Holding space

imageMy client is late.

As I look around the room ensuring everything is spotless and welcoming enough for when she arrives, I realize she is now 5 minutes late.

No text or call to explain the reason of her lateness.

I think this is the perfect opportunity to practice a bit of what I call “inner peace.”

I have lately gotten into the habit of mentally repeating “inner peace” to myself whenever I feel challenged by external events i.e. loud people on the bus, loud people in the sauna, people swimming in the middle of the lane while I’m busy training for the Rio Olympics (a girl can dream can’t she!), people standing in front of me on a busy platform (hello…I should be the one getting on first!).

Inner peace, inner peace, inner peace…” and then at this point my client arrives, 10 minutes late.

She nervously looks at me and profusely apologizes for being late while I mentally carry on my little mantra trying to feel sympathetic and understanding. Truth is I find lateness extremely challenging and yes, shame on me, I am bothered about my client not even texting!

I suddenly see her face twisted in what looks like grief and I can sense this is going to be one of those sessions when there won’t be much talking from my part.

She hastily tells me about being bullied at work and how much this is affecting her private life. A sense of unworthiness pervades her life now and even her once perfect marriage doesn’t seem that rosy anymore. Words keep on pouring out, almost echoing in the silent space around us and I know them to be the words coming from a dark place where one would not normally go to unless pushed to their limits. 

She is right there, right on the edge of her comfort zone, and words are now mixing with tears while I just listen on.

This is no time for enlightened words, or miracle making suggestions, or an easy way out, left alone a reminder that lateness is officially one of the 7 capital sins.

thereisalight-290x290This is the time to “hold space”.

This is the time when one has to let the other be all that they can be  in that moment, without if’s, or when’s or how’s. 

This is the time when one lets the other stand bare in their imperfection and still manages to go beyond that.

Most of all, this is the moment when one trusts the other enough to move through pain and challenges at their own pace and in their own way.

Yes, even if you are a therapist you still ought to trust your clients will find their way to the other side.

So I remain silent and hold a sacred space for the tears shed and the pain spoken of.

Can we create a sacred & safe space for all those we come in touch with, every day, every moment and every breath?

Can we allow others to keep their heart open even as it’s breaking without trying to fix them or guide them?

And more importantly, can we hold space for the challenging ones we get to meet at work, on the bus, while in a queue, even in our very own family?

Can we allow them to be all that they may ever be able to be in this lifetime?

Can we do that knowing that from our “neutral” position we are helping another soul to learn the very thing they came here to master?

As you move through your day, pay attention to the opportunity to create a sacred container for yourself and your loved ones, for the stranger on the bus or in a queue, for the friend who has lost their way. 

Watch yourself dealing with whatever arises.

Do you want to fix yourself and everybody else? 

Do you want to point out where they are flowing?

Can you find enough compassion to accept the flows and be ok with it?  Mostly can you find the sacredness in the imperfection of that moment instead of waiting for the perfect opportunity to be just a little bit more enlightened? 

And so I carry on learning what I teach for “I do not bestow grace on anyone. i just hold sacred space to allow that to occur”.

If you would like to find out more on how to start holding space for both yourself and those around you please contact me via Facebook.com/antonialyonscoach

4 thoughts on “Holding space

  1. I think you touch on something that is so true of many of us – that we want to ‘fix’ things for others when their lives get difficult rather than letting people find their own way, yet at the same time letting them know that we are there to listen if needed.


    • Hi Mary, holding space is definitely something to practice all over again for it won’t come easy right away. This is also down to our mind wanting to protect us & getting in the way; it will warn us of imminent danger because that’s what it’s been programmed to do. Truth is danger or not, we are not in control of most things in life, especially others’ lives. This is why holding space is beneficial for ourselves in the first place as it will prevent us from depleting our precious energy.


  2. Hi Catembi I’m glad you found my post helpful! There is definitely a tendency to react to the chaos around us right now, but if we could stop through the day and really allow & honor life as it is we wouldn’t be so depleted of energy by bed time.


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