Last weekend, I planned to take the ferry to Block Island to visit friends, but was too pooped to go.

So there I was with an unexpected free Sunday. I asked myself what would be the most restorative way to spend the day. And the answer came back: keep silence.

This inspiration came from reading Cape Cod writer Anne LeClaire’s book Listening Below the Noise. In it, she describes her 17-year practice of not speaking on the first and third Monday of each month. While few of us would consider adopting her schedule, we can all benefit from an occasional day without talking.

I’ve been to many silent meditation retreats, but had never done it while hanging out with my husband, John. Here are a few suggestions derived from my experiment for anyone who might like to try something similar:

Discuss the game plan with your partner the night before. Is this a ban on all speech, or just unnecessary conversation? I told John that my not talking didn’t mean that he couldn’t talk. (Although he said, “What’s the point of my talking if you won’t answer?”)

Don’t be surprised if your partner is not in love with the idea. A silent mate feels like an unfriendly mate, even though, on a rational level, he knows you’re not actually giving him the cold shoulder. This is especially true during activities that are inherently social, like mealtimes.

Decide in advance how to deal with phone-calls. I asked John to tell callers that I was unable to come to the phone at the moment (sort of true), rather than tell them I was keeping silence (too precious). Or just don’t answer the phone at all. Radical notion!

Your partner will be waiting to see if you’re really going to go through with this whim.  While I felt it would be okay to engage in occasional brief, practical communication (“Could you please hand me that?”), I found it needlessly confused him by sending a mixed signal. Each time I spoke, John wondered if it was “over.”

Writing notes may seem gimmicky, but it’s a way of being clear about your intentions, both to your partner and yourself. Alternatively, you can try to communicate with charade-like gestures, but you may discover that your antics aren’t nearly as comprehensible as you think they are.

Going out in public presents more decisions. It’s one thing to have practical exchanges (“A chai latte with 2% milk, please”), but what if you run into a friend at the grocery store? (Anne LeClaire has a little card that tells people she’s silent.) I relied on the words of the teachers at my meditation center: “When you’re out on the street and encounter a neighbor, please try to act normal.”

Because after all, what’s the point of the whole thing? It isn’t to be pure; it’s to have a blessed break from the endless yakking we normally engage in. During my silent Sunday I couldn’t help but see that most of the words that bubbled up inside, demanding to be spoken, were complete crap. It was a lot of complaining, gossip, political rants, and and random observations, a broadcast of the contents of my “monkey mind.” I could feel how draining and buzzy all that chatter could be.

I also saw how companionable – even intimate – it can feel to hang out with someone quietly. And how, underneath the noise, there’s a very peaceful place.