“A retreat is a time to come home inside yourself, where the mind stops and silence of the heart begins.” – Ruth Davis

Daughter. Wife. Partner. Mommy. Sister. Friend. Student. Teacher. Employee. Bawse.  You play many roles, and wear a variety of costumes over the course of a day… over the course of your life.  But who is it that dons these masks? Behind the BB cream, underneath that gorgeous, hooded duster, balanced atop those nude red bottoms, beyond the concept you currently hold of yourself,  there’s a stillness, a presence.  Can you feel it?
“The simple presence is the quiet witness to our entire life. Love’s presence in the silence knows who we are even when we do not know ourselves.  This love has already accepted every part of us that we have yet to accept, it loves every part of us we have yet to embrace.”- Dr. Bruce Davis, founder of Silent Stay Retreat 
Knowing the “love in the silence” is real Self-love, true Self-care– and you deserve nothing less!  You owe it to yourself to remember and consciously connect with this deeper, and more essential YOU. And it can only be noticed right now, right where you are. If you’re already home, and you want to go home, what do you have to do?  How do you get there? NOTHING.  You just open your eyes and know the truth. This Presence is here, now. You just can’t feel it because your mind is covering it up. And that’s where a silent retreat may be useful– it’ll accent the outer silence to make the inner silence more apparent, which quiets the body, which quiets the mind, and when the mind is still, you can feel the inner beauty… the presence.  And in that moment you realize you were always, already home, no matter where you are,  or how far you wander. 
I just came off of a 4-day silent retreat, on a private, gated estate, in the rolling hills of Northern California.  I had my husband Gene, my cousin PJ, and the two winners from my #BeHerNow Challenge in tow.  I put my phone away, placing it on airplane mode– only using it to take pictures on occasion, or to type notes to communicate with folks in the house whenever necessary, without breaking the silence. Unplugging from social was a big part of this for me, and I never once felt compelled to check it!  
I told Gene (and crew) in the Uber on the way up the mountain, “don’t look at me, don’t try to talk to me, don’t touch me! I don’t exist to y’all! LOL!”  They respected that (mostly) and we all did our own thing. I ate minimally, drank tons of water and green juice, attended the mandatory twice-a-day guided meditations, took long, hot showers, enjoyed an insightful one-on-one meditation session with co-founder Ruth, ugly cried cleansing tears, and just generally found myself ‘lost in Love’.  I also meditatively walked the acres of stunning views, sipped organic teas with honey from bees kept on site, ran from said bees on many occasions, and read books from the extra thorough library.  Founder of Silent StayDr. Bruce says, “as awareness rests in the heart, an indescribable joy from within unfolds…”, and truer words were never spoken.

A great teacher of our time, Dr. Bruce!

I had stumbled upon this effortless subtle-joy, back in 2015 just before my bestie, Grandma Maxine, transitioned.  I was with her when she took her last breath,  and was tremendously thankful that, as grief descended, there was also a palpable peaceful-joy present in the background.  Without that sense of deep ‘okayness’ I would’ve been utterly broken.  I knew I had found something precious, so over the next couple of years, I nurtured this inner peace with attention and love, and knew a retreat would be a great way to further stabilize in the awareness of IT.  Ruth shared that this presence is like the ocean, or the sky, always there, you just have to remember to turn to IT, to feel IT.  I want that for you.  I want this peace for everyone.  It’s why you are here.  To remember.  To Love. To Be.

“All needs can lead us first to more silence. Daily we can remind ourselves to approach the silence first so that everything we need comes so much easier.  When we want shelter we can begin by taking shelter in the quiet presence.  When we want food or companionship we can first nourish ourselves with the stillness and let the silence be our closest companion. As we are open, the natural order of things can answer all our needs either directly or by guiding us to the easiest solution.  The more we fill our needs with the silence, the more love can reach deeper inside us, bringing the perfect shelter, the perfect food, and the perfect companion who expresses most what the silence wishes for us.”  – Dr. Bruce Davis from ‘Monastery Without Walls’

Peep the view–

If I didn’t have 2 little humans to care for, I could’ve easily stayed a week!

I’ve been with this guy for nearly 2 decades and just discovered that he whispers HELLA loud! 

found these gems in the forest… still don’t know who did it! You can’t tell but those pine cones were the biggest I’ve ever seen… them jokers were like the size of your head!

It was so quiet that wild turkey and deer would just roll up on you. I felt like Snow White lol.  All the animals clearly felt very safe.  The squirrels were fat and friendly, the birds would land close, and you could hear the deer ripping the grass from the ground as they ate… that’s the kinda of intense, LOUD silence I’m talking about!
Pics from their website (totally accurate and consistent with my experience, the hermitage was so clean you could eat off the floor!)–
The gates! 

Ruth told us to grab groceries from the market before we checked in.  Once you’re in, it’s best to stay in for the duration of your trip, to keep the silence. I bought easy stuff cause I don’t do kitchens, and I wanted to be focused more on meditating and reading, not fighting with the stove and washing dishes.  I also washed and styled my hair before we arrived so I didn’t have to spend anytime wrestling that situation either!   I didn’t pack a single hair product!  FREEDOM! 

 communal space-
I spent 90% of my time in that chair on the left, reading,  sipping tea and loving the silence. 

I just used the microwave sometimes, lol!  

In addition to our crew of  5, there were 3 other women that joined us on our stay. It felt so powerful being around them without the need to speak or learn about who they were or where they were from!   In a way, there’s more love and intimacy in the silence, even with strangers. And then,  they’re not so much strangers anymore.  Lots of  smiles and a few notes were shared with them.

 Group meditations (at 9am and 7pm) were held here… the highlight of my retreat.  I’m still (t)here. 

I had never meditated with a group before. After the initial noise from the mind (mostly worries about my rude stomach grumbles breaking the silence– I have a very noisy digestive situation haha), I found it extremely powerful.  I’ve been home for 2 days and continue to sit twice a day, with candles and incense!  Me and hubby as well as Remonde (one of the winners) have vowed to hold each other accountable and to continue this practice no matter what! 
I wholly recommend a silent retreat, and HIGHLY recommend Silent Stay.  Dr. Bruce and his wife Ruth, and their gentle, effective pointers and guided meditations, will re-introduce you to your true Self, so that you may re-introduce yourself to the world. They radiate love, the views are breath taking, and the loud silence will soothe your Soul.  They also take groups to Bali and Italy each year! Treat yo self! xoxo


p.s.  Thanks to Silent Stay and Plentiful Hair Care for sponsoring this magnificent experience!