The Diary of Dr. Sharon McDonnell

Aged 53 and 3/4

Dear Diary

A couple of months ago, my daughter asked if I would go with her to a one day silent retreat where we would learn the basic principles of meditating. I agreed, as it seemed a good idea at the time. However, as time neared, I started to feel a bit apprehensive, as I realised that this would be the first time EVER, that I would be silent for 7 hours, whilst awake!

My family and friends found it hilarious that I was even contemplating attending such an event. They were trying to predict how long I would last being silent! For those that don’t know me, I love chatting to people, even complete strangers. I was beginning to realise the enormity of this task – it was going to be tough. In fact, I felt like James Bond – MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. I dismissed everyone’s jokes, but actually, I did find it funny, that I had ever agreed to doing this.

A few days before the retreat, I received an introductory email providing a few ground rules. Here are a few

‘However friendly you may be, please show consideration to others who have chosen to attend a silent retreat by not initiating any conversations. As you drive into the retreat make the intention to observe silence for the entire day.’

It went on….

‘When you arrive at the venue, this includes the car park, there is no talking, so please do not be surprised or take offence if you say ‘hello’ and try to initiate a conversation and you do not receive a reply!’

Apprehension about this impeding event is now in 5th gear! It’s seriously starting to feel like an exam, that I will fail miserably. It gets worse!

‘Please bring a packed vegetarian lunch.’

Good God! They must have meat police at the event – I am not a vegetarian. Now in 6th gear! My emotions were all over the place, half finding it hilarious, the other half very nervous that I won’t be able to shut up, might start laughing and get kicked out! My daughter and I stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast the night before.

So to the day…… My daughter and I were both apprehensive and excited. Giggling like two little girls (think it was a bit of nerves combined with us finding it funny that we had ever agreed to do this). We drove to the middle of nowhere in the Malvern Hills, parked up outside a barn. Took a deep breath and went in….

Well diary, got to go, will update you on my experience, when I write in you next.