anam cara – being a ‘sacred witness’

“one day my daughter was languishing about, complaining about feeling lousy….I immediately began fixing her problem with helpful advice. Suddenly i realised she just wanted empathy for the way she was feeling in that moment!………I [offered] her a moment of conscious and deeper connection with her feeling…..she responded fully….She was grateful for the opportunity to feel her feelings and just be accepted for who she was at that moment”

(from’respectful parents, respectful kids’).

this quote, to me, reflects the important process of what some call – anam cara – at times, simply being a sacred witness….

…to listen, reflect, and be a ‘sacred witness’, we can allow people to simply share what they need to share.. release what they need to release, and find their own answers that they have within themselves, empowering them with their ability to access their inner wisdom….and in particularly with the illumination process as a whole but also can occur in general, can assist with their gaining their deep inner realisations where deep changes can come from within.

and yes, sometimes as an objective outside observer not caught up in the ‘stuff’ as they are, we may, at times ‘connect the dots’ before the person we are listening to and working with does
(this for some reason reminds me a bit like watching Doctor Who or a detective program when we work out the mystery of what is happening  just before the genius Doctor or detective does). the temptation can be to wade in and say what you feel needs to be done.
….if we can be sacred witness, and give them the space to work it out themselves, there can come a learning more powerful (and re-memorable) than just being told it by someone else
and…as it is very personal for them… and they within them have that depth and experience of them, and their access to the inner wisdom of them…
it could even be different answers to what we had thought….
they are the ones in that situation, they are themselves…they have the ‘insider knowledge’ that can know what is beneficial for them, more than we have….

it might be tempting, when listening to someone share their experiences, particularly when traumatic in some way, to jump into the drama triangle and drag them in with you. that is, you may wish to ‘fix them’ – to jump into the rescuer role. however

  1. they can fix themselves – yes your support, your tools that you may like to share, could potentially assist them fix themselves, if they wish you to assist. but they can fix themselves. they have this fully in their power to do so. it is ‘just’ a case of them revealing, bringing this power out
  2. if you are in rescuer role – then it could be said that you are putting them in victim role – a victim that needs rescuing. which can be disempowering and limiting. and in general.. from personal experience – maybe from your experiences, you will agree- doesn’t feel great.

perhaps you have felt this before too…. where you are baring your soul….. and someone jumps in and tries to fix it for you… how did that feel.

while sometimes, it can be nice to just lie back and be fixed.. other times, like with the illumination process… it can be more about that empowerment and ability to gain those realisations from within….
i remember in one session i was receiving, in the intake interview part, i was sharing what i wished to work on. this part is very sacred witness. this is where the issue/challenge is brought up so we can clear it. the individual working with me started to try ‘fix’ me, giving me suggestions on what to try. it felt…. well… here i was bearing my soul, expressing it so i could release and here was someone trying to fix it for me (in sessions we tend to assist someone fix it for themselves, rather than for them)…. it didn’t feel great…just interrupted, like my experience hadn’t been valid or something…. teaching me a beautiful lesson (much appreciated 😉

i have been on the other foot too of course…
to integrate the gifts/wisdom/experience found in an illumination session – we tend to bring these into the physical, working with a ‘mythic map’ – where we physically step in to our new ‘maps’ – our new lives – centre-points of being.
I remember one session where someone in their ‘mythic map’ part of the session, created something that I felt could be changed a little… which,  based on my own experiences,  did not feel was quite true for me…
I remembered my training, and I felt to keep quiet though, rather than butt in with my opinion/experience, and let them work with it, and find what is true for them….. open to what is…
and when i next saw them, they’d worked with it…. and what I’d seen as more true… they had seen… in their own time… from their own realisation…. and that transformative change felt even more powerful to me…

That’s not to say that we are sacred witness all the time, as a guide in the work to assist others access their inner wisdom,  I do sometimes give nudges here and there… it is a delicate balance… however – to remember
there are times… of simple sacred witness

with that
non-judgement – everything is just as it is, there is no need to judge it one way or another
‘out beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field – I will meet you there’ (Rumi)
non-attachment – this is just part of a story, and as such can be temporary and shifted, there is no need to attach to it, can let it go
non- suffering – again everything is just as it is – yes they experienced this – but this is an experience – and this too can pass… this too can transform… they have the ability and inner wisdom to transform this and there may be great learning from this too that can assist them greatly in their lives

again to have people pass judgement, has not felt empowering or helpful to me – though I understand some people may like it – to help them feel a sense of ‘i am right’. often when people have been the non-judgement, i have felt more freer to share – to release, knowing that without that judgement of myself or others, that is it safe to do so…
similarly without that attachment or suffering element, feeling that people aren’t going to attach themselves to the trauma or ‘drama’ of that story and heighten the idea that it is suffering – inputting or worsening that suffering feeling, gives me the freedom to share…
while i prefer to do this in the illumination process – as there is a deep purpose to release on a deep level,  clearing the imprint that attracted it… and find that gift.. still if this comes up elsewhere, i have this tool in everyday life too
the realisation, the deep feeling that this person speaking is someone on a deep journey in life- and they have all the answers and ability to make changes themselves…
and as they transform this from within – they may find amazing gifts from this… some of the deepest wounds can have some of the greatest gifts…
feels freeing to me – and likewise – feels like it is freeing to them….
opening up to that potential – to their potential
and from experience, i’d suggest their – our potential is great

this has been of great learning for me. in the work i do, and in everyday life
seeing both adults and children explore, experiment and work things out for themselves…the joy it brings them… brings joy to my heart too…
I feel I may keep practising this 😉

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