The gift of holding space

The gift of holding space

‘Holding space’ is one of the greatest gifts we can offer another person.

Whether we are speaking with a friend in need, working with a colleague in a challenging situation, or supporting a client to overcome their obstacles, ‘holding space’ means we create a clearing in our own thoughts and reactions so we can meet the other person where they’re at.

By holding space, we offer others a safe container so they feel heard and seen, without judgement.

Often when we confide in others, or find ourselves in a potentially volatile conversation, there is the fear of being judged or rejected. This automatically creates a barrier as we put up defences to hide our vulnerability and not risk looking foolish.

And so the opportunity for true heart-felt connection is lost… and the very real cost of this (in our families, communities, and business environments) are people who feel isolated, unsupported, and disconnected.

The art of holding space can be achieved through a few simple – yet ego-challenging – steps:

1) Clear your mind and focus on this moment.

2) Give up the need to analyse or fix the other person. Accept that they are on their own path and your role is to hold their hand (and heart) while they face their shadow in the way that feels safe for them.

3) Ask gentle questions to allow the person to unravel the thoughts that roll in, but don’t be attached to the answer – this is not about proving how much you know, or your skills in diagnosing them – but merely witnessing them.

4) If the other person’s story triggers you, breathe deeply and honour your own process without bringing it into their story. This is not the time to compare tragedies to see who is worse off.

5) Offer your compassion without ‘buying into’ their story or agreeing to their version of events because that will only lock them further into a certain perspective, which may not serve them in the long run.

6) There is no ‘goal’ or ‘result’ to strive for. Don’t push the person beyond where they are ready and willing to go themselves. Trust that you are part of a loving process in that moment, and the best you can do is be available when they want to journey further.

7) Be very aware of the role you play so that you are not enabling them in a state of victimhood. If you feel that the person is using your presence as a tool to keep themselves stuck, then step back graciously, release them with love, and help them find more suitable support.

Practising the above steps allows us to be better listeners and more honest communicators, so we can be the best version of ourselves and truly embrace the gifts of our humanity.

 

© Artemiss Keyhani, 2019
Photo: Skeeze from Pixabay

Can you be present and hold space for someone in need?

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No suffering necessary

No suffering necessary

We do NOT have to suffer… before earning the right to happiness.

Or to be deserving of abundance or worthy of enlightenment.

If any ‘guru’ or belief-system tries to convince you otherwise, please embrace your self-loving boundaries and run the other way – fast!

Because suffering is no longer a prerequisite for evolving as a spiritual being or embracing personal joy. We must stop glorifying drama and trauma as the only path to Love.

Most of us experience challenging situations that test us – sometimes a little and sometimes to the edge of breaking – and these most certainly affect the person we become. For those who embrace and transform their pain, they do indeed offer a perspective and connection that can sooth, empower, and heal others.

But to claim that strength and wisdom can ONLY come from those who have suffered sets up a very limiting possibility from which we can live in the world. It leaves us asking How do I know if I have suffered enough? What is the barometer and who am I comparing my pain against to see if I’m worthy yet?

The belief system that we can only grow through suffering also ignores other sources of wisdom:

  • what we have experienced and learned in previous lives
  • divine guidance from sources other than our own physical experience
  • our ability to empathise with others without having to suffer through the same ourselves.

I used to believe in absolute duality, that we cannot know cold without hot, up without down, happiness without sadness… but I know now that it doesn’t have to be that way. These beliefs – so ingrained in many of our cultures, religions, spirituality – once served a purpose of creating contrast as a way for us to understand certain energetic concepts, especially at a time when humanity felt itself separate from Source/God and undeserving of Love.… but that time has passed. We have found our Divinity-Within and know there is an alternative for those who want to take a path of greater peace and ease, because we already ARE Love.

 

So, if you stand in the possibility that you no longer *have to* suffer in order to ‘deserve’, how different would life look?

What happiness would you call forth right now?

What abundance would you readily allow into your life?

What enlightenment would be yours to claim, just because?

 

© Artemiss Keyhani, 2019
Photo: Artemiss Keyhani

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Dressing up, down or sideways

Dressing up, down or sideways

How we physically present ourselves is a key part of our power, in terms of inviting connections and improving understanding.

It’s all very well to say people shouldn’t judge on appearance alone, but really… who doesn’t?

We judge the person standing near the dark alley – will we be safe walking past him? We judge the person knocking on our door about some cause – do we have anything in common with her and willing to make the time to listen?

