Thursday, February 7, 2013

Holding Space

By Sunday, I was overloaded. You know that bone aching exhaustion that leads us by the scruff of the neck to a restless, wobbling sleep? So tired that you don't sleep well. I rolled and jerked all through the eleven hours I lay sprawled in bed Saturday night. Come Sunday morning, the weight behind my eye sockets had only softened to an ache, and my bones fared no better.

I speak about “holding space” and “creating space” almost obsessively, in my classes, in my life, in my own head. But while I can talk about “creating space” until I'm all colors of the rainbow in the face, until I feel it, or feel the lack of it, I don't GET it.

Holding space: The intentional acknowledgment that something is important enough to devote time or physical space to. When we create an altar, we must hold space for that. One of my ex boyfriends had an altar next to his bedside, and even the household cats knew the rule: anything that didn't belong there must not be placed there. That altar was an intentional, holy space.

Everything we intentionally choose to make time for is holy. Every. Single. Thing. Me writing this is holy, you reading this is holy. Even when we experience grief, and we acknowledge that it is important to FEEL that, to go THROUGH it. We make that grief holy.

That is why I say there is space for all things. ALL things. The good, the bad, the pretty, the ugly. What happens when we ignore something, when we don't give space to something? It either disappears or gets stuffed, constricted. Grief and pain that isn't acknowledged is still grief and pain, and it continues to fester, to boil, until the kettle sings and the universe MAKES the space for us. All that hidden feeling overflows until we fear it might consume us.

I did not hold space for rest, for quiet, for silence, for recuperation last weekend. So the universe made the space for me. I felt the electricity in my skin, the irritability in my face and in my chest. Claustrophobia is not just a physical fear, it's an energetic need. My body was physically unable to do anything but the minimum requirements until I felt rested enough to return to a normal schedule.

How we choose to hold space speaks great volumes about what we value, and there is a difference between making the time and holding the space. We usually make time to brush our teeth, and we do this on auto-pilot. We hold space when a friend needs us to listen. Usually. But even then, we must be watchful. That conversation you just had with the grocery clerk, with your best friend, with your partner? Were you really present with them?

I've lost count of the moments, the conversations, the interactions I wasn't present in. I used up time for those moments, sure, but I didn't hold space for those. Those are the moments that slip by, ignored.

The things we do not hold space for either drop away, ignored, or blow up. Does that serve us? Does that serve the ones we love?

How will you hold space for yourself?


So much LOVE for all of you! Thank you for continuing to read these stories, and welcome to anyone new! Always know if you ever have a reaction, a thought, a feeling, a question, or a story to share, this blog is not just my space. This is yours, too. Let your voice be heard!