|Case Studies Jan/Feb - Page 6|
Gradually, Lisa began to appreciate the time she was spending alone in her apartment. Once she could think clearly again, she wondered why she'd been so undone by the end of a relationship she knew had gone bad. "It's amazing when I think about it," she said. "Some part of me wanted out as much as Sam did, but I was afraid to let go. I let myself believe that my own life counted for less without him—but even worse, that as a person, I was worthless." Then she came to an active decision: "to let myself be on my own for a while." She devoted herself to her work and enjoyed the company of friends, and for a long time, that was what she needed.
About two months later, I proposed to Lisa that she spend a short amount of time each day in solitude. Lisa balked. "I'm already in it!" she says. "I've been alone now for months. I may even end up that way. Why would I willingly put myself into solitude?" I answered that while she might think she's "in it," she wasn't yet making use of it. I asked if she'd be willing to turn off her cell phone, find herself a comfortable place, and for just a few minutes each day experiment with simply listening to what the silence brings—listening beyond the many "shoulds" and "oughts" that told her how to behave and what to feel, and trying to hear her own voice.
"Suppose it means finding a deep hole in me and coming up empty?" she asked.