“an 80 person hug” – holding the space.

We had a really special day in June.  We got married!

My husband’s brother commented on the event in the following way:  That even though people came from all directions and places to be at the wedding, and although many had never met each other, and although there were  language barriers, and different cultures present, …the word he used to describe what he felt throughout the ceremony and reception was:  COMMUNITY and TOGETHERNESS.

When I reflect back on it, as so many told me before the day, to make sure to take it all in… I really do have so many memories and faces and special moments in my mind.  But bigger than all that was a feeling.  An emotional intelligence about it all.  Like something in the air, holding the space.  I guess the best way I could describe it would be like an 80-person hug.  An embrace and a holding, that lasted for hours and hours and hours.  ahhhhhhhohhhhh how yummy!

One of my favorite moments of the 80-person hug when everyone joyously greeted us as we drove into the parking lot of the reception venue!  all smiles!

One of my favorite moments of the 80-person hug when everyone joyously greeted us as we drove into the parking lot of the reception venue! all smiles!

Ive heard a lot in teaching, in bodywork and therapeutic circumstances the phrase “to hold the space.”  The idea being to give permission, space ,and our presence to allow something to take place.  It could be holding the space for a grieving friend, and just letting them cry.  It could be in bodywork, waiting and allowing for the body to move or change how it needs to.  It could even be holding the space for dialogue in an important business discussion.  The idea being, to create a loving intention of allowing something to transpire.

In the wedding, this 80-person hug was the most extreme version of anything I have ever felt like that of holding the space.  Like a communal effort of support and energy and love all for the success, honoring and celebration of two people.  It was one of the most miraculous things that I have felt.   …And the most beautiful part is that the feeling has stayed with me.  That feeling still feels so accessible.  I am so thankful.  And so I have been thinking a lot about it and have been trying on that feeling…finding ways to share it, ways to embrace a situation, a space, a person – even just with my energy.

Holding the space.

Like in guiding my classes,   (Ive returned to teaching and its been wonderful.) I am teeaching two classes that I am calling “Contemporary Movement” which invite the whole person.  I try to allow and invite each students’ whole experience into the class.  I encourage them through my words and demeanor to bring into connection not just  their body, but also theri emotions, mind, spirit, life experiences, and uniqueness into each class. Its open to anyone its been amazing that both professional dancers and non-movers are attending the same class.  During this class I have actually been challenged to let go of the notion of teacher, and accept myself as a guide.

I think that the idea of “holding the space” requires a little bit of letting the “teacher” go inside us.  That we don’t necessarily control the outcome, but just are present and witness.  I have found that in this space is where some of where the most profound healing can begin as well.     We trust and believe that the person, or process, or body, deep down has the knowledge to heal, grow, transform, transcend, get better etc.  By holding the space for someone else, we allow them to “go through it” or “do the work” without judgement or opinion… its a safe space.  A vulnerable one.  I guess thats why so many people cry at weddings.  🙂

Haha, so in the notion of weddings and other events, I suppose its important to mention that we don’t just have to “hold the space” for sadness, struggle or pain.  But that we can hold it for moments of joy as well.  Really be present in that moment with those we are with … and that presence, that holding of the space kind of acts like a kind of imprint on the nervous system.  A YES.  This is it.  It is good.  All is well.

- a picture of my contemporary movement class -

– a picture of my contemporary movement class –

I am so thankful for these new experiences!  Its great to be writing about my musings again, and as always great to know a few might be on the other end enjoying my unravelings.

So if you encounter something this week,  try holding the space and let me know how it goes.

Love,

Ashley