Beyond all the theories, approaches, and techniques, for me companionship is a process of bearing witness to the life of another as they come to befriend themselves in a way that was not possible until now. To be a friend of the breath, discover meaning where it had shattered, to find purpose in the core of the purposelessness, to become artists together of a new world.
This befriending—whether romantic, platonic, or therapeutic—is not ordinary or passive, not always flowing and peaceful. It is fierce, on fire, and an act of revolution. It is the light shining out of the core of the dark night, the outrageousness of the human spirit, and the essential goodness of the human heart.
To walk into the dark wood, together, into the uncertain and hopeless places, without knowing where the journey will lead or if we will make it out in one piece. Making sense together of where they have been, revisioning the narrative with mercy and poetic light. Remembering what matters most and cradling it in our shared heart. To help gather the pieces of the broken world and be midwives together of a merciful reassembling.
To proclaim their experience as utterly valid, their feelings as ragingly honorable, and providing sanctuary where the lost ones of psyche and soma can rest and find their rightful place in the heart. That despite the pain of the present, the traumas of the past, and the fragmented dreams of the future we will reclaim the pieces of soul that only yearn to return home.
We will assert together that pain is not pathology, that they need not be "cured" in order for us to stay near, that their suffering is authentic, that their hopelessness well-founded. That they are is not some project to be improved, but a mystery to be lived.
It is awesome, in the truest sense of the word, to bear witness in this way. To fall to the ground in the beholding of spirit in action, of the unstoppable relentless bravery of the human being, and the relentlessness and creativity of love as it makes its way into form.
Photo credit: James Estrin/ New York Times
My most recent book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is now available
The next book, A Healing Space: Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times, will be published by Sounds True
The next event is The Healing Shame Retreat: Spiritual Awakening and Transforming the Core Wound of Unworthiness, April 24-29, 2019 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, with co-facilitator Jeff Foster