Photo by Gabby Orcutt on Unsplash
By: Rebecca Liston
“What might it look like if you held space for yourself as diligently and mindfully and as often as you hold space for others?”
Dear Reader, I am not entirely certain if the coach that said this to me knew the impact it would have, even years later, but here I am, remembering this moment when she dropped that particular truth bomb at my feet and I heard my Inner Child giggle and say, “Mic drop!” as she skipped around me.
My Inner Child is a giggler. She doesn’t taunt me or make fun or anything. She just gets the giggles when Adult Me is confronted by some truth or another that she thinks may be just the ticket to encourage me to sit down and colour more or maybe skip around the neighbourhood from time to time.
And this was one of those moments.
Now, to be clear, I wasn’t entirely sure I agreed with Inner Child Me at that time. I mean, was “holding space” for myself a thing that one did while colouring or skipping? I wasn’t sure…
I had to think about it (as Adult Me tends to do…)
What DID it look like to hold space for myself, an idea so novel that I wasn’t even sure I fully understood the concept at the time.
Did it mean booking a vision quest in the jungle or some back woods in northern Ontario? Yikes. You know I hate camping…the cold…the bugs…ugh.
Did it mean that I had to sit reverently on my meditation cushion and “ommm” my way into stillness? Did I have to burn incense and chant, or would it be okay to listen to Creed or old Bon Jovi songs and bob my head around wildly?
And even if I knew what it might look like to hold space for myself, let’s be honest, said Adult Me, who had the time for that???!?
(“Yes, you! Yes, you!” giggled Inner Child Me as she pranced about.)
“Fine,” I replied less-than-enthusiastically. “As long as there are no bugs, then FINE. I can commit to this idea…this concept…this…weird and strange and bizarre challenge that my coach has presented. I can do this. I will do this. I’ll figure it out. Somehow.”
Truth is, I had to figure it out. My Being depended on it. I was stretched thin and had somehow lost my way in the world. I had somehow lost my Self in the world.
And here’s more truth for ya: I am still figuring this out.
Holding space for my Self looks different now than it did when I was single-parenting toddlers. Holding space then was closing the door to the bathroom when I showered, letting all the emotions release down the drain alongside the suds.
Holding space for my Self has meant colouring – once I got those fab markers that Zenia McLaughlin recommended.
Holding space for my Self has not, however, meant skipping around the neighbourhood…but it has meant dancing (if you can call it that!) around the kitchen to some music in my head.
Sometimes it’s meant binge-watching Queer Eye while crying on the couch.
Sometimes it’s meant sitting at my altar and staring at nothing. And everything.
Sometimes I journal. Sometimes I seek wise counsel. Sometimes I lay on a massage table and receive.
Sometimes I just breathe.
Actually, I do that last one a lot.
Micro moments of holding space for my Self while just taking a good ol’ deep belly breath.
Precious. Priceless. Perfection.
I imagine sometimes that Inner Child Me likes those moments too. It’s kind of the equivalent of her looking up at someone she loves and seeing that love reflected back.
I like that.
Maybe you do, too.
So whether you’re a Neighbourhood Skipper or a Vision Quest Camper or an Om-chanting Meditator…a Journal-er, a Dancer, or a Close The Door When You Shower-er: I see you. I appreciate you taking time to hold space for You. I appreciate that it feels weird or wiggy or like you don’t have the time sometimes. And yet…there you are…doing what you need to do for you…and here I am…reflecting that love right back atcha.
Rebecca Liston is cofounder and business intuitive at Las Peregrinas, a creative and consulting agency. She specializes in anchoring folks in a clear-eyed understanding of which path is theirs for the taking. She’s got one foot in the land of the subtle and unseen, and the other foot firmly planted in the land of ruthless pragmatism. Oh, and she swears like a sailor, which makes us love her more.
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