As a spiritual person, holding space tends to be rather intuitive. I’ve done it for years without analyzing or recognizing what it truly is. Holding space for someone is one of the most giving things a person can do because it removes the ego and allows you to fully give of yourself to the person you are seeking to support.
For me, holding space takes many forms and has been a recurring theme in my relationships. I often hold space for my dearest friend miles away when she is in emotional distress, and she will do the same for me. Intention and energy are sent along with support and acceptance for whatever the other person is feeling or experiencing. Holding space provides safety for the person needing support. Sometimes it means the physical support of holding hands or an embrace; a kiss on the forehead to show they are loved as they are. It means being that sounding board to let the other speak freely without judgement on their words, actions, or emotions. It is the eye contact to allow the other to look deeper and find your soul reaching out to them.
Regardless of how the space is held, there is a common thread through it all; holding space is done selflessly. It is done purely to support the other person regardless of personal feelings, opinions, or even the presence of self. Holding space means giving all of yourself to that person for the time needed to support them and to allow the other person the freedom to be themselves completely, without the pressures or stresses to change those parts of themselves that are thought to be undesirable or needing change. Holding space allows them to feel that they can just be; that they are enough as they are. We are all perfectly imperfect, and exactly as we should be.
This weekend, my youngest son and I went out for a while, just the two of us. There is a local centre that has a few boutiques that was having a family fun day. We decided to go and check it out. We wandered around and looked at the fun garden pieces they had for sale, and looked at the delicious organic candies and cookies. I offered to buy him a cookie so we could sit and enjoy the moment, but he opted not to. He asked instead if we could go and find a present that he could gift to his brother for Christmas. We decided to go to Indigo, but before shopping for his brother, we opted to sit and have a drink at Starbucks. He loves the vanilla bean Frappuccino, so I ordered him one of those, and I bought one of their specialty holiday hot drinks for myself. We sat and talked about the holidays and the excitement. We watched people as they came and went. He sipped from his straw as his feet dangled and swung while he sat in his chair. I watched my youngest son as he showed pure happiness by just having some one on one time with me, his mother.
Families often do things together, but it is so important to give children one on one time with their parent too. My older son gets his one on one time as we share our common passion of photography, but there was something magical about this time with the younger one. He is still so full of holiday excitement, seeing the magic of the season. I love the shimmer in his eyes as he talks about our traditions. And the most wonderful part is that none of it involves receiving gifts. It is all the other stuff: the holiday treats, the music, the friends that we gather with, and the special dinner that we decide collectively on having.
This was one of those moments where my heart swells with pride and love. My son is growing up with love and compassion in his heart. As he grows, he is thinking of others more and more. He is becoming more like his older brother every day. They both make me very proud.
You could look at the literal word and think of bodybuilders or construction men or firefighters even. That is simply physical strength though. What about the other strengths out there?
Strength to me is determination and courage. Strength is the struggling student who works a full time job, still makes it to classes and still completes all the requirements to graduate and move their life into a new plane. Strength is the cancer survivor who stays positive during the surgeries, the radiation treatments and the chemotherapy while still being that positive beacon for her children and her husband. Strength is the father going into that surgery knowing full well that he may not wake up from the anesthesia yet taking the chance because if he doesn’t, the cancer still wins. Strength is the wife who stands by his side and supports him because that’s all she can do.
Strength is the child who stands up for his friend against the schoolyard bully, even though he fears being the next target. Strength is the single mother who gets up and goes to work every day to a job that causes her pain, yet she goes anyway because that is what her children need her to do. Strength is the woman who leaves an abuser before it goes too far. Strength is the man suffering depression, but he still gets out of bed every day.
I see all these people around me. Perhaps they do not see their strength, but others do. Strength is all around us. We all have our own battles. Some are more visible than others. Don’t judge others based on what you think you see, for their story is like an iceberg: you may see the tip poking out above the surface, but the rest of the story and reasons for who they are and why they do what they do are hidden underneath in the dark waters.
Have an open mind and an open heart. Give acceptance and love.
What would you do if you saw an animal get hit on the road, and the driver continued on without stopping? Do you stop and help the animal or do you carry on with your day with little thought about the life that was just changed or perhaps ended? Do you believe that one life is worth more than another? That human life means more than animal life?
They say that you can tell a lot about an individual based on how he treats something/someone who cannot do anything for him in return. I personally believe there is a lot of truth in that. Those who can threaten a life, who can kill or hurt another being is not the type of person I welcome into my life. These are they types of people that I have had to remove from my life simply for my own self preservation. In doing so, I have found that there are compassionate individuals out there. I find that in being around those people, it is soothing to my soul. Those who stop to help the injured animals on the side of the road and help with their rehabilitation, those people are angels on earth. Those who help the homeless by providing food, clothing, shelter and a listening ear, those people are making this world a better place to be.
So why are there so many people in the world who hurt others? Why is there domestic violence? Why do husbands hurt their wives? Why can’t we cohabitate regardless of race, creed, gender? Why must we always be at war with humankind? Why do animal abusers do what they do?
There are a lot of quesions that I can’t answer. There are so many things that happen in this world that hurt others. These are the things that need to change. If you cannot treat those who cannot do anything for you in return with kindness and compassion, respect and love, then it begs the question, why are you here?
I believe that every life has purpose. Every being has a reason for its existence. I want my existence to have a positive impact on the world. I do not want my presence on earth to be questioned, and therefore, I have great pride in being one of those individuals who is kind to those who cannot do anything for me in return.