I’m a space holder. That’s my talent. Sometimes I’m the talker, sometimes I’m the sarcasm that’s needed to change the direction, but more often I’m the one holding space for others.
I love this title, for once I understand how I am useful for those I care about.
Here’s the thing, I struggle with sick. I struggle with people who are sick or grieving or fighting addiction or depression. I wish I was naturally good at it, imbued with inherent nursing abilities. But I’m not, every action is a reaction. When my family gets sick, I naturally want to run far away and wait out the storm. It’s a great effort to stay still. I have to remember to make soup, heat up tea, dose with love and not shove meds at them with a long stick.
Here's what I'm good at:
If you need someone to come and sit with you, watching hours of Friends while you try to sort out the meaning of life. I’m your girl.
When my kids want to come in from a long day and tell someone every detail of the most frustrating day ever, I’m that Mom.
When you need someone to listen as you bounce from one thing to the next, trying to grasp what’s truly important and let go of what isn’t. I will hold space. That’s what I do.
“Holding space is about being in the space.
It’s about being fully present with the experience. Holding space is viewing someone without judgment and seeing him or her through loving kindness. It is recognizing that although we all may stumble, we are all also so powerful.
Holding space is like holding the door open for someone to walk through to experience a new model of the world. Instead of feeling like the walls are caving in, holding space literally gives breathing room to express, open up, and simply be where we are.” – Danielle LaRock
I freaking LOVE THAT!
Holding Space for panic attacks
A few years ago, I started having middle of the night panic attacks. What I didn’t realize then, and learned through a lot of mental work, was that I needed to address some terrible things that happened.
I would wake up in the middle of the night, my heart beating so hard that I thought I was having a heart attack and I was pretty sure nightly that I would die sometime in my sleep. These attacks were vicious and cruel, sometimes the appetizer to my panic would be dreaming of someone I love dying or something terrible happening that I couldn’t stop. They were awful and I would wake up fighting tears and struggling to breathe.
As I sat up in bed, I wanted to wake my husband and ask him to share that time with me. I needed him to hold the space so I could breathe, so I could fight my way to reality. He is a “Do-er,” so if I needed him to go downstairs and get me water and CBD, he would be out the door. If I needed him to go drive across town to rescue a kitten out of a damned tree, he’d get his shoes. But asking him to do nothing except stay awake, sit close to me without touching, and maybe talk about something distracting, that was something he struggled with doing. He’s getting better at it now, and thankfully I’m getting better at sleeping through the night.
There is POWER in holding space
I get the power of holding space. Because sometimes it feels like the space around you is closing in tight. And nothing is better than knowing that someone is there for you, only you. Someone care to hold back that crushing feeling.
Being able to hold space for someone else means that you know you are able to be the calm in the room, knowing that things might get ugly and accepting that moment. Holding space doesn’t mean you have to be quiet, it can also mean being the voice of reason, being the asshole that everyone needs, or just holding tight and not letting go of the person who needs you to be YOU.
You don’t have to be there, but you have to BE THERE
Last week, someone I love messaged me on IM and told me she has breast cancer. Fuck… Yeah, that’s what I wanted to say. Fuck cancer, fuck this!
But she didn’t need anger. She didn't need to comfort ME,ecause I don’t want to lose someone else that I actually LIKE. She needed me to hold space for her while she processed.
I was pissed at cancer, pissed at having one more shitty thing happen to this person. And I'm pissed that I’m not a tender, sympathetic person who knows all the right things to say.
Oh, so you get a new set of “looks like you are 20” boobs with nipples that stay in the right place. That’s freaking awesome!
Yep, that’s what I said. There were no offers to pray, no sad faces, no lessons in healthcare. Sarcasm and pure defiant BS.
She came to me, knowing that she wasn’t going be swallowed up in fear. My job was to hold the F*cking Space and let her be mad, scared, cry, drop some lovely F-bombs. I was going to keep that space open as long as she needed it.
Today I would like you to look around and see, who holds the space for you? Is it you? These space holders might not even know that their job is important to you. Let them know!
Not everyone can hold space. That’s okay. We need Do-ers, Pray-ers, Teachers, and all of those things are okay. I hold the space. Do you?