Day 316 - Holding Space
Holding space means that we are willing to walk beside someone for a part of their journey. We walk in silent contemplation, that is free of judgment. We are not walking with them to fix them or make them do what we think is best. We are walking along side them to just be there in case they need us. We create a space so that when they need to reach out, we are present, available and there. There are two paths in this sojourn, ours and theirs. Theirs is the active path, they are the ones trudging and pushing. Ours is the less active or more passive path, we are simply walking along opening our hearts, providing unconditional support without judgment or the desire to control the other person’s outcome. We hold space open for them to connect to us, if and when they might need to.
Have you ever had someone hold space for you?
Doesn’t it feel amazing. For me, it is like taking a long walk in an old wood with a silent friend. We are not talking, we are just walking. Whenever I look for them, they are right there. When I get concerned or insecure, they are able to reach across the path and comfort me, encourage me and keep me going. They are not concerned with their own agenda. Their only agenda is to help me on mine.
It feels equally amazing to be on the space holding side of the path. To allow your own agenda, ideas, beliefs and need to control to just fall away. To disappear into the ethos that surround all human connection. To allow the grace to be the guiding force that is stronger than ego, knowledge and ideas.
Holding space is a quiet task. It is not full of activity or chatter, but it is incredibly hard to do. It is worth the effort it takes because really showing up for someone in this manner is one of the most human and worthwhile things one can do.
Holding space can also involve talking, hugging, crying and the like. But I like the idea of holding space to be silent. Too many things are done with words...too much of our lives is directed and controlled by the flow of words. I like the idea of silent togetherness being the best and most influential way to hold space for another soul. I like this so much that I am going to start offering it to my friends and loved ones. When they need support, I am going to invite them on a long hike in the woods that will be silent. I am going to let them know that my only purpose in being there is to be present for them for whatever they may need. They can talk if they want but I will suggest that perhaps the first few minutes are spent silent so that we both can access the emotional depth that exists just beyond words and conversation.
To me, this holding of space, is the most intimate thing I can do for someone who is hurting. The most sincere and loving gift I can give them: the whole of my presence in nature where solution and grace abound.
The older I get the more I feel pulled into nature. The more I want to retreat into the Redwood forest and spend less time talking and more time listening to the sounds of nature which includes the human voice.
I also believe that we can hold space for ourselves. We can take ourselves on this walk and be silent with our thoughts. No music or audible books. Just silent walking with ourselves leaving judgment, solution and ideas behind. Those will all be waiting for us when we return. But for the duration of the hike, we walk in silent, loving kindness for ourselves.
Holding space is easy to think about but much harder to do. It is amazing to me how much my head needs to find solutions and ideas and judge. My head is forever coming up with right/wrong, good/bad, preferred/non-preferred ideas about everything all the time. It is honestly exhausting. This is why I am going to start a very quiet and small revolution of holding space.
I need the practice so if anyone who is reading my daily drivel, is in need of some space being held, please let me know. I would love the opportunity to show up for you in quiet stillness in the forest of equanimity. To walk alongside you providing whatever it is you might need...I would be honored to hold some space for you. And I would really like to encourage a space holding dialogue to begin...on this blog, in my relationships, in my community and in the world.
When there are so many things that we can give to each other, holding space seems like the most perfect and precious gift because it can be done for someone without their knowledge or consent. A long walk in the woods is perfect, but I can also hold space for you from a distance. I can let you know that I am there and available and willing to listen to you without judgment, control or a good idea about what you should do. Holding space can be done in a quiet wood in person or I can take that same walk solo and hold all that beautiful space for you. I can send you loving space and take in your pain and hurt and sorrow, even when it might feel like I have enough of my own.
For me the best use of this life that I have been gifted is to experience it fully so that I may feel all the varied emotions better and be willing to feel it all completely with the strong and loving desire that my willingness to feel it all alleviates the pain of someone else, even slightly. I am going to begin a new practice of space holding. Please let me know if there is any space I can hold for you...