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  • Writer's pictureHannah Marsh

Holding Space

In our recent exploration of doubt and trust, we considered the conditions in which trust naturally arises. Some of you spoke to trust being present when there's a sense of control, familiarity, or certainty about an outcome. If a friend is always there for you, you trust she’ll be there again. If you routinely drive without trouble, you trust your skills behind the wheel (trust is more difficult, perhaps, when in the passenger seat).

Others spoke to trust being present in spite of uncertainty. Confiding in a new friend or starting a new creative project – with all the unknowns of how it will turn out – are acts of trust that may be better described as faith. Here we take a leap, letting go, surrendering some degree of control. We don’t know how things are going to turn out (do we ever?), and yet we go ahead anyway.

This is what's so beautiful, miraculous, and frightening about the creative process: we don't know what's going to happen. For many of us, this lies near the heart of our challenge. This is where doubt creeps in, even immobilizes us. Rather than take that uncertain leap to start a new project or share our work with others, we may spend our energies in debates with the inner critic, elaborate planning, or endless revisions – activities fuelled by doubt. We struggle with trust – especially trusting ourselves – amidst the uncertainty.

So how do we learn to trust in the face of the unknown? How do we learn to let go of control? How do we reassure ourselves that it’s safe to let go? After last class, thinking about these questions, I was reminded of a quote by Heather Plett about holding space for others:

“What does it mean to hold space for someone else? It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.”

What if we could do this for ourselves?

Sitting on a bench

In our July Mindfulness & Creativity drop-in, we'll explore holding space for ourselves. We'll see what happens to our doubts, our sense of trust, when we bring the intention to hold space for ourselves – allowing what's here, opening our hearts, offering support, and letting go of judgement and control.


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