A few weeks ago, I spent a weekend at a silent meditation retreat. This retreat was such a gift. Recently, I've been processing (emotionally and cognitively) some big, core personal issues. The retreat opened a lovely space for me to explore these issues and discover meaningful insights. The retreat was also a space for me to get curious about roles I play--for example, the caretaker, the person-everyone-likes, the peacemaker. (These are roles I choose to play--that is, they aren't forced on me. It's helpful to think about whether these are positive, authentic roles for me to continue to play. Or are there some I can give up?)
And I also got curious about speaking and listening. The silence was a blessing. It took away all the external social expectations and allowed me to really listen to myself. Typically, I spend substantial time, energy, and thought on externals. Yet the only things I actually have control over are my internals. The silence allowed me to see that more clearly.
Among the Eightfold Path in Buddhism is something called "Right Speech." In my personal practice of Right Speech, I ask three questions: Is it truthful? Is it helpful? Is it kind? (Well, okay, I don't ask these all the time, but these questions are the overall umbrella of my intentions about speech.) They are interesting questions, as we often say things that might be one or two of these things (truthful, helpful, or kind), but it's more challenging to limit speech to things that are all three.
A year ago I blogged about my Twitter experiment. Initially, I enjoyed the experiment, and I think many of my tweets met my intention of truthfulness, helpfulness, and kindness (the helpfulness piece was mainly for me--I saw Twitter as a self-exploration outlet). But recently Twitter has become something else for me. Something not helpful. It's now become a to-do or a what-can-I-say-that's-cool space. So I think it's time for the Twitter experiment to end. Goodbye Twitter. And thank you.