I’ve spent a part of my summer fulfilling my dreams of exploring the Far East. While in Tibet, I took the plunge and committed to a seven-day silent meditation retreat. It was a rollercoaster of emotions and a journey of discovery that awakened me to myself in a way I never believed to be possible. Here are some notes from my diary on the experience:

Day 1: When you first experience silence, it’s lovely. Between frequently traveling and being a mother of four girls, silence is not something I get an abundance of. It was nice to bask in the peace for the first 24 hours.

Day 2: I was surprised to find myself in a complete state of anxiety and panic. Consider how uncomfortable a lull in conversation can be. Think about the times that it’s been too quiet, like something is about to go horribly wrong. The lack of sound haunts you in a way that feels close to torture. I was so caught up in it that I couldn’t relax. I also realized just how addicted to the internet I really am, despite my own objections. Resisting the urge to check my social media accounts and email was much harder than I could’ve anticipated. I convinced myself that if I could focus on my goals I could overcome it, but I went to sleep with the same unease that woke me that morning.

Day 3: I woke up feeling like today had to be the day it got better. I was determined to work my way through it. I remembered the power of breathing, and it turned what would’ve been an anxiety-inducing situation into a much more peaceful, spiritually restoring one. When I felt the anxiety coming, I used my breathing techniques to work my way through it. I still hadn’t achieved the peace that was my goal, but I was faring much better.

Day 4: Something amazing happened when I woke up on the 4th day of my retreat. I felt my mind shutting down. Suddenly, the thoughts that were overwhelming and anxiety-inducing the previous two days seemed to have melted away. I was further surprised by how easily I was able to stay in this state. My focus was on myself, in the best way. I could feel the blood flowing through my veins, the air circulating through me as I inhaled and exhaled. I began to recognize this as the peace I had been striving for this whole time.

Photo by Zoltan Tasi

Day 5: I never knew you could feel your soul speak to you, but I was more than ready to listen. I spent the day going on a journey within myself. I took the time to look at my life with a fresh perspective. It felt amazing to examine the inner workings of my mind and examine my expectations and dreams for my own life without outside influences. Here I could be my truest, purest self and reevaluate my life and take inventory of the things I want for myself and my family.

Day 6: The reconnection with myself had me truly elated. I discovered that dedicating time to introspection throughout this profound silence allowed me to open up to what makes me really happy. I started to connect with ideas that I hadn’t thought about in ages. I thought about everything I’ve done to this point and how anything is possible with my true dedication, which was easy to tap into with my newfound inner peace.

Day 7: As much as I was enjoying my silent oasis, I had to prepare myself to re-acclimate to everyday life. I had to figure out how I could keep this state of mind while going about my days as usual. I realized that I could use silence as my gateway. Whenever I needed to channel this state of mind, I would take the time out to surround myself with silence.

During this retreat, I realized that often we associate silence with negativity. Silent situations are uncomfortable. Silence can be a punishment in some situations even. But we must see beyond that and realize that silence is the gateway to inner peace, to finding your yin and yang. It’s important to find your silence when you can, whether it be for seven minutes or seven days.