Have you ever been driving with a friend, spouse or partner, having an in depth conversation and you suddenly notice they have left? They have left the conversation and you are now all alone, as they are off processing, having a conversation by themselves that you are not part of. Or maybe you were the one who left.
One minute they were with you, tracking right along with the conversation, connected to the cocreation of your shared exchange and next thing you know the connection has been cut off and they are no longer present together with you AND their thoughts. They are now, singularly, conversing with the thoughts in their mind and they have given you no ‘heads up” that they would be right back, or maybe not. Or maybe you have the habit of doing this.
Now, have you ever been with someone who is connected and engaged with you in the exploration of mutually interesting conversation and they pause to say, “Hold on one minute, let me think about that”. They notify you that they are with you, while they go deeper in thought to add something to the connection.
In the latter example they go “within” to add to the connection and co creation of your relationship.
In the first example they disconnect, “without” acknowledgement, permission, or consideration and you are left wondering when they will come back and will they bring anything back that will add to your shared time together.
In the second situation, you wait with connected anticipation to see where their added value will take the conversation.
In both scenarios it is the connection that matters or the “Withness”.
Whether that withness is with another or ourselves, we can only feel its power when we witness our withness or not.
I recently witnessed the natural power of “Withness” in one of its most true, intimate and spectacularly obvious natural forms, when I took a coaching client for a walk with Kylian and Brenda Lee and Lucy.
Brenda Lee was on a 12’ lead line and Kylian was allowed to roam free. What became immediately obvious was the palpable connection between Brenda Lee and Kylian. Wherever Kylian went he was “with” Brenda Lee. If he was in front, he was looking back at her, maintaining the connection, if he was off to the side or behind her he was constantly measuring his connection with Brenda Lee and us as his herd, while having fun expressing himself in playful frolicking.
Brenda Lee was aware not only of her connection with Kylian, Lucy, and us, she was also very aware of our connection with ourselves. When we were “with” she was “with”. When we went within and left the herd, lost in thought, she would immediately let us know the way a 1750 lb alpha mare Shire lets you know. At first she would lay flat one ear, then project her head, then swish her tail, and if we did not reconnect with ourselves and the herd immediately, you would feel a wave of energy that preceded her actual physical reminder to wake up and get “With IT”. With IT being the inner truth of where we were or were not. Were we truly present with our thoughts included, or were we disconnected lost in our thoughts.
To Brenda Lee this was a non negotiable state. You were either with us or you were not and if not she would give you ample reminders before she forced an awakening. I’ll leave it to your imagination how Brenda Lee wakes someone up who is no longer with her. She is very adept at bringing your “within”, out.
At one juncture Kylian actually left Brenda Lee as he playfully chased Lucy. Only during this frolick he became so focused on Lucy that he left Brenda Lee and from 50 ft away Brenda Lee let him know that was not acceptable and he had to ask his way back “With her”
In the end all of our connections with ourselves and each other were so strong that we ran up and down the sand piles bumping off each others bodies like best friends using each others body as leaning posts like we all did as children and sometimes are lucky enough to do as adults.
This time though our friends were 1710 and 990 lbs and 6 lbs and they were directed by mother nature herself.
This withness was naturally beautiful and required no need to make sense of it only sense it for its wisdom to change us forever.
Thinking about our experience the other day – there are many times in life that you be with other people or animals but you are not “with” them in that moment. Seeing how Kylian would run “free” but alway be with us was amazing. Kylian was having fun while staying with us (especially Brenda) in the moment – continuously looking back while seeing ahead. I realized that many times I am physically with somebody but I am not “with” them. Withness is a grounding and a presence that I will continue to present with and foster. - coaching client and witness of the Withness.
Thank you Brenda Lee, Kylian and Lucy.
Feel the Connection,
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