The art of witnessing

This requires you to be really really present to ordinary reality.  To allow yourself to fully immerse within it and be totally willing to feel and take in absolutely everything going on around you.  This is not for the faint of heart, but it’s a good exercise to enact when you want to learn more about this realm.

Being with kids is a good place to start.  Whether they are yours or they visit, the occupy the realm of ordinary reality whole-heartedly.  Basic needs are requested:  sleeping, eating, comfort, love and security.

Once these needs are met, children, I’ve found in my training program and with my partner’s kids, can feel safe and curious enough to explore beyond the pale.  Maybe at first it’s delving into art or music, getting a sense of something beyond themselves.

As the adult, watching and witnessing their own development and journey is akin to holding space for their transformation.

I have the privilege of watching my partner’s children when they come to visit.  Free from having to ‘parent’, I can attend to their greater expansiveness in the realm of creativity.

I create a space for that creative urge to take place, a rec room with art, music, toys, lights and magic.

What happens is a blossoming of children’s potential, to become what they were meant to be.

As a counselor, it’s also fascinating to watch the levels of development of each child and how they process information.  Not judging, just observing and also sensing what is going on internally with the child even when they are quiet.  Sometimes they too are witnessing and observing, taking things in.  Other times they are unsure, other times confident.  When they discover something new in the task at hand or within themselves, I feel my job as witness has been achieved.

But that witnessing is not a ‘goal’, it too is a process.  Not having to exert any ‘result’ is liberating for both myself and the kids at hand.  Not all parents have this luxury, they are usually juggling the needs of other kids in the household as well as issues going on in their own lives.

I think this is why it’s important for kids to have grandparents, extended family and other playmates to go to so that all parties involved can get the space they need to foster this creative development.

In the observing also comes truth.  Because there is no judgment, no agenda and no goal, there ‘is what is’.  I honor this practice and hope you too will give space for it.

Photo credit.


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