Holding Space through Life & Grief

heart_skyHave you had times when . . . you’re going about your day and are aware of pausing and breathing?  You held a moment of space for yourself, gave yourself presence to the moment.  Have you had the moment of realizing . . . this person crossed by mind. Then you send up a simple prayer, a thought, an intent, holding space for that person.

A friend once told me that her purpose in life was prayer.  She had sold her home and lived in a senior community.  Her mobility was limited and she no longer was able to drive.  Her physical space of living was mostly inside the walls of her one room apartment.  She had faced these transitions and losses and many others in her lifetime, yet found the joy in her spiritual gift of presence.  She held space for others and herself. Her words carried great meaning to me.  They were a broadcast of her hope and joy.

Last year a friend said to me that my journey may be an example to others.  I haven’t really stopped to think about that much until this week.  I was called upon to talk about grief and loss and presence.  I found myself talking about ways others had been present with me and taught me how to be present to myself and my grief.  One big thing I learned was balancing holding space for myself and space for others.  I was so good at witnessing journeys of others that I forgot to observe my own.  With some spiritual companions accompanying me, my journey then began to unfold . . .

I became conscious of restoring and rejuvenating myself, my energy, my spirit . . . I opened to allowing others to hold space for me . . . I looked at who I was and eventually how I could genuinely be present to my journey to genuinely witness for others.  I especially need this gift of presence as a hospice worker and a yoga teacher.  Here’s a few things I’ve learned —

  • That when I hold space for myself, then I can give others that gift.
  • That allowing others to hold space for me is a powerful part of the healing process.
  • Giving myself the gift of presence includes honoring ways that I am not ready to be present or fully present.
  • Grief and loss are like the tide, each wave is it’s own experience, it’s own expression, often beginning before the perceived loss — anticipating the later loss.
  • Observing and experiencing are much more powerful than judging.
  • The timing may not be what was hoped or planned for, but may be more beautiful that way.
  • Being gentle with myself and others is a beautiful thing.


Related Reads

Sacred Companions: The Gift of Spiritual Friendship & Direction by David G. Benner

How to hold space for yourself first

What does it mean to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well

Dealing with a loved ones serious illness

The Grief Toolbox


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