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counseling,  Self-care,  therapy

40 days of silence and solitude

A journey through 40 days of silence and solitude

I did it! I made it through my 40 days. And you are probably wondering what this all entailed. Don’t worry, I did not keep myself in complete isolation.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

40 days of silence and solitude. What was this all about? It was fasting on social media apps (specifically Snapchat and Instagram) and large social crowds. It was learning how to listen to God in the quiet, and being able to find peace in solitude. It was learning how to pray and meditate in my current circumstance- and every weekend of September I dragged myself into the woods to be in that meditative state. Of course, I didn’t have to traverse the mountain in order to do that. But it definitely helped.

And what did I get out of this? A lot of things. I can’t put all the details into one blog post, so bear with me. Anyway, these 40 days allowed me to experience goodness in the present moment, and taught me to find peace in the midst of the storm in my head. I learned how to be okay with being alone. It was such an eye-opening experience to set myself apart from a fast-pace world. I am a lot more calm than I was a month ago, and it amazes me to see where I am at right now.

Why did I do this? Because I was in the midst of noise; it was very difficult for me to hear God and the word most pertinent to my walk. Let me explain the antecedent to my 40-day journey. On a weekday evening, I was so angry at God and kept questioning him. Then I finally sat on my bed and asked Him, “what do you want?”. He held my heart and said, “find me in solitude”. That was the moment I decided I needed to drop a lot of things, at least for a while. Why 40 days? You can guess that.

Besides meditating, praying, and hiking, here are other things I did during these 40 days:

1) Along with the Bible, I read a couple of self-help books including the ones listed below. Check them out! They were very helpful to my walk.

Invitation to Solitude and Silence by R. Barton

The Untethered Soul by M. Singer

Out of Solitude by H. Nouwen

Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World by M. Williams and D. Penman

A little side goodie. Here is a quote from The Untethered Soul that I take to heart:

Talk to people because they are interesting, not because you are lonely. You want to talk to people because you genuinely like them, not because you need for them to like you. -Michael Singer

2) I optimized my meditation environment, especially when I was at home. Call me a holistic nut but I love essential oils, candles, and white noise- preferably the sound of a stream from one of my apps. Below are links to some of these items.

Essential Oil Diffuser

Peppermint Essential Oil (I love this one! It helps alleviate my tension headaches.)

Essential Oils

3) I spent more time with my pets and cleaned up their tanks more (yes! I have reptiles and I love them dearly!) Just simply holding and watching my babies keeps me calm…and intrigued. Sometimes they are little derps!

4) I journaled. And that helped me process.

What do you do during your solitude time? Please comment below!

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Psychotherapist and Associate Clinical Social Worker; emphasis on Families and children, and k-8 school systems. I love Jesus, my husky-bull, my reptile babies, hiking, and making music! In an ever so changing world, I hope to help you help yourself find some peace!

27 Comments

  • manyofus1980

    hi hannah! good job on the 40 days! I dont know that I’d be able to do that! I usually read, or write, when I am alone! I love both of those things! What reptiles do you have? xox Carol anne!

      • calmkate

        by speaking to about a dozen others who’ve also done the years to get there.
        Quieting your mind means able to control what you focus on without distraction, without all the constant mental chatter in the background.
        BUT it takes years of training under another who has also done it 🙂

      • floatinggold

        To each their own.
        I’ve never “trained under another”.
        And I definitely didn’t put my life on hold for almost a year to be able to quiet my mind.
        Maybe I’m a genius.

  • Sydney Michalski

    Hi Hannah! Thanks for visiting me at Michalskis in the Word! 40 days of anything God leads you into is always eye-opening, always brings a new understanding to your journey with the Lord! I am a wife and mother of 3, so I don’t have alone time in the usual sense, but I don’t miss it – I am often alone with my thoughts when I am doing various housework, and one of the things that the Lord has taught me to do when I am alone is to praise Him, simply praise Him for whatever comes into my mind at that moment…He taught me once that it’s the absolute best use I can make of any time that I’m not sure what else to do with – He put it in my heart as, “While you wait, praise!” I think one thing it has done for me is to prepare my heart in a foundation of adoring Him so that, when various attacks come at various times, I am rooted in the most proper of all attitudes, praise of my perfect Father in all things, and that helps with everything 🙂 Blessings!

  • Filosopete 🇿🇦

    I’m not Catholic but I think there is value in silence & solitude as practised by monks & nuns. God had parked me on a dune for three years, in a cabin set in a milkwood forest, with snakes, birds and feral cats for company. The spiritual experiences during those years were phenomenal. That was 20 years ago.

    Meanwhile have been more or less isolated, for months at a time, with similar results. Currently have been in such a retreat since around Jamuary 21 this year, 2018. The spiritual growth, also repairs done to my church-damaged soul is tremendous. Church gave me PTSD but Jesus gave LIFE.

    I have become jealous of my time with God, prefer to be on my own. As a recognized social media influencer, I did the #deleteFacebook thing first, then removed my very lucrative and frenzied Twitter account, one that was trending and growing at a great pace.

    And I found peace.

    • hannah.msw

      “Church gave me PTSD but Jesus gave me LIFE”. I love that comment. Glad that you have found peace. Thanks for reading!

  • Filosopete 🇿🇦

    In my experience, church leaves more victims than broken marriages ever could. I have seen marriages fail, families split up, parents alienated from children, people losing homes, jobs and business all because of the abuse, slander, gossip and manipulation by pastors. Especially in “non-denominational” churches. Not much is done to help these people and they fall by the wayside, many lose faith.

  • lindamowles

    Excellent post, Hannah. This summer we took a 65 day trip out to the western United State and visited numerous national parks, seeing incredible illustrations of God’s creativity and love of beauty. We were not in solitude, exactly, but we were away from the hustle and bustle of our normal routine. As I was describing the experience to a neighbor, he said “it was a spiritual journey!” I certainly can relate to your response to the 40 days. Any time we spend focusing on God and praising Him for Who He is, we can receive strength and calm. Also, thanks for stopping by The Ruminant Scribe. I appreciate your following me and pray that we can learn from each other on our journey with the Lord.

  • Brittney

    This was beautiful! Thank you for sharing! I loved doing guided meditations to prep me for my solitude. I feel I am better prepared to hear God’s voice afterward.
    I just did a ten day fast on social media. I learned so much about myself.
    Forty days! That’s incredible! Way to go!

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