When someone bears witness, they’re saying in essence, “You really exist, these things are really happening and I join with you in your experience of it.” That’s all. There’s no fixing, no commentary, no advice giving, and no solace or comfort really, unless it’s asked for. Bearing witness is more fundamental and more powerful than these things.
It makes something real. It IS.
Sort of like, I AM.
A thought, a vow, an event, a ritual, a passage, an emotion…these can all be witnessed. And when they’re witnessed they’re magically moved from the domain of fuzzy thought reality to a domain of presence, honor and meaning.
Witness (both bearing witness and being witnessed) is what makes life real. It affirms our existence, both internally and externally. If I am in a car accident, and had no one to tell…I would feel as though I was still carrying around the event, that it wouldn’t have been marked, been acknowledged, been real somehow. But when I tell someone and I am simply heard and my story witnessed, I become more fully HERE, more fully living life and dealing with the realities of this world.
The car accident happened; they came and cleaned up the highway, they towed the wrecked vehicles away, they re-opened the traffic lanes that had been closed. But I also have a reality inside me that experienced a car accident. How do I clean up the shattered glass from this inner reality?
It’s important to say our pieces. To tell them in an environment that can hear them and honor them for what they are: our reality. Bearing witness marks our interwoven-ness both in our realities and in our relationships.
It’s also important to lend ourselves to others to witness their lives, to be with them in the telling of their significances, to hold space for them so they can mark their events and make their own lives more real. We observe, lend our sense of presence, hold space for the telling of all of it; the good, bad or indifferent; life is made of all.
No fixing, no teaching, no problem solving. Simple presence and undivided attention.
Recognizing that this is a sacred service we provide those in our lives ~ for those we love.
Loving you ~