This topic came to my attention a few years ago when my children and I joined a peaceful demonstration against a local circus that uses exotic animals in their show. There were about 25 adults and 15 kids of various ages in our group. It was a respectful presence and many of the cars that drove past beeped their horns as a sign of support.

What was most interesting to notice – as I am very much a people watcher – were the looks on the faces of the people who were driving into the grounds where the circus was held. Either they had already bought their tickets or were about to – so were very much the people whose attention we were seeking.

Almost all of us were dressed in what can loosely be termed ‘hippy’ gear (and while I don’t identify myself under this label, the tasselled paisley jacket I wore said otherwise). The people who drove by looked at us en-mass and I could see their dismissive expressions, as if to say “there goes those crazy hippies – not people I relate to” so it was easy for them to dismiss us.

However, two of the ladies in our group had joined us after work and were wearing suit pants and jackets, and the looks they attracted were radically different. I saw many people doing double-takes, as if to say “what are these respectful people doing with the hippies? What have they got to say about this?”

I am not sharing this story to demonstrate my mind-reading skills but because it brings to awareness our need to be conscious of how we are perceived. Does this mean I recommend that we all put on facades or socially-acceptable masks? Feek no! But I do encourage you to be aware of how you present yourself, so that if you are constantly getting a certain (undesirable) response you can then evaluate what is behind it and whether you want to make different choices.

Years ago – after working for myself for many years during which I accumulated a few facial piercings – I was headhunted by a design studio looking for a client manager. As I was preparing to go to the interview a friend asked if I was going to remove my piercings and I said no, because I had consciously decided that I did not want to work for someone who was going to judge my suitability based on a few extra holes. But… I did also choose to dress in a clean professional outfit because I knew it would portray a very different image than if my piercings were accompanied by ripped jeans and a dirty t-shirt.

So it becomes a dance – how do we express ourselves authentically while still being relatable to those we want to connect with or serve?

 

© Artemiss Keyhani, 2019
Photo: Stux from Pixabay

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Getting my wings

Getting my wings

A few years ago, I was attending regular Lightworkers Development Circles. During one session, the facilitator led us on a visual meditation then suggested we ask Source a question, as specific or general as we wanted, and be open to what came through.

I had been really struggling with my role as Mother for some time – not just daily challenges and bad moments, but intense resentment towards myself for failing at it so badly.

Going into the meditation I asked “how do I step into my power as a Mother?”

Instantly, I found myself on a lush green hill, running with Ms 5 and Mr 2 and laughing with carefree abandon – which is so rare for me. It came to me clearly: I need to allow myself to enjoy them more, every day, in all the little things.

Scene change… I was standing on stone steps – narrow, broken and steep, they went down into a black ravine that I couldn’t see the bottom of. Both sides of the steps were sheer drops – it was like teetering on stilts. I was gripping Mr 2 in my arms and clutching Ms 5 by the hand, so certain that any moment I would misstep and we would plunge into the abyss and there was nothing I could do about it. Absolute terror paralysed me. But suddenly a feeling came down over me – a blanket of peace. My body relaxed and I became unshakably certain that we would be OK, that I had the strength needed to keep us safe and not be lost to the void.

Scene change… we walked into a small clearing and sat in a circle together. At once, huge white angel wings burst from my back – and felt natural as if they had always been there. I wrapped them around my children, cocooning the three of us in a lovely serene space.

The workshop facilitator then told us it was time to come back from the meditation. I had a moment of panic as I thought “how will I pull my kids along as I fly back?” but then as I stood, holding onto their hands, my wings folded back to reveal that both of my children now had their own beautiful white angel wings. The three of us flew up together. And I cried in joy and relief.

I am a human angel. I am courageous and resilient for myself and my children, but I don’t need to fear for them every step of the way because they are very capable within themselves.

I only need to BE with them in joy and love.

 

© Artemiss Keyhani, 2019
Photo: S.Hermann & F.Richter from Pixabay

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I AM complete

I AM complete

In the water I am Orca
I don’t need to cling to a lifebuoy.

In the air I am Falcon
I don’t need to grasp a parachute.

In the earth I am Dandelion
I don’t need to tunnel with a shovel.

In the fire I am Lava
I don’t need a false accelerant.

I don’t need
. . . . . . . saving
. . . . . . . fixing
. . . . . . . tough loving
. . . . . . . testing
any more.

I AM sovereign.

I AM whole.

I AM complete.

Artemiss-I-am-complete

© Artemiss Keyhani, 2019
Photo: John Hain from Pixabay

Are you on the path of reclaiming your true self?

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