I came up with this article because as of recent, I have been feeling like I am holding space for just about everyone and everything going on. From my boyfriend, to my close friends, to the riots in Baltimore to the present day elections in my home country of Guyana….I am doing what I can do in situations where most people feel helpless…I am holding space.
What does that mean exactly? To hold space means to be available mentally, emotionally and spiritually for someone or some event while the person or event is happening. You are lending your energy to it and providing positive energy and vibes for everything to go smoothly. It doesn’t mean you bear the burden of another (thats another technique and another blog), it simply means to allow the person or thing to happen as it is going to naturally happen and you do what you can to provide a safe environment while the events occur.
I think of imploding. Imploding because my new favorite word in 2014 when I had a particularly tough year and everyday I felt like I was internally combusting. To implode means to collapse violently inward and usually as this happens on the inside, nothing can be perceived from the outside. Last year as my world crumbled around me, I maintained a smile on my face the whole time. Imploding.
Imploding happens in my circle. My group of people are actively seeking enlightenment and a better way to live and to be. This means they are actively going after their old belief patterns, changing born-with behaviors and addressing the triggers that occur in their daily lives. They are not blaming others for their hurt feelings, they are accepting responsibility and understanding that no one can hurt us, it is our perception that hurts ourselves. As fun and exciting as this sounds, it is not easy work. To accept responsibility for your pain is painful work. You have to go into it, process it, analyze it and ultimately come out stronger than before because you overcome it. As this happens, the world can seem like a dark and unfriendly place and this is where you can come in for your loved one. You can hold space.
So how exactly do you hold space? There are many different ways to do this but ultimately the general idea is to be present and be available for that person emotionally and spiritually. It does not mean a physical presence at all. Recently my boyfriend lost a very good friend of his and he imploded. It was a sudden death and the shock was too much for him to bear along with his grief. He withdrew into a cave and for one week I didn’t hear from him but I still held space for him. Energetically I reached out to let him know I was here for him when he was ready and physically I gave him space to deal with the pain he was experiencing. That too is holding space.
Here are some more ideas of what you can do when you have someone near to you suffering or experiencing a traumatic event. You can even do this for events , like I did for the recent Baltimore riots:
1) Keep your ego out of it.
Ahh yes ego, the world revolves around us and its all about us…on a regular day, however whenever you are faced with a situation where someone is hurting, the attention naturally has to turn to them. You don’t offer your opinion at this time. Even though you have had great success with coping skill #1, #2 and #3, it is not what they want or need at this time UNLESS they ask you for it. What a grieving person needs is your time and your ear and for the conversation and energy to be about them. Not you. Also whatever they are going through is unique to their path and your opinions do not count. This is not a time to be assertive or efficient, life lessons rarely come with an efficient plan, it is meant to happen to mess up your plans so you can go in and process what is happening. At this time save the advice, “I told you so” and reprimands for some other time…or better yet never. Hurting people don’t need more hurt, they need acceptance and this is what you can give at this time.
2) Give only enough information they can handle
I recently experienced this with my boyfriend. The one mistake I made during his time of grieving was trying too hard to act normal and keep life going because I felt it would help. What happened unfortunately was he became overwhelmed with the to-dos of our days and social commitments we made before the death of his friend. When someone is hurting, life slows down. They do not have the energy or stamina to keep going with regular day to day activities, so be mindful of this. After that one week of no communication, when he slowly came back to me, I was mindful to only share with him information he needed to know at that time. I went ahead and started canceling our plans with our friends for get togethers and dinners because I wanted to buy him some more time to release and to heal from his recent upset. This is what you can do as well. When you are in this situation, become proactive and shelter your loved one from the world. Only relay information to them that they need to know. They don’t care if you make dinner or order in, little tasks like that you can handle on your own. The more time they have to themselves to handle the situation they are in, the faster the process and the sooner they can make it out.
