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The Importance of Being Witnessed


Rev. Chani Getter

September 17, 2019

A Rosh Hashanah Reflection

The new year – both Jewish and Secular – is about reflecting on the years gone by and setting intentions for the year to come. 

As many of you know on June 25th, 2017 I got injured and have been suffering from PCS (post-concussion syndrome). As I struggled to figure out how to take care of the symptoms, I finally took two months to heal, reflect, retreat in order to come up with a plan for going forward.

As the 8 weeks of my medical leave from work come to a close, I am reflecting on how I have spent my time and what I have learned over these past 2 months.

I am proud that I truly took the time to heal; I did NOT finish projects at home (which beckoned every day), take time marketing my business (which always feels important), or waste time watching TV (which is so easy to zone out even if it gives me headaches). Instead, I checked in with my body every day. I went to numerous medical doctors to diagnose issues that I had been ignoring. I went to a plethora of professionals such as physicalcognitive, vision therapies and, of course, my regular therapist appointments. I tried numerous alternative healings, such as sound healing, cranial sacral massage, chakra work and energy healing. I said NO, over and over again to things that I felt would take too much of my energy. Lastly, I went away for 4 days to a private retreat where I could come to terms with ALL of what is happening to my body while reconnecting with my soul.

During my time away, I was blessed to stay in twenty-two acres of woods with Arti, who held all that came up for me and more. She calls her retreats Chrysalis Springs and that is exactly what it felt like.  I was able to go into the chrysalis and deal with my injury and come out as a new butterfly. In being witnessed, I healed.  

I have spent the past 20 years of my life growing, healing and looking deeply into what is next for me. I came to understand that this injury has its own lessons to teach. These are lessons that will take some time as I learn to live with it.  I finally fully noticed the pain I have been carrying for all this time and the judgment I had around it, the harshness with which I pushed myself. 

I came away with three major takeaways from these past two months of listening of being witnessed and of witnessing all in myself that came up.

1 – Although I have been working on boundaries for years, I have more work to do. I need to put stronger boundaries up to better protect my health and my energy levels. 

2 – I need more gentleness around this injury and I need to be the one to give it to myself. 

3 – I need to keep checking in with my body and give it what it needs.

Throughout my healing process, my family has been amazing and supportive, but ultimately, I need to be the one checking in with myself, putting up boundaries and being gentle.

It feels like synchronicity that the episode of The Forbidden Apple podcast I am featured on about the importance of being witnessed was just released. It was an honor spending time with Melissa and Pelayo in conversation about this important topic. My work at Footsteps and in my private practice (which includes transition coaching, spiritual counseling and officiating ceremonies), is all about witnessing my clients through their big and small moments. 

As I transition from my healing time back into my private practice and my work at Footsteps, I am grateful for the time I took to regroup and recharge, and I look forward to showing up for myself and for the world, in this new year in a deeper and more present way.  

Many Blessings

Shana Tova (Happy Jewish New Year)


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