Episode 33 – Holding Space


There’s a skill that is easy to overlook because it quietly allows us the opportunity to express ourselves and feel comfortable without being aware of the reason why. It’s a skill worth working on for ourselves and recognizing in others. Find out what my friend Laurel taught me about holding space.



Episode 33 – Show Notes


Episode 33 – Transcript

This is Rebecca Clark. Episode 33 Holding Space This’ll Podcast is for anyone that knows they haven’t yet found and offered up their best work but are compelled to seek it out and do it. Are you ready to move your desk? I love licorice, and I don’t eat it as much nowadays as I used to. But whenever I am exposed to licorice in anyway, my addiction begins again, and I think that part of it is that I have a lot of great memories associated with it. It must have been a fun treat in high school. And then when I got to college, I think it was my version of a comfort food for a while. And what didn’t help is that I had a couple friends that would support me in this habit. S o. I was reminded of this when I was publishing Episode 25 about gift giving and when I read listen to it. And I was talking about going on these licorice runs. I thought about my friend Laurel Hornberger, and she was the person that was most frequently right there with me to walk to the grocery store to get licorice, and we have these great conversations along the way, and it was just a lot of fun. Laurel was very athletic, probably still is, and she was involved in all kinds of different sports. And she was from a huge family. So she was able to have, like, two teams just in her family alone, right? And a couple of her sisters were at college at the same time as she was, and so somehow I got to know Laurel in our dorms, and somehow she came with me on a licorice run and we started become friends and we were even on a basketball team together. I think we were called the Mui Mui Chico’s We’re very positive team had a lot of energy and we got to the Final Four of the college intramurals, which is a big deal because our college loved intramurals and there were 100 or more teams or whatever. So we were having a lot of fun playing basketball, going on these licorice runs, and we have kept in contact over the years and not as much lately. But I’m sure I’ll contact her to tell her I’m talking about her. But over the years. She also sent me various bags, licorice and even an apron that was head licorice on it and some mittens that had licorice on it. And so it became kind of this shared fun thing to focus on as part of our friendship. And I’ve been thinking a lot about the laurels in our lives because I think she had some attributes that would serve all of us to keep in mind and to practice on a daily basis. Now Laurel is not especially outgoing, but she is right there with you and engaged in the conversation. A great listener. And she’s willing to go and do these crazy things when we have these ideas like, Oh, yeah, I’ll come along. And when you’re with someone like this, they make you feel like you are the center of their world at the moment. Have you felt that before? Where there’s someone that you are speaking with, that all of a sudden you feel like you are the center of their world, and then as a result, some of us, at least I d’oh start to get really confident in sharing lots of thoughts and feelings and experiences and I end up talking a whole lot and sometimes forget that they’re sitting there listening. They’re not judging. They are allowing you to be whoever you need to be at that moment there, laughing at your jokes. They’re asking you questions. The stage is yours. And as I think about this, there’s part of me that has this deep regret knowing that I did not offer all of those same benefits toe laurel that she offered me and to realize that that is something I need to be more aware of in my life Now I think that some people are like this all the time in every relationship. I think that most of us kind of go back and forth. We’re one of these people that are great listeners, nonjudgmental, asking questions, just sitting there, letting the person have the stage. And then we go into other experiences where word leading or we’re managing or we’re definitely doing a lot of the talking a lot of the actions and in those moments, hopefully they’re people that are acting in this way for us now. I’ve been learning about a term recently that’s called holding space, and I think this is an excellent example of holding space, this non judging, this compassionate and observing place that we can hold for someone. And in that moment they feel like they’re the center of your world because you’re so focused on them and not worried about yourself. This is a skill that we all can learn, and it’s a skill that’s important to hold for ourselves so that we can become aware of how we act and how we think and do so from a place of not judging ourselves and being compassionate and just being very observant. That’s also something we can take into every relationship in our lives, whether it’s a spouse, a friend, a boss, co workers, people that report to you people you meet on the street or in the store, people you disagree with, politically or religiously or in other aspects of life that somehow we can learn how to hold space for ourselves and for them. And in the process, we can learn a lot about ourselves and we can learn about lot about others in a way that we couldn’t have if we were not holding this space. So it’s worth reflecting on this and thinking, OK, do I hold space for myself when I make a mistake or when I don’t act in the way, I would have preferred to act in a moment, so I beat myself up for it. I go. You know what? I don’t like how I did that. I’m gonna try harder. Even in the example I just use with Laurel as I realize she was always holding space for me. But was I holding space for her? And I don’t think so. Much of the time. It felt so good to have space held for me that I took the stage random thing. I I shared all kinds of things and was so excited that someone was right there focused listening to be not judging. I wanted to spend time with me willing to go do things and not offering that same thing back. Now. Sometimes people don’t need us to because they are getting that support from someone else or they may be so good at holding space for themselves. They don’t need you to do it for them. But wouldn’t it be great if that’s something we offered others? Is part of being a person in their human orbit. How great this would be if you’re a boss and allowing the employees to have the space to share this with you, and even if it’s feedback about you that you could look at and think it changing and improving something. I think there are some people that are so good at this that we don’t give them a chance to speak up or hold space for them much of the time because they’re so good at being the supportive, behind the scenes, almost hidden strength in some of our lives. And I encourage you to take a look at this in every aspect of life. And I’m going to make a guess based upon my reflections that you will be holding space for some people you will not. For others, you will be often on with it, depending upon how you feel. But it’s worth taking a look at in every part of our lives because it’s so powerful to have people behind us that air silently listening and allowing us to work through all of those experiences and thoughts and situations in our lives that each of us must work through in order to understand ourselves on those around us and offer up our best to the world as I learned more about coaching and holding space for clients. What’s interesting to me is that this does not mean agreeing with everything the person has said or disagreeing. It’s very nonjudgmental. It’s very neutral and allows people to process their own thoughts and share their own experiences as they see fit, or as they view those at the moment. So think about holding space this next week as you go through your interactions with others and maybe choose one thing to practice on. Maybe there’s someone you want to unfriend because they’re politically different than you or they seem very obnoxious to you. Think about how you can hold the space for them to continue being obnoxious but being non judgmental about it and having compassion for their passion about that particular topic. Because they obviously care Justus deeply as you d’oh! And are coming from a different point of view. It may just want someone to listen as they vent, because there’s something hurting in them that they’re angry about or they wish they could change and whether or not they’re choosing the correct forum, and maybe they don’t have anyone holding space for them, and they need to air this in a more public place. I’m grateful for what I’m learning about holding space, and I’m by no means a good example of this. But now that I’m aware, I can work on it. And I’m grateful that I have many examples in my life of people who have held the space for me, the space for me to share all my thoughts and feelings and concerns to event, to wonder, out loud and especially grateful for Laurel, who I used in this example, and what I neglected to say up front is, while I was going through these experiences with Laurel, I was a resident assistant, and when I had first gotten the resident assistant job, I remember mentally deciding that I did not need anyone to worry about me, that I would just solely focus on helping others doing the job, being there for them. And as I look back, I realize how lucky I waas that particular year, especially to have Laurel Hornberger. They’re holding space for me because there’s only so much you can absorb of taking on responsibility for others, and I didn’t realize that I needed people to hold space for me. Laurel was a great example of that. So thank you, Laurel. And maybe we should get together and have a licorice Anonymous meeting instead of licorice. It’s sure hard to give up anyway. Have a great day, everyone and practice holding space. Thanks for listening to the show today. If you enjoyed it, I’d love if you’d write a review and share the show with your friends, sign up for a weekly nudge at. Move your desk dot com. See you next Monday.

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