3) Allow people to make their own decisions and trust their own intuition
This is a hard one for stubborn and domineering space holders and yes I am talking about myself. I feel I know everything! So when my loved ones hurt, it is a challenge for me to shut up and listen to them devise ways of how they are processing and what they plan to do. It never, ever meets my standards! The lesson here that I learned (the hard way) is that the situation came about exactly for that reason. For people to learn and grow and trust their own intuition, they have to be placed in some pretty hairy situations that requires their cunning and tact to bring them out of it. When you step back and just lend your energy to the situation, you do several things for the person experiencing this issue:
– You don’t take their power away by letting them make their own decisions
– You make them feel safe enough to fail because you are not judging or condemning
– You allow them to have different experiences and feelings than you and that makes them feel unique and empowered
Tragedy and upset doesn’t have to tear someone down. It is a perfect opportunity to build someone up stronger and better than they were before. Use these tips wisely and you and your loved ones can make it out of difficult situations peacefully and with more consciousness than you had before going into it.
As you choose to hold space for someone or some event, it is important to remember to see the unifying factors that bring people together not the dividing factors that rip us apart. It becomes a choice of are you acting from ego or spirit? Are you trying to help or further complicate the situation?
For me, I want to help. I want to be the one that people know they can come to without fear of judgment or condemnation, that I would provide a safe space for them to implode (or explode) and no matter what happens or what I bear witness to, I will still accept and love them as they are, not as how I want them to be.
Start today creating safe spaces. You will be amazed at how much you can help by just being and not doing.
Love and light,
People surprise me everyday. Just when I think I have an understanding of the human race, someone goes and pulls a stunt to make me question why I am on this planet still. I get it. I think differently and tend to do things differently but still…..we can’t be this self serving.
I think this will be one of my more important blog posts because I am sure….I am CONFIDENT that there are people who suffer because of silliness like this. Luckily for me, I was born without a sensor and will break it down in hopefully a helpful way to help those who cannot help themselves. You know who you are, the meek, the mild and the walked on people of the world.
Today an incident came up that reminded me no matter how far you go, how much lessons you learn, there will still be challenges to overcome. AND if you are not strong in your belief, if you are not confident in your path…someone somewhere can really knock you down.
I have a person in my life that is well, a little difficult for me to handle. I am NOT saying this person is a difficult person. I am saying that interacting with this person is a difficult task for me.
Let’s be real. You are not going to get along with everyone you meet. We are all different personalities and you tend to hang out with the ones similar to you and stay far,far away from the ones that are a complete polar opposite to you. I should have stayed far away because this person and I? complete opposites. Funny thing about after a blow out, you always knew it would come to this. With this person, I knew from the moment I met him that we would have very different views on many things. His behavior and demeanor is different to mine. I always kept my impressions to myself about this person because its just that, MY impressions….not reality, just my opinion. However isn’t it funny the way life works? Soon others would come to me and mention things about this person that I myself felt. I would nod and listen but silently think to myself, isn’t this funny? I think the same thing.
However, I believe in giving everyone a fair chance. I don’t judge, I pay attention. Throughout the years of knowing this person, I have noticed several things that bother me, but I always take the blame on it. “You know he doesn’t know better, he doesn’t know how he comes across, he didn’t mean it, he is really a nice person but just an unsettling presence.” However today, no more.
This person and I had it out in a back and forth email brawl and when I realized the difference of our opinions, lifestyles, beliefs were not going to change, I conceded defeat by choosing to walk away from this person AND wishing them well. I get that some people are in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime and I have gotten really good at ending friendships in a casual way without hurting or insulting the other person.
I promised I would still speak highly of them to others because of his career (he is really good at what he does professionally) but this whole experience left a bitter taste in my mouth and I chose to end the friendship part of our interactions and stick with the professional association.
Clearly I was wrong somewhere because this person came back in attack mode. He made me to understand that I was rude and disrespectful, I felt like I did no wrong, I did not or do not apologize for wrong behavior and I had anger issues.
STOP. See its a lucky thing I am me and I know better. I have been in this situation before and thankfully, I learned not to succumb to the pressure of “Well if several people tell you the same thing, maybe they are right.”
No they are not right. That is their view. That is their opinion of me and I have a real, rude awakening for you folks…here it is: Your Opinion Does Not Define My Reality.
