Day 3131: Witnessing

As a therapist, I am constantly witnessing people’s pain, progress, traumatic experiences, growth, despair, and hope.

These days, I am also witnessing the stories and performances of Olympic athletes, who spend so much of their lives in the pain and promise of preparing for the games. In addition, yesterday I spent several hours witnessing the agony and bravery of the four Capitol Police Officers who were part of the very thin blue line between a violent mob and the members of the U.S. Congress on January 6.

While witnessing pain can cause second hand trauma, I cannot turn away, nor do I want to.

I think our best chance for survival is to commit to witnessing each other’s pain, as well as the pain of other species throughout this planet.

Yesterday, during a heavy day of witnessing, I was witnessed on Twitter posting this:

I appreciate, more than I can say, your witnessing that and all my other images for today.

After witnessing that shrine of candles on my walk for several days, I am now witnessing the loss of Carlos Soto-Mendez, age 23.

When I search YouTube for “witnessing,” I find this

… and this:

I look forward to witnessing your comments, below.

Heartfelt thanks to all who are witnessing, here and now, including YOU.

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

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21 thoughts on “Day 3131: Witnessing

  1. We witnessed it (on our screens) on Jan. 6, Ann and will not allow the script to be altered in our minds and hearts by a portion of America since. Thank you to the brave folks who are retelling that horrific insurrection they lived through again.

  2. I watched Simone make what might be the most important move of her life, and an incredible example for all of us to put what’s really important first. I also watched the entire hearing yesterday and was filled with compassion, devastation, and a heart-wrenching pain for all the officers (along with all the others who weren’t there), on that day. I feel forever changed by it.

  3. puella33

    I just don’t understand some politicians can refer to the violent crowd of Jan. 6th as “peaceful and loving”. Do they really believe, we’re stupid?

  4. A bald man can’t identify with one with a full mane. A disabled person can’t identify with one who has full mobile capabilities. And visa verse.
    But, pain, no matter its origin, has a distinct impact on all and a nature that is easily understood among the masses, simply in uttering “I hurt”.
    No matter our preferences or view of things I dare say that this common alliance can be joined with in the same on a hill some 2,000 years ago.
    -Alan

  5. We need clear and accurate testimony of what happened on January 6th, and the officers who are telling their stories, who are calling the violent individuals who attacked and tried to undermine democracy, are doing just that. Several people have said that it needs to be clear just how close we came to seeing, live, the murders of members of Congress, as if the horrors of that day weren’t enough.
    When I think of witnessing, though, I think of something else I read recently, in a New York Times article called “What Thurgood Marshall Taught Me”. Justice Marshall shared a story of a clearly troubled woman who brought several unnecessary lawsuits to the Court of Appeals. Her cases were always dismissed without being heard. Finally the court decided to hear one of her cases. She was given fifteen minutes to speak. She never brought another suit.
    I want to emphasize that these are very different situations. The terrorists who attacked the capitol weren’t, and wouldn’t be, satisfied with just being heard. And making it even worse we have some members of Congress who are afraid of letting the officers who defended the capitol be heard; some members of Congress aided that attack and they’re afraid of the facts. We need to make sure the facts are heard and remembered, and acted upon.

  6. My condolences to Carlos’s family.

  7. Ann, at the time today I read your post this morning, I had not heard or read any of the officers’ testimony because for the past couple of weeks I’ve been looking after my 2-year-old granddaughter, who I hadn’t seen in such a long time and who had come across the border from the states and was quarantining with me.

    I just now watched a video of one officer’s testimony and it was gutting. I so admire how he expressed himself so openly and clearly. Every word was honed. None were wasted. Utterly unforgettable.

    I now understand better what you were saying about being a witness to trauma. Thank you for your sensitive post.

  8. May something meaningful come out of this hearing

  9. I am witness to Harley’s wisdom.

  10. Pingback: Day 3132: Peace of Mind | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  11. There’s a lot of emotion to witness, isn’t there? I really agree with the importance of acknowledging others’ pain and distress. It often feels like this is a missing component that if put into regular practice could change society to great benefit. Thanks, Ann, for the reminder. ❤

  12. I am glad to witness you and this comment, my good friend.

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