A short exercise in silence: a quiet afternoon.
Come to something a bit different on Sunday 1st September from 3pm to 5pm here at El Parral. Many friends have enjoyed a relaxing afternoon here sharing a barbecue or a paella – and we will do that again soon – but I would like to offer something different.
For me, the best thing about my home in this valley is the silence, and I would like to share that with you. So often when I have friends visiting, I say to them that the best thing about El Parral is the silence, but of course there’s no opportunity to experience that when you are being sociable!
Years ago I was involved in running directed silent retreats in Dorset and Worcestershire, and in Saint Martin du Canigou in the Pyrenees, a mountain-top monastery where we welcomed guests to enjoy the silence; also the Taizé Community in Burgundy where many opt for silence and enjoy an island of peace within a teeming encampment of several thousand visitors: such an amazing contrast.
So, I have experience in welcoming people into a user-friendly silence. For some of you, it is time to go back to work and the holidays are over. What better than spending a short time in quiet reflection? Maybe you want to catch up with two more chapters of that book you were trying to read, but didn’t find time to continue? Bring it with you. I offer the silent environment: you decide what you want to do in it.
(I’m going to read a chapter or two of my book on the prehistoric rock paintings of Alicante during the silence.)
The shape of the afternoon
If you have never been on a silent retreat this will be a taster, and an easy two-hour period that you can manage, stepping in at 3pm and out at 5pm. If you have been on a silent retreat, then you’ll know the benefits and will step into it for a short time and find it refreshing. The timing is to enable you to arrive after your lunch – a little before 3pm – and leave after 5pm to begin whatever Sunday evening plans you have. There will be cold soft drinks available from 3pm and at 5pm we will end the silence and have some tea. Whatever you do in the shared silence is entirely up to you: look at the landscape, sit in the sun, read, take photographs.
I am entirely prepared to be sitting here on Sunday 1st September from 3pm on my own in the silence. I usually am anyway! And I will enjoy my tea at 5pm. So I am not going to be at all disappointed if nobody shows up, but if three people come, or fifteen people, whatever… I’ll take it as it comes. This is very much an experiment but I can guarantee you it will be as rewarding as any social event and a guaranteed stress-buster!
RSVP would be very helpful – so I can plan seating soft drinks, tea, biscuits and cake accordingly – and you may reply by Whatsapp, a comment on this blog post below, or text to 622 790 009. Phone calls don’t work well as I have very little phone signal… and that is precisely why this place is great for silence!