I kept a journal during my silent retreat last weekend at Holy Cross Abbey. Here’s what I wrote.

Sunday, July 25

Morning at last. I woke up a lot during the night, again. Very intense dreams. In one I was arguing with my mom, who was telling me to get a real job. I said I loved having my own business. She said, “no, you must hate it because you’re always in a bad mood” and I was very offended.

In another one I was going back to work at BoardSource. I had a large, oddly shaped office that had a long table as its only furniture, besides chairs. I had brought many boxes of stuff to unpack although I thought it was going to be a part-time job. One of the boxes contained several pairs of rain and snow boots. Rick Moyers came to see me, as did some other BoardSource people, including Judy O’Connor, who is dead. Some people from high school including Mark Meadows and Trucle, and the comedian Wyatt Cenac, were all sitting around my office, oblivious to me.

I am relieved to be going home today.


Dressed, packed, finished with breakfast. My next stop is the outlets. Every silent retreatant goes shoe shopping after a retreat, right? I will read for a little while because I’m really into this book, then hit the road.

I am a very social person. This is just too long without a good conversation.

Post script

My conclusion about the retreat was that I really enjoyed about 24 hours of having time to myself to read, rest, and walk. It was a relief not to have to take care of anyone or anything besides myself. I didn’t have to answer phones or email or do work or clean up potty training accidents or any of the junk of daily life. I didn’t have to sit in traffic. I didn’t even have to think of what to eat. So all that was lovely. But I am, at heart, a genuine extrovert and it was challenging not to be able to talk with anyone at the retreat center. In one sense it was liberating not to have to talk to them, but I wanted to. 

The retreat center itself is well-run and a nice place to stay. I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to have that kind of experience. I think if I were to do something like this again, I would look for an yoga-based retreat center or something like that. I did a little yoga in my room, but I would have enjoyed some more physical outlets. I did love taking the walks, but the weather made it impossible to do that until nighttime. 

And the ridiculous thing is that very shortly after I returned home Sunday, the stress of regular life came bounding back at me with a vengeance. A monster thunderstorm knocked out our power and we were scrambling to gather everything we needed for a sleepover and camp and work the next day so we could spend the night at my parents’ house. Then on Monday after client meetings and a barrage of phone calls, I had an early miscarriage. After my eight-week miscarriage last fall and abundant research and a much deeper understanding of my own body, I now realize this is my second early miscarriage. The first one, last summer, I didn’t even tell anyone besides Randy about because I didn’t understand it and thought I was just crazy. So I made an appointment with a fertility specialist and spent this morning filling out 15 pages about my medical history. 

Saturday I plan to get a manicure and pedicure. Not quite the same thing as a silent retreat, but I’ll take what I can get.