I am moved by the power of witnessing another person in their pain. Often, we feel the need to say or do something to help a loved one who is hurting. However, there is deep healing that occurs when we simply listen and provide space for them to express themselves. Holding space and listening without the need for problem-solving empowers both the speaker and the listener, fostering greater connection and trust in relationships.
I observe this dynamic in both my professional life, where I hold space for people in grief, and in my personal relationships. Recently, I had the privilege of spending an evening in the mountains with a group of intimate women. Our sole purpose was to be together and connect. From the moment we got in the car, we engaged in a beautiful exchange of sharing and listening. As we cooked, relaxed, and delved into our personal struggles, we received reflection from one another. This experience reminded me that we all seek connection and a sense of belonging. It is a lifelong journey to know ourselves and find validation through shared struggles.
The next morning, on June 5th, which would have been Noah's 16th birthday, I awoke with a heavy heart. Anniversaries and milestones bring us closer to our loved ones, allowing us to remember and reflect on their absence. I found myself flooded with memories, unsure of how to express my altered state. However, in the presence of sisterhood, I felt safe enough to name what I was feeling. I was struggling to be present, as my thoughts were consumed by Noah's birth, death, and the moments in between. Instead of pretending I was okay, I acknowledged that my grief was overwhelming me. My friends invited me to share, listened, reflected my wisdom, held me in my tears, and shared stories of Noah. Pouring out my emotions, I felt validated that Noah's life and death had meaning. This cathartic experience left me feeling lighter and grateful for the space my sisters held for me.
This is the power of deep listening—when we refrain from interjecting our own interpretations or guidance. Being held in deep listening empowers us to find our own answers and builds deeper relationships based on trust. Sharing my grief allowed for the next layer of healing to unfold. Being witnessed in my past stories set me free and inspired me to share more of myself in the present. The simple yet profound experience of being held on Noah's birthday allowed me to touch the next layer of my grief, come back to the present moment, and feel more integrated and whole within myself.
I acknowledge that not everyone has a community skilled in holding space for deep feelings like I am fortunate to have. Community plays a vital role in receiving reflection and healing from loss, which is why CSG exists. If you are seeking a safe space to show up as you are, we are here to support you. Everyone is welcome in our circles, and everyone's authentic experiences are worthy of being listened to and witnessed. If you're looking for this support, we have an upcoming Fall cohort of our 6-Month Mindful Grieving Program beginning in October, and also our Awakening Through Grief Retreat on Maui in October.
The power of holding space, deep listening, and witnessing is transformative. By providing a safe and non-judgmental environment for others to express themselves, we foster healing, connection, and a sense of belonging. Let us embrace the magic of deep listening and create communities that uplift and support one another on our unique journeys.