Integrity: A Call for Witnessing in OUR Grief

Rachel Naomi Remen explains that, integrity is all about living from the place in which your greatest truth lies and at the same time, remembering that “the truth,” is always evolving. That life is a process, and an unanswered question makes a perfect traveling companion, it sharpens your eye for the road.  By not knowing the answer, or immediately trying to come up with an explanation (as our minds so often do) we allow ourselves pure encounters with mystery, reminding ourselves that we don’t know and we’d like to be led.

For me, it seems an impossibility to step completely out from behind my mind and it’s automatic interpreting, weighing, judging, considering and that is fine, I don’t attempt to eliminate my thinking, only to remember how perceptions can magically change when interpreting any one story or situation and how considering both sides and allowing for Marion Woodman’s the third, calls for a soft and encompassing focus.

Rachel’s words in regards to coming to self-acceptance requiring the knowledge that protecting ourselves from loss also holds us from life—including old, “right,” ways of being rings so true for me!

While finding a new way requires risk taking, it does not require abandoning or distancing ourselves from the past, which in the fad of positivity and a culture of duality we are all too often encouraged to do. Instead, integrity, or wholeness, includes all of our wounds, our living, our triumphs—our authentic-self does not sit in judgment of the other within, or without our SELVES. 

Rachel and I wholeheartedly agree that we need to grieve or our hearts can become so filled with loss we can no longer care.  Some losses cannot be fixed.  Often we connect with one another through our wounds and it is the wisdom we have gained through our wounding which allows us to help and connect with other people.  Though many of us know this at a deep level we too often hide our own greatest pains, convincing ourselves we don’t need a caring, open, non-judging witness to mirror back our strength and beauty.  At least, that is how it has been for me.  I too often have tried to navigate my own pain, my grieving, my trauma’s alone telling myself I am strong enough, others don’t want to be bothered, or that they won’t understand.

But, as ONE, again, both within and outside of ourselves, we long for loving connection and great movement and shifts in perception can and do happen when we allow ourselves to be soft and fragile in the presence of a caring other who witnesses our grief.

In offering this mirror to other’s it is important to remember a story of loss in your own life, and to remember to listen generously.  Remember someone who helped you.  What did they say or do?  Remember a time when someone wanted to help, but what they did and said didn’t help—what was it? Be careful of advice and knowing all, or especially trying to tell the other the loss is their fault. Again, whether this person is someone else, or one of your own parts watch the automated talk and “right,” trained solutions and just be with the emotion.