For as long as I can remember, St. Patrick’s Day was just another day to get hammered. Green beer, Irish Car Bombs, pints of Guinness, shots of Jameson – you name it, I was your basic party girl wearing kelly green while listening to Dropkick Murphys.
I decided to celebrate this holiday in a unique way this year: silently. I committed to being silent vocally. That’s right, no conversations with people. I also went off the grid from all social media channels, emails, texts, and phone calls. This social (and spiritual) experiment has been on my to do list for a few months now, since I interviewed MC Yogi and he shared his experience with me. Inspired by Ghandi’s vows of silence, MC Yogi spent one day a week in silence for an entire year. He best describes it as “recharging my spiritual battery”.
Here’s a break down of how it went:
8:45am – I woke up from a good night’s rest, ready to get my silence on. OK, this is it. The day you’ve been waiting for. Look at your phone to see the time, but cover the part where you would see any missed calls or text messages. I normally begin everyday with a 10-15 minute meditation, but today I decided to skip it. It’s a day of silence and I’m going to yoga later…that counts, right? I spent a few hours redesigning my website, writing, and doing some research on future topics.
10:15am – My roomie asked me a question while I was cooking breakfast. Why did she ask me a question today when she knows I can’t reply? How dare she speak to me on my day of silence?! This is totally throwing me off – I must reply. I answered her question, then ended up getting mad at her, feeling like she provoked me. This turned into a brief argument until I realized that I was mad at myself – not her. Just because I chose to be silent today, that doesn’t mean everyone else in my life has to do it, too. It’s only going to get harder when I see more people outside of my apartment. If you meditated this morning, that interaction probably would have gone differently. I spent a good ten minutes indulging in narcisstic, self destructive dialogue. You’re a failure. You failed at this experiment. You failed at your first human interaction of the day. You didn’t have to reply to her question. This is all part of the experiment. We hugged it out and apologized for not aligning our communication the night before.
10:50am – Reset. New plan. I will now commit to being silent for 24 hours starting now.
12:00pm – 1:30pm Yoga was an interesting experience. While this activity is often pretty quiet, today was a little different. Ola, my instructor, had the participants partner up for hand stand work. My partner and I guided each other through a series of assisted hand stands. How am I going to assist someone in this pose without talking and guiding her through it? How can she know that I support her without my cheering? Everything went fine, we helped each other get up into a hand stand and high-fived afterwards. Maybe I don’t need to be a cheerleader all the time.
1:30pm – When yoga ended, I went to check my phone out of habit. Yay! Three text messages! Dammit. I can’t read these until tomorrow. This sucks. Another girl from class began engaging in small talk with me about the weather. I smiled and nodded in agreement then walked away. I was so rude to her! She probably thinks I’m a bitch.
2:00pm-6:00pm – This time was spent cleaning, reading, listening to music, writing, meditating (finally), and getting ready for tonight’s festivities.
7:00pm-9:30pm – A few days prior, I agreed to attend a poetry reading in Brooklyn with my roomie. I ran into her on the Dean St. (where the reading was) I gave her the biggest hug – twice! I missed talking to her throughout the day. She talked to me like normal and I did my best to chime in with laughter, a smile, or a thumbs up. I want to ask her how her day is going, but I have no idea how to do that. Maybe she will volunteer the information. We got to the reading and she graciously introduced me to everyone with the disclaimer “This is my roommate, Tawny. She’s taking a vow of silence today”. Her friends were supportive and even asked me a few questions. How do I mime “blog”, “sober”, “tea”, or “spirituality”? I didn’t prepare for this part. I put my hands in prayer position at my heart to represent spirituality. I pretended to write on my hand to represent writing. I pretended I was drinking and tilted my head back to represent excess. I chopped at my neck to represent “no more”. One guy asked if this was a performance art piece. I laughed and shook my head. He gave me his phone and asked me to type in my website so he can read my blog.
10:00pm-11:00pm – We head back to Jersey City and decide to stop for Halal; she orders for me. I treat my roomie to dinner to make up for being a brat at breakfast and to thank her for being my translator for the evening. Am I cheating at this silence thing if I’m having someone speak for me? Next time I do this, I need to go out and order for myself and “talk” to strangers.
7:45am – 10:50am – Dammit. Why didn’t I sleep later? Ugggghhh……three more hours of silence. I can’t wait to read my texts and emails. I need to recap this whole experience for my blog. How do I put 24 hours of silence into words? I guess I’ll meditate first. Thanks to meditation and clear communication, my roomie and I had an awesome breakfast. She chatted along as I cooked bacon and we enjoyed a delicious breakfast – silently.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that part of me wishes I could have libated with a green beer or a shot of Jameson. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that walking by a crowded bar hearing people obnoxiously singing along to “Come On Eileen” didn’t make me a little sentimental. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that part of me judged the people in the bars, even though that was me just a few months ago. Luckily, the other part of me remembered that I’m far from perfect and I’m the girl with rainbow hair who chose to spend St. Patrick’s Day silent and sober.