So, last week I made the decision to take a vow of silence, for 24 hours.
At the time, the date I had chosen – that’s tomorrow, if you’re curious – seemed ages away and I have been pretty good at putting it out of my mind until now, but as the momentous hour approaches, I have to admit I am more than a little bit nervous!
Why, you may ask, would I put myself through what some consider to be unimaginable torture? Well, that’s kinda the point – because the thought of it terrifies me. I have always taken sick pleasure out of daring myself to do things that terrify me, because believe that when I don’t face my demons head on, they haunt me in other ways.
If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a limit. I will never forget how bad my anxiety got at one point a few years back, when I was so afraid of the world I didn’t leave my house for a month. When I finally got the courage to leave the property and walk a few blocks (to be fair, it was necessity that had brought it on; I ran out of weed and my boyfriend at the time wouldn’t be home from work to bring me some for many hours yet) I swore to never again let fear control me the same way.
While fear still plays a small role in my life today, it isn’t in the driving seat anymore. It’s that GPS voice who can’t pronounce Umgeni Road properly and keeps trying to throw her 2c in while I chart my own course, but that’s OK. When fear chimes in, it serves to remind me that I still have limits to break free from.
That being said, silence is a limit I haven’t tested yet, and I am curious to see what my limit even is. Anyone who knows me well knows how I love to talk, especially to interrupt, so this will be especially challenging. As a writer, I have a true love for communication and getting my point across, but as a listener… well I love to help, so I tend to dish out advice like hotcakes, forgetting that most of the time people really just want to feel heard. I also usually spend all day long blasting very loud heavy metal music, something the neighbours actually enjoy, fortunately (for them), while singing at the top of my lungs. All day, every day. So silence is going to be a HUGE shock to the system for me.
What’s the point, though; what do I hope to achieve from all of this? Enlightenment would be great but who knows how much wisdom I can learn in 24 hours? We will have to wait and find out. For me, I would be so impressed with myself just for pulling it of, that in itself will motivate me in the future to believe that I am capable of anything I set my mind to. Last year, I set a goal of climbing a mountain, and I did it – I climbed Table Mountain! This year, my vow of silence is my mountain.
Also, an opportunity has come up for me to take refuge in the coming months, so I am doing some intense meditation sessions and soul-searching in preparation for that. So with hours to go until my silent period kicks in, I’m getting this all out while I still can.
See you on the other side!