For years I've been meaning to take a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class. My aunt, who teaches it in California had offered to let me Skype in to her class, but it felt kinda weird the first time I tried and it was always on nights when I had my son. I didn't think I had the time, but she was right in saying that when I didn't think I had the time was when I needed it most.
I finally decided toward the start of this year that I needed to take a class one way or another, but living out in the Columbia River Gorge now the drive would be even greater to get to Portland. I was going to try an online class, but when I mentioned it to a colleague it turned out she was starting a class in just a few weeks so we could carpool.
The weekly classes have been helpful, but I have to admit I haven't been as good with the formal practices as I'd have liked. I was a little worried then as we approached our full day meditation retreat this weekend. I wasn't sure how I would deal with that much silence.
It turns out the day went way faster than I had feared. In fact, the guided meditations and mindful activities made the day go fast enough that I could have actually gone with even more silence than there was (not a lot more mind you).
I shut down my phone for the day, and had no sense of time. It was pretty freeing to just be told what to do and just go with the flow. In fact, the time that felt to drag on the longest was when we all got to talk about our experience.
An interesting thing I've observed about myself on a couple of occasions in class is that I feel uncomfortable with empty space in conversation. I also tend to get uncomfortable with empty space in my day. Not that I'm always productive by any means, but I often fill it with business or social interaction either in person or online.
My goal this week is to find that quiet place more consciously and often and appreciate the times without a lot of chatter. My brain has already slowed down it's chatter during the guided activities so my hope, with practice, will be to slow and step back to observe it on my own.