Tag Archives: silence

Why Manzanita?

I just spent four days in silence.  Every year, I load up the car with warm comfy clothing, good walking shoes that can get wet, ample reading material, knitting, my rosary beads (the Anglican rosary, which I’ve been carrying around for almost twenty years) and prayer book, and drive up to Healdsburg.  To, specifically, the Bishop’s Ranch on the west side of Healdsburg, in the Russian River valley.  This year, it poured rain pretty much nonstop, a welcome saturation in these years of drought, for those above flood level at least.  I arrived at the Ranch around four o’clock on … Continue reading

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Listening, Reading, Listening

Write a blog long enough, and you start to repeat yourself.  I started this blog in April 2011 and have written about silence a few times since then.  As I sit down this morning to write the newest post, silence comes immediately to mind.  Silence, because I’m wearing noise-cancelling headphones due to the noise made by some kind of industrial-strength vacuum cleaner (or pump?) operating out of a white van parked beneath my window.  Silence, because I woke this morning to city sounds—cars, the bus.  There was a bird, but it sounded like a crow, and I found myself thinking, … Continue reading

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The Space Between

Last weekend, I went on silent retreat, as I have for the past eight Decembers, at the Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg, California. I mark the season of Advent—the four weeks leading up to Christmas—by fleeing shops and noise and email, by going inward, for a few days or an entire week.  Silence, of course, can have the effect of turning up the volume in our minds, of escalating the chatter of anxiety or doubts or second guessing—which explains, in part, why so few of us choose it on a daily basis.  If we get quiet, what might happen?  When I … Continue reading

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Sounds of Silence

A little over a year ago, I picked up A Book of Silence.  The title intrigued me, as did the premise: writer Sara Maitland traveled into silence of the most extreme kind.  She leased a remote cottage on the isle of Skye and lived there alone.  In the tradition of the early desert fathers, she traveled into the Sinai desert to sit in solitude for days (and a few nights).  She forced herself alone into scary dark forests.  She found moments of fear and anxiety as well as great joy and elation.  She encountered a kind of porousness of self … Continue reading

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