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Learning how to deal with personal problems in silence

Owl's picture

A recurring problem I have noticed, in participating in the silence exercises, has been this fear that in silence the individual is trapped within the walls of her own real life problems and worries. That is to say, that even in one's own mental and bodily silence one can't escape his or her reality. During Linda-Susan Beard's visit this week, a classmate of ours asked what can we do to escape our reality and truly be silent within. Beard responded saying that through silence, she did not escape, but rather found new perspective and thus new ways of confronting her reality.  This reminded me a lot of the women in Sweeney. I couln't help but think about how the women in Sweeney's book used literacy and reading as a way to deal with reality. The women related to characters in books and found comfort in knowing that there were similarities and differences between themselves and the characters. However, they did not use their connections as excuses to dwell on thier lives of crime and 'victimhood', but to open themselves to new perspectives.

As Linda-Susan Beard spoke to our class, she mentioned her retreat of silence during a rough time in her life. As she described her experience she mentioned how, in that context, reading was not allowed. I found myself questioning that in relation to the women in Sweeney's book. What would happen if we took the women from Sweeney's book and asked them to do a silent retreat in which they could not read?