Encountering Silence During the Holidays (Episode 3)

The Holiday Season can be joyful and/or stressful, which means this is a time when silence remains as important as ever.  Join us for this special episode where Cassidy, Kevin and Carl talk about how we nurture a contemplative dimension to our holiday experience, without getting moralistic or legalistic about silence, but also retaining a sense of just how vital silence is to us at this time of the year.

In this episode, we explore how silence is devalued in our culture (and why we need to resist that cultural prejudice), the relationship between silence and intentionality, how “letting go” is a portal into silence, the danger of “the materialism of information,” how the spiritual concept of incarnation takes us outside of our comfort zone, how the body is our best friend for surviving the holidays, and much more.

When we name silence, we lose it… As soon as we touch the word urgency to the lips of silence, we lose a sincere intimacy. So how do we maintain silence as urgent and important in our lives without making it legalistic, or precisely what it isn’t? — Cassidy Hall

Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:

The Zen Proverb (“Quit Trying; Quit Trying Not to Try; Quit Quitting”) shows up in:

And one more book that this episode makes us think of:

You actually have to stop trying… if you attempt to be silent, if you make it an urgent goal, well then you never get there, silence never actually comes, there has to be kind of a letting go. — Kevin Johnson

Kevin Johnson is a university professor, writer, speaker, and retreat leader based in Connecticut.

Cassidy Hall is a writer, photographer, and filmmaker based in Los Angeles.

Carl McColman is an author, catechist, and retreat leader based in Atlanta.

Episode 3: Encountering Silence During the Holidays
Hosted by:
Cassidy Hall
Kevin Johnson and Carl McColman
Date Recorded:
December 19, 2017

Note: our next episode will be released on or about January 3, 2018. In the meantime, we wish you a merry Christmas (or the joyful observance of the holiday of your tradition) and a very happy new year.


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Carl McColman
Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.


  1. Just letting you know I enjoyed the podcast very much. I’m on the Benedictine pathway with the WCCM (World Community for Christian Meditation) and it all ties in together. Thank-you.

    1. Anne-Marie:

      So glad that the podcast speaks to you. Lovely to meet another one who is on this pathway. Hope you continue to listen and to comment and reach out to us as we try to gather a community interested in this topic so we can speak with and support each other.

      Have a quiet, beautiful, and holy Christmas.

    2. Thank you, Anne-Marie! We appreciate you listening and taking the time to send a comment. We’ve got lots planned for the new year, so please stay tuned (I suppose “stay tuned” is an anachronism these days, but there you go!).

  2. Thank you for this podcast! I really like it.

    May I suggest that you discuss the role of silence in poetry and music, in some future episode?

    Perhaps you can comment on this quote by Rilke (Duino Elegies, 1): “Ceaseless message that forms itself out of silence.”

    1. Bob:

      You have read our minds. 🙂

      We have mentioned that silence and poetry is a future episode and has been on our list of upcoming episodes. As you can hear, we all are huge poetry fans and it’s pretty clear that we will do more than one episode on that topic. Thank you for listening and commenting.

      What does that quote by Rilke stir up in you?

      1. The quote reminds me that silence is the true source of authentic speech and creative ideas, but I would like to hear your thoughts about that.

        Thanks again. I love your style of podcasting.

        1. Bob, we’re looking forward to continuing to allow the poetry and poetic nature of silence rise up in each episode. That being said, we could do HOURS on a number of poets and/or poems, as you well know! We’ve planned for such an episode and we hope the dabbles of poetry along the way keep you listening 🙂

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