Last week when I saw Anna, my spiritual director, we had a painful conversation. We can both feel that I'm getting ready to take the next big leap of faith: to sit and be with my feelings. This can have many manifestations, and in my efforts not to get stuck in my old pattern of all or nothing and then failing, I"m looking for ways to do this in a gradual way.
Anna told me of an experience she had, suggested by her spiritual director, that was of critical importance to her. She went to a monastery and spent three days there not only in silence, but also doing nothing. That's right, nothing. No talking, no reading, no busy work, no program. Just being with her feelings. It was both very difficult and very powerful. She prayed, she meditated, she walked, she cried, she was just with herself. Anna was allowed to write poetry and paint but she was encouraged to stay out of her head and in her heart.
One of my early AA sponsors did something similar. She sequestered herself in her house for a week and did nothing. She told everyone she'd be unavailable. She fixed enough simple food so that she didn't have to cook. She allowed herself to journal but she said later that she gave that up after a day or so because it was a distraction. She said it was life-changing. At the time (6 months sober), I thought she was crazy.
Now I have to say this both intrigues me and terrifies me. I can feel deep in myself the need to do this and yet it brings up for me all the things that I fear I'm avoiding. But I can see, five days later, that I have already shifted from "if" I do this to "when."