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Aaron Rodgers’s Darkness Diary

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 08: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers takes the field for player introductions prior to a game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on January 08, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Lions defeated the Packers 20-16.
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Aaron Rodgers has completed his four day, four night darkness retreat in southern Oregon on Wednesday. The 39-year old quarterback is known for taking part in a number of spiritual retreats, be they centered around yoga and meditation or tripping on Ayahuasca. He first brought up his plans to attend this darkness retreat during his weekly state of the union addresses on the Pat McAfee Show, describing it as a chance for "unplugging from society" and to "have a better sense of where I'm at in my life." Darkness retreats are tied to ancient spiritual practices that originate in India, China, and Tibet, alleged to even have medical benefits, though that's not exactly backed up by science, so you can see why it would appeal to Rodgers.

According to a report from ESPN, Rodgers spent his four nights in a "partially underground, Hobbit-like structure" that was 300 square feet and "devoid of light." The room had a queen bed, a bathroom, and a mat on the floor. The place did come with power, though, and had lights that could be turned on inside the room, which defeats the purpose if you ask me, but I'm no spiritual guru. Rodgers, since the NFL season ended, has been tasked with choosing between retirement, returning to the Packers to finish out his contract, or requesting a trade to a team like the Jets, another form of banishing yourself to spiritual darkness.

We here at Defector aren't simply content to report on Rodgers's excursion into darkness, though. We have hit up every source, and done all the things you do in journalism to get your hands on a juicy scoop, and that hard work has delivered the goods: We have in our possession a very exclusive and very real diary that Aaron Rodgers kept with him throughout his retreat. The diary seems to be a collection of thoughts that Rodgers wrote down as they came to him while letting his mind expand into the bitter unknown of absolute, maddening solitude. Here, presented completely unedited, is that diary.

Day 1

Huh? Not as dark as I expected...

I mean, it's fine. It works. I guess if you're gonna call something the darkness retreat, you expect more. You can see a little sunlight poking through the window, but it's fine.

I guess it can't be totally dark, or how else would you find the bathroom or the bed?

Should I feel ripped off? Was this false advertising?

OK no, Aaron, you're just being a baby. This is good. It's plenty dark in here.

I haven't written in a diary in so long, but without my phone to watch educational videos on YouTube, I need an outlet.

I bet Rogan would be into this. Totally.

I guess I should try to meditate for awhile. That's why I'm here.

Wait, what was that sound? Is someone else in here?

Is this cave haunted? Are there animals trying to burrow in? Is this a real Hobbit's home and he's come back?

Or she? Don't want to get canceled for assuming gender by the hobbit cancel club

Good thing I brought some shrooms to this thing. I'm just like that guy from The Big Lebowski.

Day 2

Lol I tried to meditate but I just fell asleep ... that's pretty funny. Pat and the boys will love that.

I'm not sure how long I was out ... is it still my first day here?

There's light poking through the window, but is that just because I only slept 30 minutes or the whole night? Maybe I should look for a clock.

Wait, holy shit, I just pressed one of these switches on the wall and the whole place lit up.

Was that there this whole time?

So wait ... is a darkness retreat supposed to happen in a fully lit room? Is this not just a hotel?

Now I really do feel a little ripped off ... what the hell kinda darkness retreat is this?

Did they mean metaphorical darkness? Is that what they were talking about this whole time?

Or maybe it's a test, like how long can you last without turning on the lights in this place. Ohhh, yeah, that must be it. The darkness is, like, a construct. Or maybe a mirror? Can mirrors be dark?

Anyway, these guys don't know that I'm Aaron freakin' Rodgers, the most mentally tough person to ever exist. I don't need your hotel lights! I'm what the good doctor Jordan Peterson calls the ultimate alpha chimp. I will thrive in the darkness!

OK, between sleeping and obsessing about the lack of darkness I have not had any time to search through my mind's eye, as my good friend Kyrie Irving likes to say.

I do love football, but for some reason I can't shake the feeling that people don't take me seriously anymore ... how can I be an ambassador for clean, spiritual living if I'm not taken seriously?

On the one hand, some of the world's greatest geniuses weren't taken seriously either, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Elon Musk, Tom Cruise ... I'm in great company.

On the other, there's so much I feel like I need to do outside of football ...

There's that Rick and Morty spec script I'm halfway finished with; there's my studies on finding a cure for cancer, which I'm only a few more YouTube videos away from completing. I could definitely get a sweet deal for my own podcast on Spotify that would be like Rogan's or Pat's. Then I could spend every day talking to the world's leaders in natural science ... hopefully we can trade vaccines for beet root by 2030.

Also "immunized" was a totally legit answer to that trap question. I don't know why everyone thinks I lied.

I really do love football, though, and everyone would love me again if I saved the Jets.

Maybe a year of Jordan Love will teach the Packers a lesson in taking me for granted? You think Jordan Love could survive four days here? Yeah right.

Day 3

It's been about 60 hours I think and my main takeaway is that sitting in darkness sure makes you sleepy.

Do you think when Jesus went out into the desert he spent his time not talking to the devil sleeping the whole time? They'd never put that in the Bible, though, and I'd be canceled for even asking about it.

For some reason that "How Bizarre" song by OMC has been stuck in my head the whole time here ... I didn't even listen to it recently or anything it just kinda popped in and hasn't left yet. Weird.

You think all sorts of weird things at random when you have nothing else to do ... like the last episode of How I Met Your Mother. What was up with that? So this whole show was really about Ted and Robin? Why even give it that name then?

That's a weird story to be telling your kids ... Hey kids here's the story of how me and your dead mom met, but first let me tell you about how I've totally had a thing for this other girl and why it should be OK for me to date her again now. I don't know, it seems pretty fucked up.

Why make people invested in a premise for nine years just to kind sweep the rug from them? It flies in the face of everything I learned in that screenwriting class I took.

Day 4

Damn, fell asleep again. I was really on a roll about the How I Met Your Mother finale problems ... I gotta remember to bring this up on the boards later.

I should've brought Shailene to this, she would've loved it.

Wait ... I dated Shailene last year. I'm with Mallory now.

I bet I could make contact with the aliens, and they can fly me through space next offseason ... that would be super nourishing to my spirit.

I should bring that up on McAfee next week, make the tweets go crazy.

Shit, I don't think I've eaten one thing this whole time.

Was that part of it? I feel like there should've been some kind of meal plan.

Luckily, I don't need to fill my body when I've already filled my spirit.

If I can survive this I can totally play for the Jets.

[Ed. note: The final page of the diary is filled with spirals and drawings of the Cool S. "Sick New Tattoo Ideas" is written across the top of the page.]

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