I reflect today on the feelings of emerging from a three-month soaking. Somewhere in the fall I knew I was in a different season of recovery and I didn't much care for it. It is when I stopped blogging altogether, I had physical limitations with my neck and shoulder, and I felt stuck because I didn't feel like I was moving. There is a difference I have learned between being stuck, and being still.
In this recovery journey, there have been those moments I call “a-ha” awareness or “you-have-got-to-be-kidding me” awareness, or the gut-wrenching “great, now that I see this, what next?” awareness. (That last one is a butt-kicker, by-the-way.) My instinct response to a new awareness is to move forward. Let’s just clip along, get this dealt with, and get over it. That is not The Therapist’s response. Hers: “Now, just let it soak.”
The first time she told me this was over the phone when I had phoned her in desperation. I was a crying mess, I had feelings and memories surface about my childhood that were extremely painful. I wanted to medicate, flee, do SOMETHING, to move out of that pain. And her reply to the appeal…”just be with it for now.” For us doers, that really is like a sentence term. Not doing something is to not perform and to not produce…it’s not moving forward! I remember thinking “This soaking, being, baking, resting, sit-with-it stuff may be needed for some, but not me. I get it, now let’s get on with it.” The problem is I didn’t have enough tools to know what to do with what had just been uncovered. I had no choice but to sit and soak. Well, actually I did have a choice. I could medicate. Fortunately, I did not choose that path.
So soaking has become a part of the recovery process for me. Work, read, pray, press-in, meditate, discuss, reflect, soak,…the process was working rather well. I got used to the ebb and flow. I've written quite a bit about my journey. And then the postings stopped, as did the familiar ebb and flow. I didn't write because I didn't know what to write. I felt stuck. I complained to Debra. She said she would let me know if she felt that my recovery wasn't progressing. Yes, I continued to deal with things in my life - for instance the issue of my love addiction took a front row seat to the work I was doing. But it still felt awkward and uncomfortable. I wanted to feel a shift. I wanted more evidence.
At one session, Debra gave me her baking a cake analogy: in essence, the combining of cake ingredients does not produce a cake until it is baked. (I got a much longer, elaborate version, or course!) I had a lot of ingredients deposited in me and I needed to allow time for them to bake. Given my sugar and flour abstinence, we will return to the soaking metaphor.
The days became weeks which then became months. I call it my “Season of Soaking.” I often questioned whether I was making any progress or not. Actually, I do kind of relate to that cake just sitting there wondering if anything is happening. And low and behold, something did!
In the last few weeks I have felt less cake-like but instead like a bloom bursting forth or the butterfly emerging from its cocoon. My recent blog postings To be Cherished by The One Who Loves Me and My Vision Revisited give insight to the wonderful things happening within me. I am indeed grateful and joyful and very much in a totally new place. This post is to acknowledge the value in what I couldn't see was so important – that there is something to that soaking. During that time I didn't stop doing my work. I didn't stop reflecting, pressing in, meditating, and reading. The awareness continued, but with far less fervor.
My God, has courted me, loved me, and cherished me. From that has come a sense of value and self-esteem, and so much, that I would gladly soak another umpteen months to receive these gifts. There are others, too. I have awareness around the idea of being still. One aspect of that is to relax…to chill…to rest in what is being done, has been done, and what is yet to come. It is a new awareness all in itself. I get it. Be still; soak; let God do His work.