Holding the Space

On occasion, we are all called to ‘hold the space’.

We’re called to de-centre a little and hold a space for others.

It might be at work or at home…it could be an online space we host in some way.

And we do it, we hold a space, so others can be safe and thrive; and while sometimes it can bring joy, it can also bring a heavy spirit and a sense of being overwhelmed.

On the retreats that I host, I will hold the space for all the anger, terror and shame in the group, as well as the joy.

These are forceful energies, and as the space holder, it must all pass through me. And some of the emotions will stay in my psyche and in my body after everyone has gone.

Over the years, I’ve learned that freedom can be a slow arrival after such experiences.

We hold the space between a vision of health and the reality before us. We are here, in this position of honour, because we have a sense of life and health; yet also know the damage that distances us from that.

So we hold a kind and compassionate space in between the two.

Such practice lies at the heart of the word ‘intercede’. Literally, it means ‘between yielding’, holding the struggle between two realities seeking a relationship.

Jesus on the cross is a particular example of this – nailed between heaven and earth, between hope and damage; between the dream of a free soul and a fearful soul.

But we do not need Jesus to know this. We feel it ourselves each time we hold the space at work or at home…or in ourselves.

(Yes, we’ll need to hold this compassionate space for ourselves sometimes, or we will struggle to hold it for others.)

Holding a space in which others are free to struggle, lash out, explore and grow is possibly the most creative act in the world; though it may not feel like this.

And while it may seem strange, if we do give ourselves in this way, it is important that sometimes we don’t.

There’s a price to pay for such holding and sometimes we’ll need to put the role down for a while, to allow for some emptying, some freeing, some letting go, some self-kindness.

Our psyche and our body demand this.

Sometimes, we’ll need simply to hold our own space. You’ll need a long walk in the hills…or whatever you do to recover yourself.

Space-holders are a wonder and a glory; the beating hearts of a creative universe.

But every heart needs looking after.

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