This is taken from Today at The Daily Om:
August 14, 2007
Being A Container
Holding Space For Others
We have all been called upon at one time or another to help a loved one through a difficult time. When the help required consists of concrete actions, such as running errands or making phone calls, we know what to do. But sometimes we are called simply to hold space for the person as they go through whatever they need to go through. They may need to express anger or grief; they may need to talk or be silent. They may need us to hold their hand; they may need us to give them time alone. Whatever the case, when we hold space for someone, we offer ourselves up as a container for the overwhelming feelings they may be encountering due to their circumstances.
When we offer ourselves in this way, the more centered and grounded we are, the better. Our steadiness allows our companion to lean into us for support, as our presence provides an environment in which they can be free to move. We can also help by being responsive, allowing them to dictate the flow of action from talking to not talking, from anger to grief, and back again. By being aware and open, we can help them confront their feelings when that feels right, and back off from them when they need a break. Holding space requires humility, conscientiousness, and the ability to step out of the way, to honestly understand that this is not about us.
When we love someone in this way, we provide a space in which they can simply be. Able to feel what they need to feel without worrying about how they are being perceived. We can provide this offering in person, over the phone, or even from a distance, through meditation. However we do it, when we hold space for someone in need, we are offering a gift of the highest nature.
I'm feeling very, very grateful today for the gift of time that unschooling gives us to be with our children in such a mindful, meaningful way. I have been through many times like this with my children. I know I would not have been able to be there for them if we had to live our lives according to a school schedule and all that entails. Sometimes, it takes quite a while to work through strong feelings, and being flexible with our time allows us to address what is going on PRESENTLY, instead of always getting ready for, going to, or working towards, something in the future. It's not that we don't make plans, or set goals, it's just that they don't run our lives. We run our lives, and we are able to adjust our plans as needed to ensure that people and relationships come first. That IS a gift!