sweet territory of silence

Allow me to repeat.

sweet territory of silence

I wrote the words—sweet territory of silence—in my “system” for tracking and keeping ideas for books, blog posts, and essays. I even wrote to myself: This would be one hell of a story if I can find the words to write it.

Then I did. I found a way to write.

In 2017, I took a year off. A year that I called My Year of Separation. My intention was “to get away from it all” and to “remove myself from the rut that was my life.” Of course, we all know that did NOT happen! I never got away from it all and I did not remove myself from my life. How naive I was that I thought that I could!

As humans, we live in community with one another and need other people to stay alive. I wasn’t thinking of this at the time. I had recently suffered from a traumatic family experience, and I had just read Walden a few months prior.

I was dreaming that the idea of a sweet territory of silence and being alone was possible.

I ought to have remembered that even Henry David Thoreau admitted to needing people while he went out of convention and built a cabin by a pond, lived alone, listened to silence in nature, and wrote a book on his personal musings.

I was inspired by Walden.

Years earlier I had read A Year by the Sea by Joan Anderson. She too, left her “normal” life and went to live alone, in search of her own version of silence, I assume, and a way to reinvent her life. She wrote a book about her experiences.

I was inspired by A Year By The Sea.

I was ready to look for that sweet territory of silence. Alone. By a sea or a pond, either one, sure. A forest would work as well. I wanted this mostly so that I could hear my own voice. Also so that I could rest and heal. And like I said, to find a new path in life.

The cabin I retreated to was on a lake, the lake is steps from the ocean. In fact the ocean often crashes over the sand dunes and spills into the lake. I was, in effect, reenacting both Thoreau and Anderson. Instead of a pond and the sea I was on a lake near the ocean. Although, I did not really think of this at the time, how I had copied those that inspired me.

I was searching for the sweet territory of silence. A time for my brain to get quieter and feel more at peace.

I found my sweet territory of silence as I began to draw, college, paint, write and listen to my whole self. I ate when hungry, walked when it was time, slept soundly and often, sat and stared at the water or trees at other times—this sounds delightful right? It was, for a very short time.

The sweet territory of silence did not last very long. Not a whole year. Not even a whole month. I got a job, moved out of the cabin, and did all sorts of other things in my year of separation. All of the story can be read in the essays in my newest book: My Year of Separation.

My Year of Separation, book cover, written and illustrated by Suzanne Gibbs

An important thing to remember is that my knowledge gained during the year came, as the Greeks proposed: through logos and gnosis. I educated myself through mental inquiry and intuitive inquiry. I was, in effect, writing from my brain and my heart while allowing my spirit to guide each essay. I was living my version of an attempt at a sweet territory of silence—like Thoreau and Anderson—but in my own way.

Many changes happened throughout the year.

I continued living near the lake and ocean, but not on the lake, I moved  into town.

The book contains the story. My book came to an end, as did the year, and is now published, ready for readers. My discovery of the sweet territory of silence is not complete, but I am so glad I took and am taking the journey! We never fully shut off our thinking brain do we? However, in trying we can tell our heart spirit that intuition, contemplation, and reflection matters, greatly. Ángeles Arrien says this in her way:

In the sweet territory of silence we touch the mystery. It’s the place of reflection and contemplation, and it’s the place where we can connect with the deep knowing, to the deep wisdom way. ― Ángeles Arrien

I wonder how I found the words “sweet territory of silence” back when I wrote them down… I am sure they came from somewhere… from me or from Arrien, I do not know and I do not remember.

In so many ways the sweet territory of silence that I found and my year of attempted separation from self infused me with ways to seek wonder and beauty in everyday life. I am happier these days. I’d like to share ideas about being silly and finding joy.

And I will, another day, on another blog post—or in workshops, or you can ask me a question and I would love to respond.

Thank you for reading.

Note: I learned of logos and gnosis in the book: Crones Don’t Whine, by Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D.

PS. There are only a few hours left to get My Year of Separation at the pre-order 20% discount.

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