Holding space

This weekend was the beginning of my and four other love ladies’ yoga teacher training. It was an amazing experience. At one point, we had to do a listening exercise. We had to sit face to face with one person and listen to them talk for 5 minutes. The person listening could not speak, could not nod her head or make any encouraging sounds. The person listening had to hold space.

The first time was hard because I had no idea I nodded my head so much when someone else was talking. The second time around was a bit easier and I nodded my head less. The second time I found it was easier to talk because we were given a topic, Christmas. I am certain if I hadn’t been restricted to 5 minutes I could have kept talking down the path of where my Christmas thoughts were leading me. The reason it was easy to talk about it wasn’t because I necessarily had a lot to say about Christmas but because no one was interrupting me. So, I started with Christmas and it led to other things in my life in which I needed to say out loud.

I learned a lesson I thought I already knew to be true, holding space works. Sitting with someone and just listening, not projecting your own crap into the conversation, helps the person speaking to open up and speak their truth. It was life changing to watch this happen in action. It was depressing to know it is not the norm.

When we come to people with our truth and our pain, we aren’t looking for them to fix it. What we are looking for is someone to hold space. We want someone to just listen, someone to let us get where we are going all on our own. We want someone who can be still with our truth and our pain. We don’t bring our problems to our friends or loved ones so they can fix it, we bring our problems to be heard.

Fast forward 4 hours after teacher training and I am sitting in a way overdue conversation where I have to tell my truth. I am looking for my space to be held but the other person was incapable of that. I could have complained as to why this person couldn’t hold space for me, but instead I sat, looked at the contrast, and wondered why. It comes back to one simple thing, we have to show up before we are ready. Sitting in teacher training, I was not ready to talk about Christmas, but I showed up and I did it. Later that night, I showed up scared. I thought I was ready but I wasn’t. The hardest part of showing up for a difficult conversation is not knowing whether the other person will show up.

I showed up, I held my own space and I left. It is sad when others cannot show up for us. Sometimes people are not just incapable of showing up for us, but some people cannot show up for themselves. Some people are not brave enough to speak their truth and some people are not brave enough to hear the truth. The only real difference between people in this world is some people show up scared before they are ready and others who do not show up until they feel ready. But we are never ready because nothing in this life ever goes exactly as planned. I remind myself often that the truth, about life, love, and showing up before we are ready, only reveals itself to us when we are ready to hear it.

It all comes back to showing up. We have to show up before we are ready because life and the world isn’t waiting for us to be perfect. Life and the world are asking us to show up because showing up before we are ready is where the magic lies. In order to hold space for others, we have to show up before we are ready and in order to speak our truth, we have to show up before we are ready.

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