Tuesday, June 16, 2020

My Witness

Perhaps it's my contemplative nature combined with the fact that I keep journals filled with notes and thoughts that come to me and demand some sort of voice, that I often find a sentence here or there completely resonates with the feelings I hold inside me at this moment.

So, this morning I noted on Facebook an advertisement for a woman running some sort of course. She wrote, 'We all need a sacred witness in life...'. I think that too, at the same time as I am notably private. She went on to write about 'the spirit within you' that directs you in decision making. It will vary from person to person but I think we can all get in touch with that spirit at certain moments.

And then, I happened to open a journal of mine on a page where some years ago I must have been listening to Richard Flanagan, one of our best fiction authors. I had made a note of his observation that as people we congregate within the structure of 'family'; that although we nurture, protect and love, it doesn't necessarily satisfy; that what satisfies can be unquantifiable. Maybe, he suggested, it is how something makes you feel...

Yesterday, I listened to a recording of a talk by Rick Hanson, who I admire very much; a lovely guide for meditators and an incredibly intelligent and caring psychologist. He was talking about the fact that perhaps a good question to ask about an interaction with another person is 'Do you feel bigger/open/supported, or pushed down, needing to prove yourself more?' Ultimately, he said 'they will do what they do'. Very true.

Somewhere in the discussion he mentioned feeling that some interactions were 'tender and sweet'. A bell went off in my head. Did I experience the transactions with my mother as 'tender and sweet', now or ever? I think at times she has tried to be that person, in her own way. I think she feels more than she can express.

Sometimes, I visit with her and I come away feeling, not necessarily uplifted, but not unhinged by the visit. That's a very good visit. Mostly, I come away feeling deep internal distress that I simply cannot put into words. I don't experience anything tender or sweet about those exchanges, most particularly when I go towards her body to say goodbye and she puts her arms behind her back. I am left to peck her on the cheek. Lately, that's felt like a dagger going through my heart.

I think every human does need a witness to their lives. It could be a priest, or a parent, or a friend that knows you just as you are, and accepts you just as you are. It could be someone new as well; perhaps a mentor for someone overcoming an addiction. Maybe it is only half the time a 'family' member. We have the ability to create our own family, or become fiction writers, or keep a journal, or write poetry. Whatever allows us to express what lies dormant in our soul is right. Thus, I continue to write here, in  my tiny corner of the Internet. Thank you for being my Witness.

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