Witnessing My Life

Before I fell completely into the abyss of what I call “The In-Between”, I tried talking with a friend.  She was a terrible listener who talked about herself and prescribed her idea of “fixes”.  That’s when I realized that instead of looking for answers outside myself, just allowing myself to “BE” might be the answer.

But “just BEing” is a radical departure from my intensely focused, workhorse mode.  Could I do it?  Could I let go and just BE without a schedule or list of things to do?  Could I allow myself to be me however that shows up?  Just kick back and enjoy the movie of my life expressed in my feelings, thoughts, and behaviors?  In other words, could I become the witness of my own life?

The term “witness” in this context is from my yoga teacher training days at Kripalu*, where I learned to hold a yoga posture and “witness” the sensations.  I learned to distinguish pain from discomfort.  And to ask  myself questions like:  Is the discomfort I feel actually hurting me?  Or is it just uncomfortable because it’s different or because my body is so stiff?

If it’s actually hurting me, as in damaging my body, of course I stop.  But it could also be some stuffed memory, challenging me to breathe into the experience, relax, and continue.

As a massage therapist, I learned that our bodies store memories in our cells!  And that was emphasized later by the class with Llana Rubenfeld* who specialized in releasing those stored memories.

And so, knowing the difference between pain and discomfort in practicing yoga is super important.  I had to learn how to let go of judgements and be “in the moment”, fully present, with what I was experiencing.

Kripalu teachers stressed that difference and invited us to “take it off the mat”, to practice “witnessing” not only our body’s responses but also our thoughts, feelings, and the ways we respond to our environment. And that is what I’ve been doing for the past several weeks: witnessing, without judgment, my interactions with my environment–no matter where I am or what I’m doing.

And wow! I experienced a significant breakthrough!

I learned a lot about myself and how I respond. I also noticed more and said less. I experienced the perspective of another person without speaking; I simply “got” where they were coming from. I was able to tell whether a person was speaking their truth without my saying a word.

I forgave myself for prior patterns of behaviors and practiced new ways to respond. Each day I felt more like my real self.

Witnessing my own behaviors, I found myself able to forgive and release the tendency to judge others.

But I’ve only just begun. I want to incorporate witnessing into every moment of every day. I want to live my life one moment at a time, fully conscious.

Coming soon:  “Witnessing” for Others



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Till next time,

Please be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our hidden sorrows. ~Tzaddi


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