Artist Sacred Dancer Author
Mama of Sanctuary Forest Wild Garden
Mama of Sanctuary Forest Wild Garden
As I contemplate, heal myself and shed layers and layers of 'skin', many areas emerge into my conscious level. An area I have been healing myself is competition. I was very disappointed and somehow disillusioned why there are so many fights, backstabs and competition in every field that I was in, whether in teaching or in therapy or in some collaboration. Why are we so judgemental and trying to claim so hard our place and biting at each other? I was also at times too blaming but does it help by being angry and feeling like a victim? However I was so grateful my soul, God in me, pulled me away not to get involved in this game. I choose many times to reconcile and forgive and heal the relationships with the persons who hurt me if I was given the opportunity. At the same time, I also learnt to set clear boundary as a result when others continuously try to hurt me.
This unhealthy belief system of the need to compete with each other affected me and caused strain relationship with others. It can be so unconscious and subtle. I can also pick it up right away in others. This was hard as I find myself not being able to be with others when I am so hyper sensitive. So how do I learn to manage it then? It takes me years to heal and be at peace before I can be in a space to hold others and not be influenced, drawn, participated or affected as the subtleness can be so contagious that I could get suck in without knowing. I am again so grateful when I go into my silence, my inner guidance, my soul, God in me will awaken me to see it. If we are not careful, we can end up in the space of complaints, blaming, judging, competing, gossiping and hurting each other. I finally understood why people pull people down. When we don't heal ourselves, we get caught in the web of unhealthy behaviours and attitudes. Are you aware or feel that you are pulled into the circle of people who complain non-stop and start joining in too and later feeling so unsettled what was going on and leaving the group feeling worse than before? Even you do not participate in it, do you find yourself not nourished at the end of the conversation?
Yesterday when I wrote about holding space for the elderly with Dementia and Alzheimer in my session, a very clear insight on holding space dawned on me. Writing the book with my co-author, and also teaching about holding space in my training, I find holding space is one of the essences and keys a person needs to be to facilitate a group. She thought that it is from the perspective of therapy and not everyone will be able to understand it and they are not doing therapy. Her answer left me ponder over it for the last 1 year as I wrote my chapters. And I see that holding space is not for trained therapist alone and that only therapists are trained to hold the space.
Holding space is just a term coined and become more talked about today and is not new. The tribal natives know how to hold space with each other while they pray, chant, sing and dance or heal each other in circles. I realise it is not new to me too. I learnt this skill about holding space which they don't use this term when I was a sponsor to a group of Cathehumans journeying to become Catholics in my early 20s.
As I studied in the areas from cradle to grave, the way we hold space becomes more clear to me now.
Holding space happens all the time in our daily life.
How a mother holds the space for her child.
How a friend holds a conversation with another friend.
How a nurse holds the space with her patient.
How a facilitator holds the space for her group.
How a couple holds the space for each other.
How a therapist holds the space for his/her client.
How an artist holds the space in a workshop.
How a teacher holds the space with his/her students.
How a priest holds the space with his congregation.
How a speaker holds the space in a conference.
How a boss holds the space with his employees in meetings.
How a person holds space live in facebook.
Holding others while in grief, fear, pain, tears, sadness. anger...
And I can go on and on...
And a very important one is
how we hold space for ourselves.
How my Authentic Movement teacher Celine holds the space in the session is very different from how my spiritual director coach Nita holds the space for me and so is my former supervisor, Penny. How I hold the space with the elderly is also very different. There are some similar essences in the quality and characteristics in their holding space however one clear fact is that we bring ourselves who we are into the space as we hold the space for someone else. I also recognise a very clear distinct similarities of those who hold the space in a loving compassionate way is that they themselves have gone through the healing journey themselves. Only then they are able to be in the space to hold the space for others with ease and comfortable with the process and the emerging unknown materials arises and holding the person with a non-judgemental embrace and from a place of unconditional love. I see this while I trained and assessed my learners and what they were struggling with and sometimes not able to hold space. I have always shared it is important for one to heal self and take great care of self - self-care. If not we are not able to hold space when the theme arises is very uncomfortable. We do not have to be a therapist. It can just simply be a parent to a child or a friend to a friend.
I took years to reflect and contemplate on holding space. As I heal more and more of myself and come home to my true self, to love, the way I hold the space is now from the place of unconditional love. I have been asking what is it that the way I hold space is making someone feel safe, seen, heard and held (thank you to Suzi's Ways of Seeing training too, my former teacher and supervisor), there is something much deeper than just the techniques, methods, skills and knowledge. Eureka! It is LOVE after all! Nothing else but LOVE! We can have all the skills, methods, techniques, knowledge, theories but we have to ask ourselves if we do not love our clients how are we able to hold space? And we do not heal and love self, how are we able to give love unconditionally and hold the space with compassion?
Shalom! Blessings! Love To you!