Holding Space

IMG_2602A popular term that has come up as people become more aware is “holding space”. I didn’t really understand what that meant until I started to put it into practice. Now its one of my favorite tools to use in loving others and myself. My first experience with it was with my next door neighbor, Mike.

Mike was a great guy. He works for the local Department of Public Works. If you’re driving through town and see a hole in the street with men standing around it and one guy in the hole, doing the actual work, he’s that guy. We’ve gotten to know each other over the last six years of being neighbors and he’s been wonderful to live next door to!

Last summer I saw a realtor’s sign outside his house, again! Mike had tried to sell his house but gave up because of the economy. I was secretly very happy about that. I didn’t want to lose him as a neighbor or friend, so when the sign went back up and I saw him over the back fence, I stopped him to ask what was going on.

Changes in assessment of his property, challenges in the economy and discovering he was a parent all made it next to impossible to make ends meet. He was discouraged with his employment, with his romantic life and his financial future so he was trying again to sell his house.

I wished there was a way I could help him. Encouragement seemed to be the only tool I had right then. I told him that I was holding space for the highest and best for him, for his employment, his love life, his finances and his parenthood.

Within a couple of months there was a car in his driveway I didn’t recognize, and there he was, kissing a young lady goodbye. “Yay”, I thought, “I bet he’s having a happy day!”

Another month later I saw him over the back fence as we were about to put a couple freshly grilled racks of ribs on the table. I invited him to join us. Wood fire grilled ribs, fresh picked sweet corn, home made cole slaw and good company, can’t say no to that, right!?                                                                                                                                                   IMG_2473

After dinner, everyone had gotten up from the table except he and I and he mentioned the young lady I’d seen. He told me her name and how well they were getting along. She is self sufficient and doesn’t “need” him to rescue or take care of her which was very attractive to him. Friends had thought they’d like each other and fixed them up and things were going along very well. He told me that ever since I had told him I was “holding space” for him, everything started to improve one step at a time. I was so thrilled for him and pleased that my offering had been of help to him.

After a couple of months and another chance meeting over the back fence he told me he had an appointment with the mayor to interview for a supervisory position in the DPW. I told him I was sure the position was already his and asked him to keep me posted. The day after the scheduled interview I took over a plate of cookies and asked if I was speaking to the new supervisor. With a big grin he said I was and said he would get a substantial pay raise. I was so happy for him but also because that meant he could afford to remain my neighbor.

Another month went by and we crossed paths in the front yard. Mike said he had wonderful news and devastating news. I asked for the devastating news first.

He would no longer be my neighbor after January. The wonderful news . . . his house sold! More wonderful news, he would be moving in with his lady love and starting a family together as she is pregnant. Even more wonderful news, just after the baby is expected he will get his  raise for being with the DPW for 15 yrs! Right on time with a new baby!

He reminded me that ever since I had “held space” for him that his life had consistently moved in the direction I said. Every time I have seen him since, he has been so happy, hopeful and more handsome with that smile on his face and light in his eyes!

He “wanted” a positive change, but putting “want” out to the universe just creates more of the same, you continue to “want”(desire without having). I wished for a positive change for him but my wish would not make changes in his life. By holding the space it created a place where all his wishes had already come true, even if it was just in my imagination. It became a very attractive space to move into, like an invitation to the highest and best.


Photo by Vicki Willoughby

When I wish to “hold space” for someone or something, I think of that space as existing under my right arm, in the space where someone would be if I had my arm around their shoulder. Into that space I put all the love that I have in my heart for that person with the intention that the space hold their highest and best, whatever that is for them. What that highest and best is, is between them and their higher self, it is not up to me. I just act in faith that whatever comes on their path will be there FOR them, not against them.

As you read this know that I am holding the space for your highest and best as well!

For what its worth.

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