Witnessing

Every institution and system I can think of tonight, seems to be in collapse, and dying. Here are just a few of the broken things on my long long list: Government, Religion, Education, Health Care, Financial, Politics, Big Business, Marriage/Families, Democracy, Civil and Species rights/liberties/protections, Social Alienation, Decent Manners….

I wonder how I can Imagine Institutional Integrity, Immediately. The failings of each are so glaring, and have so many layers of complicated and far reaching problems, I see no clear solutions or relief in site! Sometimes I feel both anxious and paralyzed with urgency. What can I do…that’s useful, meaningful, will matter at all? It’s exhausting to even contemplate!

Overwhelmed by the magnitude of great big world issues, I am grateful that my day job is in a warm, welcoming, nurturing, safe and sacred healing environment. There, I feel like I can make a small difference in someone’s life…one person at a time. It’s a much smaller world of problems. The problems are no less real or complex. They are often a microcosm of the macrocosm.

Most of the time my role is simply as a witness. I create and hold the space for healing in whatever form that will manifest. That might mean listening with compassion. It can mean sharing from my experience or understanding. It will often mean taking an action; using energy to move and correct blocked expressions of energy in the one who seeks wellness, wholeness and healing. It will usually involve all of those things.

The world goes away for a little while at The Turning Point. We do the best we can together. We do what we can together. Integration of health can have many layers of complexity that we understand may not be solved all at once. I have noticed that exhaustion is often the underlying cause of the problems we face. We exhaust our immune systems with stress, our thinking with negativity, our emotions with worry, our spirits with hopelessness.

A poem was shared with me yesterday. I read it and was overcome with emotion. It seemed to address for me the story of my small work of daily witnessing in a healing space.

Kindred Spirits

Tired after feeling your way
in the dark for so long,
you are looking for cracks of light,
need them now more than ever.

Another woman appears.
Her voice soothes.
She speaks from love,
reminding you:

no one
remembered
is ever lost.

it’s almost always
tiredness that
gets us in the end

you must dare
to tell your own story
without blinking

She helps you
remember what you know.
Hope flutters in your chest,
rising up, like birds from cover.

(poet unknown)

This tender poem also suggested to me that I could extrapolate my witnessing into the larger constructs that have me so despairing. I can stand at the edges of those collapsing and dying institutions and systems and simply be present without fear or animosity. I can hold a tone of Hope for Healing on a larger scale. I can do this.

I will also, no doubt, continue to use my energy (in the form of outbursts, postings and vigils) to let off steam when I am overcome with outrage. And I will, no doubt, be unable to restrain myself from using my energy (in the form of outbursts, postings and ceremony) to celebrate what is right and good and beautiful and working in the world.

I can be a witness all the time, holding a tone of Hope. I can do this.

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