This is the last blog post for 2021. In true Dickensian style, it is a year that has seen the best of times and the worst of times. I so appreciate the best of moments and the opportunity to meet the worst of with witnesses and a scaffold of care sometimes completely invisible to me, and often elusive, due to my own amnesia. For many another COVID Christmas seals the deal on naming 2021 as a tough year. Most of my immediate family I connected with via zoom, although I did get to see some of them, we applied socially distanced behaviour and I got another negative PCR result. With some members of the family in a vulnerable health zone, I am a regular to the testing station, as hospital visits and new borns are on the horizon.
The best of moments hold a set of characteristics of warmth, good humour, often at a table, nearly always in the company of women, and where my arrival to the scene is incidental and I am in receipt of the harvest of much that has gone before to enable to even be in the moment. The worst of’s have nearly always been punctuated by pain, retrospective memories or some kind of unpredictable natural phenomena that no one was expecting. They have often been solitary and hidden from the gaze of others and had to find their way out through the intense work of metaphorical massage or exorcising like thought management. Moments that have taken me to heights have been able to be mined for their wealth when I have been impoverished or felt bereft. I seem to have an insatiable appetite for the rich tapestry of goodness to draw on. This wealth, is an abundance of goodness to luxuriously bathe in, as I continue to learn how to receive.
I have been working on my practice, of the discipline of receiving, and testing out little exercises to develop my receiving muscle. This season of gift giving and being thankful for all we have received, provides an opening to develop the practice. Receive has an etymology from Latin, which means to take back, back to the original place. So I have been thinking when I receive something it is a reflection of what is seen, caught in the act of being visible, being called forth and grasped with recognition, being offered to me as a reflection in the mirror. This goes beyond everyday gratitude and is perhaps a pathway to a deeper understanding and experience of being witnessed.
I am deeply grateful to all those who have witnessed me this year. This humble act of solidarity, without judgement and with the generosity of a layer of protection, has helped me over and over again this year. To those who have been in this role for me this past year, my sincere thanks. I know there are many moments you would be able to testify to me sensing my way through, falling towards an insight, burying an anxiety, driving a change, being astonished, feeling enchanted.
In court there a few different types of witnesses, the expert witness, the eye witness, the character witness and the fact witness. I notice that all four types of witnesses have showed up for me this year, and I have also sought them out depending on what I need to be seen or heard. I so appreciate the eye witnesses who have been with me for many decades and where we have such a common language and frame I need only hint at a few words and be seen, heard and understood with no further explanation. I rely on the fact witnesses to keep me leaning in and being realistic, helping me discern the truth, reality and to detect the fake news. The character witnesses reassure me of what they know, have seen and recognise what I have done and remind me of what I am capable of. The expert witness is the one who can offer up a new piece of research, understanding or replace old data with new while not taking away what is there but making sure what is available is more current and solid.
As I leave 2021, knowing the pilgrim path of placing one foot in front of the other, I bow with deep appreciation, to those who have been witnesses to me. I am overwhelmed with the acts of kindness that enable me to practice how to receive.
Thank you to those of you have travelled with me and read this blog across the year. Next year will be the 10th year of writing a weekly blog and I am looking to receive your witness with the same kindness. I would love you to share my posts with others if you find content resonates with you. In 2022 my theme is going to be invisible and visible.
“Work in the invisible world at least as hard as you do in the visible.”