A friend of mine recently asked me to explain what it means to “hold space”.
As a facilitator I’ve been using the term “space holding” a lot lately, and my friend was curious what definitive qualities this nebulous term actually contains.
Being a wordsmith at heart, I was delighted by the challenging opportunity the question posed; to translate a complex amorphous concept into a fully crystallized structure.
I also felt an immediate sense of urgency to complete this semantic task, as the understanding of space holding is of great importance in our current cultural and social climate.
My awareness of the magical phenomenon called “holding space” has taken various forms throughout the stages of my life. It began with a scoffing rejection of the suspiciously vague concept, which was no doubt another vocabulary casualty of new age spirituality.
Through the practices of meditation, creative exploration, facilitation, and the ever demanding dynamics of intimate relationships however, my awareness slowly grew from skepticism towards a baseless catchphrase, into an undeniable perception of a foundational energetic ecosystem; a living reality supporting and containing all of my interactions in a way that was directly affecting the quality of my communications, relationship dynamics, and creative processes.
This “field” can not only be clearly sensed once you begin to bring awareness to its existence, but it can be significantly strengthened, weakened, maintained, and even curated through the power of intentionality, presence, and care-full cultivation of a harmonious physical, mental, and emotional environment.
As I became increasingly aware of the fact that the quality of an energetic container directly influences the quality of experience, it became an overwhelming priority to practice holding this “space”.
Every physical environment, every human being, every interaction, every service or offering is within itself an auric field that affects the vibrational quality of all things that pass through, or reside within, its sphere of influence.
This realization has vast implications.
One can predictably influence the caliber and quality of any interaction in a space with the power of their focused intentionality and vibrational alignment with virtuous qualities.
Just think about how environments that have been carefully tended make you feel at ease the moment you enter them; like a spa, wellness center, or manicured garden that is playing gentle music, emanating a pleasing aroma, and kept in immaculate condition for your joy and delight.
Think of how satisfying it is to have a meal that has been lovingly prepared for you in a mouth-watering presentation that is so exquisitely beautiful in sight and smell that it is difficult to even move the food from its pristine placement into your salivating mouth, lest you disturb the care and attention that has gone into its creation.
Think of people who greet you with enthusiasm, warmth and affection, listen to you with genuine interest, and offer insightful and thoughtful responses. See how these people instantly put you at ease, effortlessly dispelling your anxiety and insecurities, allowing you to embody the fullest expression of yourself throughout the interaction.
These are all examples of the universal principles of “space holding” put into action.
To hold space is to create an impeccable container of virtue as a preliminary condition for the highest, most ideal circumstances to unfold within that sphere of influence.
To hold space is to offer the fullness of your noble presence as a selfless offering to others, thinking only of how you may lovingly serve.
To hold space is to be unshakable in your receptivity to the unique circumstances of every single moment; living fully in the present and bringing the power of that presence into all of your activities.
These principles are true and hold immeasurable power on every level; the physical spaces we care for and inhabit, the quality of the objects and services we create and offer, the willingness and attentiveness we carry into our interactions, the intention of every thought, word, and action as they radiate outwards from the core of our beings and into the world around us.
We affect the quality of everything we interact with.
Serving others with this practiced awareness is what it means to “hold space”.