Holding Space for the Suffering of the Holocaust

Presentation by Ellen Korman Mains

As part of the commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Kevin McEvenue’s Wholebody Focusing Blog helped sponsor an online gathering, attended by people from at least 6 countries. Author, Holocaust activist, and Focusing Teacher Ellen Korman Mains led a discussion on ways to hold space for and participate in the healing that needs to happen around the devastation of the Holocaust.

This post has an abridged version of Ellen’s presentation to the participants that supported small group Heart Conversation on this topic. Ellen starts her comments with a discussion of time itself. How are the past, present, and future connected? Can we relate to trauma in the past? Do these past actions relate to what is happening now? And, most importantly, how can holding space for the past carry us forward?

Ellen talks about the history of witnessing the Holocaust—how it was avoided by many at first. It is challenging to hold such horrors in our consciousness. She describes the process of becoming a witness and why witnessing matters. What is the impact on the person who is a witness? Can it change the energy of those spirits who lived through this tragedy?

Ellen draws on her work and the work of other healers for inspiration. She describes the process of being a witness at Auschwitz as “shattering” initially; however, if one is able and willing to stay present to the energy of the experience, a peacefulness emerges and extends into a sense of spaciousness and well-being.

This video is about 18 minutes long but well worth the effort to watch. For me, it is a convincing explanation of how we can heal ourselves, the past, and the future through this type of energy work. This kind of holding of space for suffering can also be helpful in many other circumstances in which unattended suffering still has us in its grip.

Sit back and take your time being with Ellen and her wisdom.

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4 thoughts on “Holding Space for the Suffering of the Holocaust”

  1. There is so much there for me as you tell your story and ended with “Why the Jews”…….? It is almost like the Jews embody our own story, and they have been chosen to tell us of our embodied history of suffering that we all carry, so that we can be the witness of a healing of that. A healing of those souls that could ….but now we can…and since we carry this history in our own embodiment, whether we are aware of it or not, our own lives have expanded and have become more whole each time we are willing to witness like this. The world itself becomes more whole as we engage with this suffering. That is something we can do!


  2. Kevin, your words brought more breath to my body, especially when I took in “the world itself becomes more whole . . .” The sense of connection brought space, dissolving the deeply-held myth of being separate, being different, being excluded. Thank you for hearing and reflecting so deeply.

  3. Thank you for posting this. This is such a difficult topic to face and to bring into the light and I really appreciate the way in which you have helped me be the witness. While this is a Jewish story, it is also a human story – for many a story that tells us something about being human that we do not want to know. Thank you.

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