Awesome Stories 377

This week Awesome Stories brings you the art of holding space.

Holding Space

They hold me in their beautiful, spacious container of caring so I can soften into the pain, acknowledge it, and let it go instead of being trapped in a shit storm of grief, anger, and loss. ~ Lynn Hauka

Very few times in my life has someone offered a genuine loving space, free of judgment, advice, or fixing. Our culture is so oriented toward solutions, doing, success, etc. that it bleeds over into our friendships, workplace, and even counseling. Only one counselor that I’ve seen understood and knew how to hold space for their clients. Victoria was so good at this, that I felt loved and welcomed simply by walking into her office. She created a loving and welcoming space in her office that allowed me to feel safe, relax, be myself, and find my own answers. It was by far my best experience with counseling. Unfortunately, I never found another counselor who was good at holding space and creating a loving, welcoming atmosphere.

What do we mean by holding space?

compassion, Awesome StoriesHeather Plett defines holding space as the ability to create a safe zone for others; free of judgment, advice, or fixing others. Others, define it by the ability to be fully present, willing to share the journey with someone else, with no preconceived idea of where things will go. You’re willing to open your heart, be fully present, let go of control, and offer unconditional support

Thankfully, I’ve experienced this with a few of my friends, and one counselor, as I mentioned above. Even if I can’t always define holding space, I sure know what it feels like to receive such complete compassionate presence from someone else. I imagine this is what good parents do for their children. They hold loving space for them to be nurtured, grow, and become the person of their own choosing, not the parents.

Heather talks about how much she learned about holding space from Ann, a nurse providing care to her mother who modeled compassionate care and holding space. Heather offers 8 ways to practice holding space for others.

  • Give people permission to trust their own intuition and wisdom.
  • Give people only as much information as they can handle.
  • Make them feel safe enough to fail.
  • Create a container for complex emotions, fear, trauma, etc

Are you blessed with friends or family who hold loving space for you?


35 thoughts on “Awesome Stories 377

  1. Beautiful ode to holding space Brad.

    And brilliant choice in authors to showcase this nothing is everything sentiment.

    Thank YOU for holding space for your readers every day Brad. Your blog is a very healing place to visit. 💚 🌳

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Beautiful post, Brad. I love the “holding space.” When I worked in counseling we often used symbols to create the metaphor of a holding space. It’s very comforting to be free to express ourselves freely in such a supportive environment. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a little late to the game here, but I really felt moved to comment on this one. First, I love the themes and where your Awesome Stories are going. Second, a lot of my training involved learning how to bear witness and hold space for others while being totally present. As a meditation teacher, I was explicitly warned not to “be a counselor” because I could open myself up to litigation. While that sounds a little scary, it just gives more credence to bearing witness and creating a loving environment for people.
    To that end, we DO need more of that in our society. So often we listen to reply, to give advice, to fix – as you said. But what we sorely need more of is just listening to understand. Listening while being fully present. Thank you for calling attention to this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful share, and loved your thoughts Brad on holding Space in our hearts.. Being Non-judgemental while listening responsively was also part of my training in mental health.. Being Present and listening is the heart of holding space..
    Thank you Brad for sharing this.. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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