. If someone hurt someone else, there would be no blame. They would heal the whole community, as everyone would take responsibility for their part in what happened. And that part may be, that you didn't notice the pain, desperation or anger of the person who behaved out of line. It is the community's duty to care for and look after each of its members, ensuring everyone's wellbeing. The nature and environment around them would also be seen as part of the community. I love that way of looking at the world.
We meet in silence and are taken through this incredibly powerful ritual of forgiveness. We all have to write down on little pieces of paper, what it is we need to forgive ourselves or others for. I feel the tears welling up and allow them to flow freely. It is so liberating to finally forgive myself for all those years of not looking after my own well-being, for not caring enough for myself. I forgive myself for all the guilt I felt. I forgive myself for all the negative thoughts I allowed myself to think, for all the hours I spent worrying, creating inner stress that prevented my body from healing. For all the years I carried my grandmother's sorrow within me, instead of just allowing myself to fully enjoy life.
We all gather around a fire and one after the other, we burn the pieces of paper. Our pleas for forgiveness go up in smoke. They are taken by the fire to be transformed, to transform us. Fire is the element of transformation. It burns everything to the ground, so the new can arise, like a phoenix from the ashes.
I spend the rest of the afternoon in meditation, doing visualizations and healing myself with Reiki. My ovaries, my womb, my throat. Creating the life I want to live and finding my own voice, speaking my truth will be my focus going forward. I know that doing this, I will heal.
A day of silence is an incredibly powerful experience. You gain a different awareness of yourself. It can, however, also be challenging. In the stillness, many things rise up within us, that we tried to bury, often for years or even decades. They rise in order to be dealt with, healed, forgiven. Once this work is done, we are free to be our true self. What a beautiful day! A day of silence allows your inner self to speak.