“Holding the space” for change

Youth is defined by action. America is definitely a youth-oriented culture, so you can see how we are defined by action. In the 1980s, the mantra “Massive Action” was all the rage. It seems, like Edison’s attack of 10,000 different filaments to make a light bulb, that struggle is the only way to succeed.

Now, that was OK for the centuries defined by muscle, the physical eras. But our lives are just too full for more massive action. This is why many are being forced to learn new ways of creating change. One of the most profound yet simple, ways for change is “holding a space”.

“Holding a space”, a space for change, is one of the keys to the art of coaching. It transformed my own life. A way to think of holding space is the ancient Chinese metaphor: a tea cup that is full cannot allow any new tea.

Imagine creating in your mind first a space for something new to happen. Like an empty cup. Feel that space, ready for something new, and imagine it expanding out beyond your mind to you heart, your spine, toes, out to fill the room your are in. Now, gently hold that space, it is sacred. Hold that empty cup. Now, invite someone in that would like change in their life. Maybe a spouse, child, or employee. Just hold the space so they can discover change on their own. It’s a magical space. I’ve seen people drop years of struggle in this space. A space where all the old ideas can evaporate allowing an empty cup to be filled with something new. And all I had to do was hold the cup. Maybe put a little tea in first to add flavor.

Try this with someone today. Like anything valuable, it takes practice, but the happy accident when it works will blow you away. Meditation is also the most ancient way of practicing holding space in your own mind. Space for something new.

I’ve got some space again in my coaching practice. Space for something new. So, if you meet someone that would love to experience change, let them know. They’ll thank you for holding the space for their enlightenment.


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