At the end of 2016, I had been basically certified to lead COR Woman, but there was one more requirement left: that I attend a 5 day silent retreat to deepen my own personal growth journey. I needed to improve my ability to hold space for others in a workshop, to be able to show up in trust and in presence, and to be able to handle the intense ebbs and flows that can come up in a workshop.
Going into this workshop, I was terrified. I only did it because I had to, and because I knew I trusted Britta and Lee. I knew before I went that I was not comfortable with silence; usually, any time I had any ounce of free time where I found myself alone, I would find myself feeling a frenetic energy and a sense of loneliness. Because of this, I spent most of my life trying to avoid being alone with my own thoughts.
Instead, I would always try to focus on others around me. Whether it was on people-pleasing, or gaining others’ validation and approval so that I could feel secure in myself, or whether it was through work, where I would be constantly trying to produce and achieve, my life was so externally-focused that the idea of turning that focus inwards, in silence, without even a process to distract me, was terrifying.
But I said yes. And at the end of that silent retreat, I came to love silence.
Silence became a non-negotiable in my life
The idea of sitting in silence for a prolonged period of time changed for me, and it became a space where I could feel a deep sense of trust, of peace, and of ease. No matter what darknesses or challenges were present in my life, I had a sense of trust that it would all be okay, and that over time it would all pass.
Of course, I may have known all this mentally, but emotionally and somatically I didn’t believe it. Because of this retreat, I’ve actually been able to develop that trust at a physical level within my nervous system and in my heart. Silence became my chance to come home to myself, to actually integrate all these parts of myself.
Learning to face all parts of yourself
When sitting in silence, at some point you have to face all parts of yourself: the boredom, the isolation, the anger, the endless song lyrics that may pop into your head, whatever may come up for you. You have to just sit and be with it. When I went through that process and came out the other side, I felt so whole and integrated and accepting of myself, because I’d actually faced all these parts of myself.
I remember going in and leading a huge workshop with COR just a few weeks after this retreat. It was honestly the most relaxed retreat I’ve ever been at. It wasn’t because there weren’t difficult things that came up, I was just able to tune into something deeper, knowing that it would all work out. I got to plug into that “something bigger”, what we at COR call grace. I could trust that I was held, and the participants were all held too.
Silence is a continuous practice
Now, every single year I want to start the year with at least 3 days of silence. I did it before getting married, and I’ll do it before I give birth later this year. I know that 2021 is going to be a very intense year for me. There are going to be a lot of life changes for me. That’s why I’m going to this silent retreat, because I know it will be an anchor of trust for me, and it will be the foundation of my year.
No matter what waves come at me, no matter how much overwhelm I feel, there will be a somatic anchor of trust that I can always come back to and know in my heart and in my soul that everything is well, and I can actually face reality as it is. I don’t need to try to control reality, or change it in some way. I can just be with the ups and downs of life, and trust in the outcome.
If you long for a sense of self-acceptance, silence is a great gateway towards achieving it
If you need a miracle in your life right now, come join us. Miracles happen in silence. At COR we always say that silence is the first language of God, of grace, of whichever higher element is holding you in your life.
What you will get out of this retreat is deeper than resolutions. It’s deeper than goals, and deeper than meeting a set of external environmental factors that you think will make you happy. Instead, you get to come home to this internal sense of peace that then becomes unshakeable for the rest of the year, no matter what comes.
If you want to learn more, check out our website here: https://corexperience.com/.
We hope you will join us on our next retreat!