A Life Witnessed

Aug 24 / Dr Nicki Spies
Recently, I had an ordinary experience which led to an extraordinary insight which, in turn, had a profound effect on how I engage with others.

During the summer months I started a small succulent nursery as I wanted to propagate several hardy and drought-resistant groundcovers. I planted a variety of these tough little plants in pots and placed them in a sunny spot in my back garden.

A life witnessed

During March my practice was quite busy and thereafter Covid-19 hit South Africa. I was so consumed with all to which I needed to tend, that I did not walk around to the back garden of our home for weeks. One day, during a rainstorm, I suddenly remembered that most of the drought-resistant ground covers were potted in old pots which has no draining holes.

After the storm I walked to the back garden only to find most of these little plants drowning in their pots. I placed them on their sides, drained the rainwater and moved them under cover. As I stood looking at the row of these usually robust plants which now looked very pitiful, I remembered the well-known idiom: ‘a farmer’s footsteps are the best fertilizer’. In the moment, I realized that I should have applied this lesson to my garden because due to my absence, I was oblivious to what had been happening to my plants.

This got me thinking

This got me thinking. How often do I forget to check-in with my friends, family and colleagues, especially those who are tough and resilient? We get busy, our lives become demanding and we neglect to take notice of those who we perceive as strong. In fact, I often do not take notice because I am not present when my time becomes so filled with responsibilities.

I do not notice because I do not take the time to notice. I do not notice because I when I feel so stretched, I don’t engage - especially because I am an introvert. Being an introvert, I am quite happy to stay in my own bubble when I am processing changes or challenges. However, it is important to remain present in these moments of difficulty as we create meaning in our relationships - personal and professional - by engaging and sharing our lived experiences.
A life witnessed is a life noticed. A life noticed invites care, awareness and connection. We need to fertilize our relationships by being present. By noticing. By taking care. By being aware.
Dr Nicki Spies
By sharing and communicating our lived experiences, our lives become witnessed. In turn, we become the witnesses of others’ lives. A life witnessed is a life noticed. A life noticed invites care, awareness and connection. We need to fertilize our relationships by being present. By noticing. By taking care. By being aware.

When last did we really look to see the other’s soul? Listened to hear their heart? Consider what their silence might hold? When last did we even reflect on our own state of being? Please remember to check-in not only with yourself, but also with family, friends and colleagues by being a compassionate witness to their lives and those things which are meaningful to them.

In the landscapes of our emotional gardens, there are many seasons. Let us be mindful and aware of our different needs in our respective emotional landscapes and seasons. By being present and giving some of our time, we can help others to survive and even thrive during challenging times.

Dr. Nicki Spies

COUNSELOR | COACH | PUBLIC SPEAKER
About me
Applying my expertise as coach, counsellor, facilitator and researcher I create training and developmental modules for individuals and teams to maximise their personal and professional potential.

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