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  • Maria Vandenburg

A Journey Into the Power of Stillness

Updated: Jan 17

I have just returned from The Great I Am Deep Listening Retreat. I was most surprised to realize I could have honestly and gratefully stayed in silence for at least two more weeks!

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Reach Down as well As Up. No Roots. No Branches
Reach Down as well As Up. No Roots. No Branches

I'm an introvert. I am completely comfortable alone and in silence. It's how I refuel. So I knew I would be fine going intentionally into this retreat, but I was still nervous.


The Great I am Deep Listening Retreat was lead by a Spiritual Director that I love, Kathianne Lewis. It's different than other silent retreats I have heard of, in that I was allowed to read, study, meditate, walk, move. I just wasn't allowed to speak for 48 hours.


Dinner rolled around on the first night and I was surprisingly anxious. Don't get me wrong, as I was completely OK with not talking to a bunch of people I didn't know. (I knew a few people going into the retreat, but 80% of them I hadn't met before). What I was worried about was not f*cking up "the rules." Would it distrub someone if I gestured for them to pass the potatoes? I wanted more potatoes, but I didn't want to interupt someone elses silence. Should I just get up and get my own potatoes? Would my reach annoy them? That was what went through my head that first evening.


There are really SO MANY THINGS I could share about everything I experienced within myself from this retreat, but in the interest of time I will try and break it down into



Communing with the Trees
Communing with the Trees


5 Powers I Tuned into During the Process:


1. The Power in Letting Go of my Own Expectations: This has been something I've been working on for YEARS now. Does having expectations actually serve me... at all? The first evening of the silent retreat I did not sleep well. I woke up the next day tired and judging myself. I should be more awake, more alert, etc... etc. I realized later on that evening it was because of my own expectations. I ws telling myself the story that if I didn't emerge from this retreat as an Ascended Master with massive downloads then something was wrong with me. I had to let that go. I had to come to a state of acceptance of genuinely being ok if I didn't actually directly "receive" ANYTHING. I was able to get to the space of being grateful for just being able to witness my mind going quiet. There was SUCH A SENSE OF PEACE once I was able to reach that place of letting go on the first evening.


2. The Power of Stillness: This seems obvious since it was a silent retreat. The actual purpose of the retreat was "Power." For someone who has had an over-active mind I have lived from (and basically thought I was) 99.99% of my life, I can not emphasize this one enough. There is STRENGTH in learning how to deeply listen. To breathe into the space between the breathes and allow the mind to soften and the heart to open. The perception comes from a difference place here and it's so beautiful to be able to reach this state of quiet.


3. The Power of Love: This was a central theme for me during this retreat - beginning to see myself as the gift, beginning to see myself as the love of the beloved. There is so much more to come here as I begin to understand and know what this truly means for me. This was one of the most powerful activations I felt, finally knowing, accepting and receiving how deeply loved I am (and so are you!)


4. The Power of Being Witnessed: After the morning meditation on the third day, Kathianne opened up the space for us to begin sharing again. I first realized this in Egypt, but was reminded again of it here. There is something so sacred in not only just experiencing something but also having the opportunity to share it with others. I was just as deeply touched by being able to witness other peoples journeys as I was to share my own


5. The Power in being Silent: On the first night I realized just how much we were all communicating with others without words, via gesture, via energy, even via thought. I could feel others sadness and anxiety, I felt myself asking for help from Kathianne, I felt Kathianne's love, I felt others love. I realized that weeks in silence would only deepen in this ability to speak without actually speaking. It is so cool to wake up to how much we are able to see, sense and feel beyond just the use of our "eyes" and our "ears" - to begin to perceive and receive from our inner ones. So grateful to open up to this and have it all deepen.


This retreat was just what my soul needed. I walked away with a deepening understanding of myself and also with a deepening relationship with others. That was a gift that I was not expecting, to have another 20 or so people enter my life who really do genuinely feel like soul family. I am so grateful that I was able to have the time and space to attend this retreat and to be guided by a teacher that I really do dearly love.



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