Holding space is an act of love. It is the act of giving your entire being and presence to another person. It's the holding of a container in which another feels comfortable and safe sharing their pain, their loss, their story. We all do it. We all, at one time or another, have held space for another, opened our hearts to them and their story, sharing the gift of our presence, but how often do we hold space for ourselves? How often do we show that same compassion, love and open heart to ourselves?
I can speak from experience here, as I am sure many of you also can, and say that we don't do it that often.
We don't offer ourselves the same compassion, love and open heart we gift to others. I am not going to ask you why, because it is a question I have asked myself many times over the last few months. This question has been an ongoing conversation in my head, and within the pages of my journal. I have yet to understand or form any kind of concrete thoughts as to why, but I have made a decision. A decision to hold space for myself. To show myself the same compassion, love and open heart I would show a friend. It means that instead of beating myself up as I fall asleep at night because I didn't live up to my own expectations, I offer myself grace, and tell myself that I am human, I make mistakes, and tomorrow I have a chance to try again. It is what I would tell a friend, I bet you would too, but have you ever told it to yourself?
It means I have a lot of self talk going on in my head all the time, to remind myself to be kind, kind to me. To let my heart split wide open, to let the tears flow, to let the joy creep back in and to be okay with any feeling that enters my being. To let each one find a place to reside, for a while, and then let it go. So much has passed through me in the last twelve months and I haven't always held space for myself. I haven't offered myself the same compassion, love and open heart I would have offered a friend. In some ways I regret that, but I am also happy to recognize it now, and to begin holding space for myself. It feels good, in a way I never could have imagined, and it has allowed me to say yes to me, and create some boundaries to protect myself and my space.
Holding space for myself this weekend meant taking time to walk in the woods. To connect with the stunning beauty of autumn. To lose myself in the colour of the trees, and the blueness of the sky. To listen to the wind as it moved through the leaves, sending messages forth that I hope I heard clearly. The forest was my container for these few hours. It held me, it showed me compassion and love, and opened it's heart to me, and in turn I did the same for myself. As I did, I felt lighter, I felt free, and I felt the warmth of my heart as it cracked open wide, full of compassion and love for myself.