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Why I Take Silent Retreats

photo of trees

At least twice a year, I go on a silent retreat. Sometimes I housesit for a friend who lives in a wooded area where deer often pass by the window at twilight. Other times, I drive to the Dwelling in the Woods near McGrath, Minnesota, and walk among its 120 acres of forests and wetlands. It’s a soulful place that always rejuvenates me.

In a world filled with sound, speed, and danger, a silent retreat grounds me and reminds me to slow down, to discern the wisdom in the silence, and to get my bearings. Sometimes I sleep for long periods of time, especially when I’ve pushed my body beyond its limits. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I just watch the skunk explore the area outside my window.

Each time I take a silent retreat, I marvel at what happens. There is great mystery and great surprises that await me each time—ones I could never imagine. Sometimes I get inspired to write a new book. Sometimes I am given the space to think through a tricky situation. Sometimes I am just reminded that life is good.

All I know is that every time I return from a silent retreat, my soul is full and I have more courage to make the most of each day.

Written by Jolene Roehlkepartain.