What Does It Mean To Hold Space for One Another

I have to admit that in my (cough) fortieth year I have had some serious “Come To Jesus” moments—where I pretty much fell out and hit the dirt. I have to tell you after a series of events last summer (2016) I never thought I’d come out of my shell. Professionally, it was fab year.  But personally? You’ll have to buy the book. Stepping into 2017 and walking in a Women’s March on Washington was how my year began. As we all know, the rest is history (or so they say).

I just turned forty on June 12th and since then I’ve had quite a summer.  I had the privilege of spending three days a week with my boys, ages four and nine, all summer long. These are moments that I will cherish forever. That being said, I can promise you there were times when I just would have rather sat on the couch or by the pool with my eyes closed lounging on a chair. If you’ve ever been to a pool with young kids you know there are never any “eyes-closed” moments.

My kids will remember all kinds of things we did this summer, but when I ask them what they loved the most they tell me the tiny things we did where it was just us. Not the big event days where we carted all over the country. I can assure you that makes my heart tingle and I can tell you why. It’s because I held space for them. I was fully present and not on a device.

I actually spent a weekend with friends of my husband down the shore and the father had his face stuck in his phone the entire time. I could tell that his daughters desperately wanted to hang out with him. He kept saying, “I’m almost done. In a minute. Just a second.” You know, all those excuses we keep telling ourselves. It was at that point I realized even when I think I have work to do—it’s clearly obvious that I am not present with my kids.

holding space

My husband is similar.  Not so much anymore as when we first moved to Philly but he has some of the same issues with distraction. When you think you’re holding space for someone and you’re preoccupied with something else you’re really not holding space after all. You’re really just disappointing the person that is hoping you’d hold space for them.

As you come to understand or live in the ever changing digital world my wish is that we can all have a better sense of holding space. No matter the situation, we become more capable of being there for another individual.

What do you do that helps you hold space for another? If it’s really tough for me, I try to color or do something not connected to a cord. You?


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