Hold The Space

"If we get the opportunity to be an ally to someone in their Hero's Journey, that's a gift."

  -Dani Davis

We are taught to lend a helping hand to those in need. This is common human decency. 

We are not always taught which type of help is the most effective in a given circumstance.

In Dani's episode, she talked about seeing people in their struggle and her desire to lend that hand. She offered help in many active and tangible ways: She wrote a song performed by Broadway singers to raise money for my daughter's bone marrow transplant. (see video). She pulled her kids out of an emotional nose dive after her divorce. 

Active and tangible help can be very effective in certain situations. However, it's not the only way to help.

Through her personal crisis, Dani learned that sometimes the best help was much less obvious. She learned to quietly hold the space for someone as they traverse their painful struggle. Though it may seem passive, it's quite the opposite.

Holding the space for someone means that you are intently with them as a loving presence. 

You create a safe context for their struggle to exist; without judgment, without answers, without advising, without fixing. You are merely being with them in their struggle.

Painful struggles are a part of life. 

We all have them at one time or another. In our desire to help, we often want to fast-track people through their struggle because we can't stand to see suffering. We want to make it go away. If we can say the right words, or distract them, or try to fix it for them, then we feel like we've helped. 

Struggles are there for a reason. 

As a Coach, I've learned that people need to be in their struggle and to honor it as such. If it is short-circuited and fast-tracked, the person doesn't have the opportunity to allow healing and transformation to occur. 

Holding the space allows the struggle to exist; to be felt and patiently observed.  

Dani talked about the struggle she encountered after her crisis had passed. Everything was "fine" on the outside, but then she started feeling really low and wasn't able to discern what was going on. Through coaching, we identified that everything had caught up to her and she needed to pause and grieve the losses.

So, we gave that grief room to exist. I didn't take it away from her or tell her to get over it and move on. We just sat in that context together and she began to process and heal. 

When you fill that space with your fears, your solutions, your opinions, it crowds out the inner wisdom that can emerge. People often know what to do already. They really just need the space and permission to go through their own journey.

Grief Relief

The Holy Window