The Power of Being Witnessed…. Opening the Door for Hope

John GassBy John Gass

I am no stranger to pain and suffering. For much of my adult life I have excelled at the alchemy of transforming life into unnecessary suffering. But even without that unwanted skill I have dealt with, what feels like, an extraordinary amount of pain and suffering. I suspect that means I’m human.

For these past six months I’ve found myself, again, trying to find a way through a crushing burden of pain, loss, grief, and suffering. This led me to the client’s seat for a Hakomi Circle session. For once I truly did not know what to talk about (those of you who know me know how seldom that occurs). So that was what I began with… feeling so much pain and emotion, from different sources, that I didn’t know what to do. I talked about feeling immobilized; even when I had accomplished something, I was not able to shake the feeling of immobility. And I talked about the lack of trust in my ability to understand what I have been dealing with, or in my ability to manage the situation.

That was when the beauty and elegance of Hakomi kicked in. I was just sitting, noticing, and being held in loving presence. It seemed that as soon as my attention tried to hold onto something, everything else in my mind and body started clamoring for attention. The therapist contacted how much I was dealing with and how overwhelming it looked. That seemed to pull my focus back, seeing the bigger picture. And I was no longer alone! I was witnessing the pain and suffering that I was struggling with while at the same time my struggle was being witnessed by another… all while being held in loving presence. I was no longer alone, adrift in the chaos of pain and suffering… I had an anchor point. My anchor point was my “observer” (that part of me that was able to observe, notice, and feel my present moment experience). My anchor point was being strengthened by the loving presence of the therapist who was accompanying me in that moment. From my shifted perspective I was able to notice, and name, what was happening in the present moment. I could see all of the different pains, crisis, and tasks fighting for attention (no longer just a blur of pain and suffering threatening to engulf me), and I could see the door to hope being cracked open.

What cracked that door open was the power I felt from having an anchor point, and the power of being witnessed.

What cracked that door open was the power I felt from having an anchor point, and the power of being witnessed. That anchor point allowed me to have a wider perspective. That wider perspective helped sort out the chaos, and it enabled me to see my resources, both internally and externally. Recognizing my resources was helping me access trust. Trust and hope seemed to be linked, holding hands, helping me to see my place in the world, beyond the suffering I have been immersed in. I was being reminded that I am part of a community… that my community is a resource…. and that I am a resource to my community. I received appreciation for my willingness to expose, and share, my pain and fears. I reconnected with that part of me that has found value in my struggles…value that has helped me be a resource to others, in my work, and in my community. The idea that there can be value in my struggle seems to give me courage and determination…and hope. If I can go through a struggle, learn from the experience, and offer what was learned to others…that means I am moving towards fulfilling my purpose, to be of service to others. I have the hope that happiness, and a life with much less unnecessary suffering is on the horizon for all of us. I love Hakomi… and I love my Hakomi community! Blessings to you all….