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,
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