At the end of January I took a few days off to do a three-day retreat at Silent Stay, a hermitage in Vacaville, California. It was an unusual choice for me – be alone, without talking, making my own meals, doing nothing for days, bookended only by the unfamiliar practice of meditation. But something inside me was craving a new experience – and some quiet! - and so I went. It was a very long, very fulfilling three days that taught me exactly how loud silence can be. The details are worthy of a much longer essay, but the upshot was that I was so so so ready to get back to work. I had a renewed, barely containable energy. So I came home and worked harder than I ever have in my life for four straight weeks.
At the end of February I was fully stricken by the flu. Felled into inaction not by choice but by ridiculous physical limitations. I stewed and sweated and swore. And then, five days later, as the fever cleared, I realized that once again, I was ready for full on WORK. Bring it. I felt smarter from endless days in bed. I felt motivated to do the things I could only think about doing while sick.
Here’s my point: we all have our rhythms that, if we’re lucky, we eventually figure out. I think mine is to work as hard as I can for four weeks day and night, then take a two/three day detox of some kind, preferable one that doesn’t involve illness. I know what you’re thinking – it’s called a weekend. But that’s a structure created to help us exist, not to thrive. Thriving is personal. I am grateful that I am starting to understand what that looks like for me.