Holding Space

by Alan McAllister, CCHt PhD-phys

If you’ve ever had a friend call up because they’ve just had something significant happen in their life and you take the time to listen to them, in their excitement, or joy; sadness or confusion, you’ve held space for them. When you can just listen, without jumping in with your own story, or to advise, fix or reframe, but just listen, you’ve held space with integrity. This is not always easy, especially if you are triggered in any way by what they are saying, but doing this is a great gift, validating their experience of themselves and giving them space to spontaneously shift things that need shifting.

In my training as an energy worker we learned about setting the energy of a space. Something like interior decorating with energy. Different spaces and different activities work best with different energetic backgrounds or tones. Once you have set the space you can maintain it consciously, which is holding space in a formal sense.

When I am doing healing work with you it is important to set and hold space in a way the enhances and facilitates your process. There are various levels to this, including how I set my personal space, how the room or healing space is set, aspects of my relationship with the you, and guides or other outside energies that I might invoke. Sometimes these pieces may be set intentionally and formally, or they may simply flow from the energy and intention I bring to the space myself. The quality of presence that one brings to a teaching or healing space is a key part of the whole process.

In studying successful healers it has been found that they all bring a level of compassion, being an energy of allowance; allowing things to be as they are with love and gratitude. The great power of this energy is that until something can be accepted in the present moment, it cannot be changed. Once you can allow something to be present, you can begin to choose to keep it, or change it. As long as it is not accepted it is in the future or past and thus out of reach.

Holding a compassionate acceptance you can also naturally hold the knowledge that things can change, that healing is possible and the releasing old things is a great good, if sometimes painful. Bringing this permission to change, grow, heal without fear helps create the safety someone needs to follow their process.

When I am doing energy work with you, holding space for deep processing or transformation, there is the sense of almost literally holding the space in my hands, using them to invoke levels of energy that will facilitate your process. Until recently I have usually experienced this as holding a specific energetic vibration; of love, compassion, gentle support, or some other positive quality that seems appropriate to the situation. Sometimes I consciously set it, other times I leave it to Spirit.

In the last year a deeper level has shown up to be held. I suppose today people will think of this as a quantum level. To me it is simply the void. The void is not nothing. It is a vast sea of energy that has not yet come into physical manifestation. I see it as the ground of all possibilities. In holding this energy it is implicit that anything is possible, that you can release whatever is present and reform it in any way that serves you. To do this you have to release all the beliefs, resistances and attachments that have collected around the issue or condition you are working with. Easier said than done, but when this level of energy shows up, it brings these qualities with it, making things simpler and deeper.

The void is inside us all, underneath all of what we think we are, and if you ask it to arise it can become conscious to you as well, as is taught in more than one emotional release practice I have run across. When we can allow ourselves to drop into the dark, then we can come through it into the light of the love that is all the possibilities and becomes all the forms. This is really who you are.

We are now collectively learning and releasing what we need to to hold this space for each other and even for ourselves. May you find the courage you have for this grand adventure.

(© 11/2010)

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