Sunday, August 2, 2015

Holding Space

I recently started playing volleyball with a group of individuals very different and similar to me. We have different faith backgrounds, but are still people of faith. We are all single, but for different reasons. Some have kids, some don't. 

One person from my new circle of friends is....well, there is no one word or even a few words that can sum him up. I'm learning every day that he is more than a bass-playing beach bum. He has a deep soul, and a compassionate and loving heart with great capacity to hold things. He has an easy smile and you can tell he's still a bit of a kid at heart - just wants to love and be loved, and have fun living life. I enjoy being with him and feel content to just be still or to have fun and goof around or have a serious, deep conversation. Every experience with him touches me and changes me, for the better. 

He amazed me again, and reminded me that he is more than just a California boy who loves burritos after volleyball, when he posted something heart-felt on Facebook recently. With his permission (and links to sources he borrowed from), I am sharing it here. I love the idea of "holding space" for others, with compassion and without judgment. Thank you, Matty Boles, for allowing me to share your words here.

“Holding Space”
Where much is given, much is required. These words hold more power and value than I ever imagined. 
As human beings we are born into this world with an innate capacity for giving and receiving love and joy. Over time this gift and capacity becomes exposed to the direct and indirect sorrows and pains of the world which diminishes this pure light. 
Some of us become painfully aware of this deficit in those around us at too early an age. Some fall victim to it and are consumed by it perpetuating the storm. Some are able to find a way to grasp onto and hold tight to a hope in midst of this storm of life. 
As we make our way through this journey we can develop and increase our capacities to give, to love, on so many levels and in so many ways. The opportunities are right before us in nearly each and every moment of our lives.  
In “The Longing Child” years, circumstances and conditions left deficits of love, acceptance, and belonging. Through these came an increased sensitivity to all those around me, feeling for them and through them, learning more about myself through them, and growing to understand, accept, and genuinely loving them without condition. 
These attributes and abilities would grow with me through each stage of life. Along the way creating new and often lasting friendships with many, even some of the least expected. And on into parenthood.  
In the early parenting years with the gift of children comes a brilliant awareness and understanding of Love, and the infinite dynamics of loving. A seemingly immeasurable desire and want for the best of everything for those souls entrusted to us and placed thoughtfully in our care. With this come the grand challenge of finding and creating a healthy balance in the application of time energy and space with our children, allowing or “Holding Space” for them to grow.
In some cases that space goes from a few feet to hundreds sometimes thousands of miles. A measurable physical distance to the mind, and to the heart, an incomprehensible expanse. For this Father, a constant intellectual and emotional conundrum, contemplating and ever searching for the solution…an answer. 
This morning someone shared a thought, a unique soul now in my path along my journey that only found their way in through the concerted and loving effort of another soul who in “Holding Space” in each of our regards for years allowed for timing to do its part. A brilliant article on trust, respect, empowerment and love for others and self. An answer beautifully articulated in the right way at what feels exactly the right time. The answer easing the mind, and bringing needed peace to heart and soul. 
“Holding Space” A willingness to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgment and control.To truly support people in their own growth, transformation, grief, etc., we can’t do it by taking their power away (ie. trying to fix their problems), shaming them (ie. implying that they should know more than they do), or overwhelming them (ie. giving them more information than they’re ready for). We have to be prepared to step to the side so that they can make their own choices, offer them unconditional love and support, give gentle guidance when it’s needed, and make them feel safe even when they make mistakes. -
If we don’t care for ourselves well in this work, we’ll suffer burnout. We are not perfect, and sometimes we still make selfish decisions, but we are doing our best. No matter who or where you are, you can do the beautiful and important work of holding space for ourselves, and other people. -

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