‘Holding Space’ - an intimacy super power

Have you ever had a situation where you were telling someone something about your day or life and they just weren’t seeming to listen? Maybe they were interrupting, jumping in to share their own experiences, or were telling you what you should do... Maybe they got all emotional about what you were saying, or they just weren’t listening, or even looked at their phone?

Imagine if you had someone you could go to who you knew would truly listen. If there was a person in your life that you knew you could share anything with, without judgement or advice, and you could talk things through after but only if you asked for that?

This is called holding space, and while it sounds simple, it’s a game changer in relationships that few know and even fewer actually do.

The most important thing about this is that nothing that comes up is taken personally. So if you are holding space for your partner and they say they don’t feel appreciated. You allow them to express, and after you might ask them if they want to explore that more, but you wouldn’t pick a fight about it or take it as an attack. If you do this the whole process breaks down and it’s a heavy violation of trust.

When I first met my boyfriend, in our early dating days (maybe 3 dates in) I was still, let’s call it recovering,  from my previous marriage. We were driving home from a movie, when he asked me what I wanted in life. He didn’t ask it like a particularly heavy question but I felt triggered so badly I started crying. And once I started, I couldn’t stop. I felt like a complete broken mess. But he just pulled the car over, sat with me and held my hands while I cried. Which I did for maybe 30-40 minutes. At the end I managed to splutter a thank you and he just hugged me, asked if I needed anything and we went home. He didn’t ask me what it was all about or try and fix it. He didn’t judge me. Neither of us knew what that was at the time, but now I know it’s holding space. It’s one of the kindest, most compassionate things we can do for another person.

This is something I use constantly and teach every client - I use it when I am coaching and when I coach couples or work with mentees they get to learn and practice doing it live in our sessions.

Recently one of my male clients told me that practice alone has completely shifted the communication in his marriage to feeling more free and relaxed.

For several years, especially around sex, he and his wife had been treading carefully around each other, every so often one of them saying or doing something that would upset the other, making it feel impossible to feel relaxed and sex feel like something that needed to ‘work’, because if it got weird it would be terrible.

We did an exercise called Desires, Fears, Loves on our call together where they each got to practice taking turns sharing and holding space. And it had a profound effect on their communication and intimacy.

The goal here is not to try and constantly hold space. It is to recognise when it’s the right time for it, and it’s a skill that makes you an imminently better friend, lover, partner, parent, human in any relationship.

I’ll be demonstrating some of my favourite holding space practices in my FB group over the next couple of weeks... so if you want to learn more please do join us, send me any questions you have and watch your relationships transform!

Lots of love

Two Things You Should Know About Me

There are 2 things you should know about me.

  • One, I have spent an inordinate amount of time seeking meaning and happiness in life;

  • Two, I am a compulsive sharer.

If I find something new that helps me I cannot wait to share it with basically anyone who stands still for long enough.

It’s been great for my career as my enthusiasm and passion can sell almost anything.

However I learned to be careful about what I share.

I quickly discovered it’s a horrible feeling trying to explain how amazing something is to someone you care about, only to find they take a set against it. They don’t understand. They decide it’s not for them based on the tiniest bit of information. And worst of all, they start to doubt you.

I now know this actually says more about the relationships I was in at the time than anything else. But it gave me a fear of sharing honestly.

I started keeping anything too complicated or important to me to myself. I started to second guess what I shared with everyone and to use what I did share to seek validation.

I am still often scared that what I share is going to be too hard for people to understand.

I’ve done so many things I draw on - yoga, Buddhism, Tantra, Feminine Spirituality, Embodied spirituality, positive psychology, energy healing, sexual healing, hypnosis, therapy and tons more. I’ve read most of the luminary thinkers like Ekhart Tolle and Byron Katie as well as the lifestyle gurus like Brene Brown, Russel Brand and Tony Robbins.

I am always learning but I’ve stopped jumping on the next thing because I’ve noticed it’s not about finding the right thing, it’s about applying what we learn. 10 different theories or multiple gurus can’t save us if we just consume them briefly before moving on to the next shiny thing.

The things I work with now are the things I have found to be the most powerful.

I believe the biggest factors to how we experience life are self love, relationships and empowerment (the ability to know and take action towards what we want).

And I believe the way to get there is a blend of working with our mind and our body.

I am still human and I haven’t mastered everything (or anything really!) in life perfectly but I do know these things for sure:

- The key to self love is the body

- The key to freedom is knowing how to work with the mind

- They key to amazing sex and relationships is truth and self responsibility

Which is all a lot more fun than it sounds!

I believe with all my heart the work I do in coaching is the most important thing we can do in our lives.

And every time I start to get quieter about it someone shares a story about something I shared that helped, or asks me to share more.

We need more people to talk about sex, relationships, life, in a more honest way so these topics become more normalised.

I often think about how we can do this.

How can we do this without evoking any shame, fear, or insecurity? In a way that is inclusive and accessible?

And I think the most important thing is to keep the dialogue going.

So I am going to keep sharing!

And I'd love to hear if you have things you'd like to hear more about.