community · compassion · gratitude · recovery · self-care · spirituality

Hold the Space

It’s a very good thing I don’t have to do this on my own,
that I’m connected to friends and fellowships, and to a Higher Power that can
help me to hold the space for others. Because Lord, if today is not the day of
expanding that capacity.
Already today, I have sat and listened to the chaos and pain and
sadness of several people’s lives. I have been on the phone with someone who
asked to be given the space, for me to hold
the space, for her to share her grief. And then I sat one-on-one with someone
in chaos and pain, and offered action steps, encouragement, and hope.
I’m … well, I guess I’m not exhausted, because I haven’t
been doing this on my own power. Luckily, I have enough experience to know that
I cannot hold others’ grief all by
myself, and so I’ve taken moments here and there during this morning to call
upon the inner resources of strength to help me be present – not to check out
while they’re sharing, or to be in judgment of them, or think about my opinion about what they’re saying 
– but to really be present and listen.
I found it hardest first thing this morning, when for an hour that was the theme, and there were a few people grounded in their chaos, feeding
on it, and looking for relief in a way that felt toxic to me. That’s always the
hardest type. A friend informed me that Eckhart Tolle (whom, by the way, I
cannot stand…but that’s a story for another day), but that he had a concept
called the “pain body,” and it goes something like, when someone wants to share
their pain in a way that they want you to get stuck in it too – that they want
you to take it on. To stand nearby to someone, just aching to share their pain
body with you.
You probably know people like that – perhaps you are even
related to them. But they don’t want you to “hold space” for them; they want
you to become mired in it with them. A misery loves company kind of thing.
It’s hard to stand on top of the quagmire of trauma and
grief and sadness and suffering, and not get sucked down by it. One thing that
helps, and which has helped me today is gratitude.
For all the drama around school and finances, and even
around my trauma recovery, I am not where those people are, just for today. For
today, I am grateful that I woke up early, got to meet my commitments, and will
head this afternoon to the chiropractor and later to meet up with a lovely
group of cityfolk.
For today, there isn’t active drama or chaos or grief in my
life. And I am hugely grateful for that. I’ve heard it said that it’s a good
thing we’re not all crazy on the same day. Sometimes people hold the space for
me when I am in it. When I’m snot-bubble
sobbing the Ugly Cries and I can’t see the end of the abyss. And people hold
the space for me to cry it out, and likely sit in compassion and gratitude
themselves.
We’re not all crazy on the same day, nor are we all grieving
on the same day.
The other thing that I’ve found helpful today as I sit and
let the grief of others dissipate from around me, is that I did my dishes. All
of them. I vacuumed my apartment. And I will eat some healthy lunch before I
head on my way. Because no matter what resources I have available to me from a
Higher Power or from my community, if I’m not taking care of my basic needs,
I’m not at all available to others.
Water, Food, Recovery, Compassion, Gratitude. It’s been a
big day, and it’s only noon. But tomorrow someone may do it for me. 
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