By now, many of us are moving or, at least, are poised to move into a landscape of forward motion. Me, I’m at the tail end of ‘poised’…its all good: here in the Med, there’s a different quality to time. But regardless of the year in motion, I want to give a shout out to so many of you that haven’t had a real break in a long while. I have been quite preoccupied lately with the line you walk each day and I want you to know that you are appreciated.
There are many of us doing a crucial work for the overall fabric of macro experience, often but not always in a highly private way. It’s service rarely spoken about and usually without any monetary reward. That last point is a biggie in the material world. It’s big because we almost always judge ourselves in comparison to so-and-so or the value of our efforts to the pay rate of a ‘real job’. You might feel quite exhausted but if you don’t get a pay check for it, then it doesn’t really count. You wouldn’t put it on your resumé…
I am talking about Holding the Space on behalf of someone else who can’t, for some reason, hold their own.
Often it’s the family matriarch or somewhat retired grandparents who insist it’s no trouble to put any plans they have on hold and keep a warm home environment going years beyond expectation. I have also known it to be the big brother of a mentally handicapped person, a ‘boomer caring for an aging parent, a spouse; the cleaners and preppers at shelters, the holy workers on frigid nights distributing blankets and gloves down back alleys. But these years, as our cultures and traditions are shaken up so regularly, the variety of Holding continues to inspire. I have now seen it more than once in western teenagers employing patience and independence as their parents grow (or not) through a rough patch and in the villagers of tiny Greek islands who have nothing whatsoever left to offer but still turn no one away, even as they defy man-made laws.
And here is the key component for Holding Space: Voluntary Service. Beyond tradition, culture, demographic, and sometimes beyond purse strings, an emotional or spiritual decision is made – a holy vow, really – and actively put out there.
Most cultures say a person should be ‘here’ by this age, accomplishing ‘that’ by the next age, be able to overcome challenges certainly by that point in time, should have a back-up plan ready to kick in, should have thought about this before now, will just have to endure the ups and downs of life, can only take out equivalent to what has been put in, and in comparison to the Successful People, had better measure up or fade away. This mentality keeps the masses productive. And it’s good to strive.
But then there is reality on the ground: people fail to measure up to the familial or traditional role that’s been assigned. Even if Life doesn’t care and isn’t fair, Space Holders do and they are doing it for someone. They are effectively bartering their energy in place of another and this puts them in a place of mighty yet volatile power.
It may have been ages since those you put yourself out for have given any kind of progress report or a smile, even… You want to get on with your working life, your intellectual life, the challenges that you choose to undertake, the schedule you want to keep…your freedom. You feel pressurized but have nothing to show for it. What you once did effortlessly for love has become like a prison. And this, in turn, can make you feel worthless because it doesn’t bring you financial security. In fact, sometimes it’s a financial drain, too. But to let this kind of mentality grow is to circle the spiritual drain.
The collective KNOWS that there is a real cost, a denial of self-interests and a brake on the spirit for those who serve. When we stop and consider your work in the community, whether we know you personally or not, that you raise the overall vibration of Life is clear. And yet, it is also the lot of the Space Holder to be unseen and unheard, unsung and unexciting. For intangible reasons, you manifest tangible services. Remember the inspiration that invoked your unconditional offering. Find ways to feed that inspiration, perhaps to examine its current validity and redefine its application. Keep that space sacred and so, it will hold until you understand that it is no longer necessary.
The person says ‘I am’; the ego says, ‘That is how I am.’ ‘Know thyself’ means to the person: know yourself as being. To the ego, it means: know your being-that-way. – The Luminous Vision, Anne Bancroft, pg 38
You are not alone – in fact, you are legion. You are the silent engines and rudders that have literally kept civilization going for millennia. Please remember these truths in lonely moments when your ego wants to alter your true identity. Focus in the rightness of Being.
These experiences are rough and yet they are precious: the more of us that have them, the greater our collective empathy and compassion becomes (and we are trying to move that big ship…).
A thousand blessings on our Space Holders!