What does it mean to hold space? How do we hold space for ourselves?

Many of us are good at holding space for others. As a homeopath I loved spending my days holding space for others. When we hold space for others we listen without judgement. We allow the other person time to process and to be heard. It is not about giving advice. It is about saying I care for you, I’m here for you, you are worth my time and attention.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could hold space for ourselves with that same intent? If we were to hold space for ourselves, what would it look like? What qualities would it have? Here are some of the aspects of holding space that I’ve been thinking about.

Holding space has an element of curiosity. It is wondering what will emerge from the quiet moments. It is about holding boundaries for ourselves, shutting out some of the noise and the clutter to allow our thoughts to flow. If there were one element of holding space that was most important to me it would be this curiosity.

Holding space is also honouring ourselves, placing value, honouring that I am worth the investment. It is a knowing that if I allow time to hold space my creativity will flow. It is trusting that when I take time to play and create, wonderful things happen.

Holding space is also about encouraging ourselves.  During my recovery from breast cancer I wrote and hooked myself love letters.  I still write myself a little note of encouragement, particularly if I’ve had a bad day.  After all, we would do it for others, so why not for ourselves?

How do you hold space? For others? For yourself?

Since January 2016 I have had a daily writing practice. I also spend at least a couple hours each day rug hooking. I try to make time to walk to appointments and notice the world around me rather than rushing all of the time.  My morning yoga practice is also a practice of holding space for myself.  Of getting on the mat and breathing and moving and feeling in my body.

Holding space for myself through my writing and rug hooking design has allowed possibilities to emerge that I never imagined. Being curious and imagining my What Ifs and connecting to the body feeling has helped to stretch my creativity.  I would say holding space for myself is still a work in progress.  I still have a tendency to overwork and not take breaks.  But I am consciously working on this and can see improvement.

Three Essential Elements of Holding Space

Holding space for yourself can look like many things, but I think the essential elements are: time – allow time for the magic to happen; curiosity – be open to what comes up, without judgement; play – approach with a light heart and a willingness to play.

An invitation

My newest book One Loop at a Time, The Creativity Workbook contains pages for you to write or sketch that I call Invitations to Create. If you would like to explore a journaling practice as a way of holding space for yourself I invite you to check it out.

If you would like to explore a journaling practice in a safe, fun environment with other creatives, I invite you to consider taking my journaling class – learn how to use writing or sketching in a journal as a way to hold space for yourself. The course is called The Creativity Workbook Toolkit – Looking Inside for Answers. It starts on January 16, runs for four weeks, and registration is open now.

If you are not in the Halifax area, don’t despair! I expect to launch an online version of this class in the spring, so stay tuned!

What do you think?

I’d love to hear what plans you are making to hold space for yourself. What do you think are the essential elements that go into holding space?