In fact, NO ONE’S opinion of you defines your reality. That is their perception. So let’s think about this. There may be five people right now who think I am rude and disrespectful with an anger issue. If I put this fact in a bubble, it makes me feel insecure. Wow, people really think I am such and such. And 5 people? Oh wow, that’s a lot, so maybe I need to stop and think about this.
Take it out the bubble and remind myself of the fact that I have over 400 Facebook friends, over 1000 real life friends and over 2,000 acquaintances/ work colleagues/ family members and that 5 don’t seem like such a big deal.
I know the Yogis believe that everything and everyone is a mirror. So technically this person calling me rude and disrespectful is really describing himself (which by the way is a correct evaluation of him given the exchange). Does that help? A little. You know what helps more? Realizing that not everyone can handle you. I am not everyone’s cup of tea and if I try to become so, then I have to weaken my strength to become acceptable and dare i say it, “drinkable” for the masses.
I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be bearable. I didn’t come in this world to dim my shine to make others feel comfortable. I am who I am and I proudly stand by it.
Now this by no means is a green card to do what you want and as you please without regard for other’s safety and care. You have to always be respectful and kind wherever necessary. However if someone crosses your boundary, then absolutely…give them hell.
My boyfriend? Nicest guy in the world but he will tell you plainly, “I give someone three complimentary punches to my face before I retaliate. The first time might be a mistake, the second time you are more sure but by the third time, you are definitely certain this is the path you want to go down in which case, I will respond.”
With this person today, we were going back and forth over email about a dispute we were having. I was firm and to the point about it and this clearly was too much for him. He came back with the insults of calling me rude and disrespectful and that’s when the boundary was crossed. I had not described him or his attributes in any way. The gloves came off.
Needless to say, I have no problem walking away from this problem person because:
1) I have my ethics and integrity as I know the issues I was having with this person has happened before to other people who confided in me about their situations with him.
2) I value myself over all others so his impressions of me meant nothing to me. I did not think of myself as rude or disrespectful and what really matters is what I think of myself, not what him or others think of me.
3) His opinion represents his thoughts of me and the situation at hand. I do not need to surround myself with people who feel I am capable of being unfair or judgmental.
There is a Guyanese saying that my mom frequently uses with me, “Girl your mouth na left in your mother’s belly.” Meaning that I had guts and I was fearless. I was going to speak up no matter what and say what I have to say.
I wish everyone was like this. If they were, can you imagine? No more miscommunication, no hidden or mixed messages or signals, everything would be out in the open! We would know without a shadow of a doubt who was for us and against us. And you know what? We would be ok with it.
So why am I sharing my little ordeal today with you? Because I know this happens to you too. You get into a dispute with someone, they come out swinging and calling you names or falsely making accusations against your character and feel justified because they said it. They said it, it is out in the open so it must be true right? No, its not.
I am asking you to reclaim your power. How do you reclaim it? You reclaim your power by NOT believing everything said or written to you. You know how you spell check your essay? Well double check the content being delivered to you. Check the angle the person is coming from. Is it from a good place or a negative place? Are they trying to help you or bring you down? What is the motive?
This person feels I believe I am always right. My boyfriend could easily clear that up for him. Many times my love and I have discussions where he brings forth information in a loving and caring manner. I think about it, I double check it and then I either disagree or agree with him (more times than not I agree with him cause he is super smart!) and I have no problem admitting my fault or apologizing for something I did. Why? Because these were not attacks on my character, it was delivered with tact and love and it was meant to grow me not harm me.
So the next time this happens to you, run it through your fact checker before you allow someone else’s opinion to define you. Heck even if you agree with them, it still doesn’t define you because guess what? You can change.
This life is beautiful because at every turn we are given a chance to change, to grow, to live and learn. The people in your life should be helping you with these lessons not attacking you or bringing you down. Don’t give them that power….reclaim it and live your life for you. No excuses and no feelings of regret. You can do this, I believe in you and heck… I will say it! If I can do it, you can too.
Love and light and until next time,
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