Life Changes

The holidays are often a time for reflection on our lives. Maybe in part, because we finally take some time to interact in ways that we might not during the rest of the year. Or maybe there’s finally an awareness that we’ve made ourselves too busy to participate “once again.”

We might be looking in the mirror and wonder ing how that person has either aged, or disengaged.

Life changes each time we experience something eye opening; anything from a simple awareness to an “ah-ha” moment.

Energy flows where our thoughts go, with our intentions, awareness and curiosity leading the way.

So what might be a fresh new lens to look through today?

There’s a concept and practice called “creating and holding space.” Something I’ve taught both college students and business clients for years. A simple awareness is enough to start.

A key component is learning what you want to create within your mind’s eye and project into the world. You don’t need to know every detail. Start with an intention. Create as you go.

I believe it’s the time and attention that someone brings to “creating and holding space” within each place, and within each relationship, that changes our framework of living.

Here’s a quick example to introduce this idea within a workplace:

For three years I taught at a college where my classroom was a cinderblock room with no windows.

Along with creating curriculum for my coursework, it was equally important that I created and held space in the classroom for my students to become part of a learning community.

What makes the difference between a cinderblock room and an interactive learning environment? It’s how you create and hold the space for others, and yourself. It’s what you boundary out, while leaving room to expand as well.

“Welcoming” is an important practice within this space. It’s saying hello, using someone’s name, looking them in the eye, your tone of voice, the look on your face — plus more.

It’s important to be present; to listen carefully, while not being preoccupied with preparing your response.

It’s allowing every opportunity for someone to succeed. It’s also inviting people to engage with each other in new and interesting ways.

Whether in a classroom, your workplace, your home or within your relationships — how could you create and hold space?

Let’s transition to individual relationships. There’s a book that couples may be interested in reading. It’s called “The Zim Zum of Love” by Rob and Kristen Bell. It focuses on creating and holding space for each other.

Consider the fact that relationships don’t work because time and space were never adequately made and held sacred for each other. This could be for couples, parents and their children, or other relationships.

For additional thoughts on this topic, Heather Plett wrote a column titled “What it Really Means to Hold Space for Someone.” She focused on the following eight thoughts for relationships:

1. Give people permission to trust their own intuition and wisdom.

2. Give people only as much information as they can handle.

3. Don’t take their power away.

4. Keep your own ego out of it.

5. Make them feel safe enough to fail.

6. Give guidance and help with humility and thoughtfulness.

7. Create a container for complex emotions, fear, trauma, etc.

8. Allow them to make different decisions and have different experiences than you would.

Plett also stated, “Our human tendency is to want to fix something for someone, but that takes away another person’s power.”

Ever since I learned about creating and holding space, I could not unlearn it. I embraced it, and thought how I could create a positive difference for myself and others.

It’s allowing all of the “possibles” into life again; and using your thumbprint to do it.

Whether you use this practice at work, home or in personal relationships, know there is another very important place to consider these concepts as well. Quite specifically, the space you create for the special relationship with your self.

If you are always putting others first, when do you put yourself first? It’s not selfish. It gives you a fuller life, where you can simultaneously mentor others with your healthier perspectives.

So what might that look like? Do you have boundaries for keeping negativity away from you? Do you practice kindness and mindfulness for your self? Do you take care of your mind, body and spirit? And how often do you offer, or experience, joy?

Why not simply allow it? For many this is challenging. That’s why it’s called a “practice.” I will be the first to say it takes focus. Yet it is a life changing choice.

Whatever it is that you find important on your heart today, I hope this information brings a little gift of awareness into your life.

Langley is the author of “Life Changes … “ Her column is published the first Sunday of every other month in the Lifestyle section.