Life Musings

Holding space

“Send me some positive energy.” Heart vibrations. Warmth. Care. I am on my knees and I feel alone. I am learning how to crawl and fall. It hurts. I need help.

What is the opposite of separation? Connection.

It is a privilege to be called upon to care. It is an honor to be a witness to your journey, and hers, and his. The bruises and scrapes and bumps are holy. The tenderness is our gift, to ourselves, to each other.

I had a long conversation with one of my people yesterday. A light bearer who is feeling out of place, uncomfortable, overwhelmed. Stuck out. Wanting to hide.

I feel it too.

What would it look and feel like to hold space for each other? To hold space for ourselves? To realize the inner work is as important, if not more vital to the outer work? The work we can feel and taste and quantify. What would it look and feel like to value inspiration as much as production? What if the preparation, the invisible gathering of ideas and hopes and momentum became a cherished process? What if every creative project was cuddled and tended to with as much purpose and care in its infancy as we once were?

What if the exchange of energy and love mattered more than the paper we grasp onto so tightly?

“And the day came when the risk it took to stay tight inside the bud was more painfulthan the risk it took to blossum.” ― Anaïs Nin

As I dive into my creativity, the struggle to produce tangible results has been frustrating and often debilitating. My friend has been experiencing this, too. “Floaty. Lost. Crazy. Lonely. Little. Incapable. Stupid.” These are all words she used to express the journey. The crawling on banged up knees, bleeding.

I feel it too.

The need to prove I am enough. That I deserve my deepest dreams. That I can do this. That I’m not lazy, that my life and the work I’m doing isn’t arbitrary, or optional. It matters. I matter.

Every single day I hear from someone I love who is struggling. They are growing and wavering. Coming out to their families, suffering from depression, wondering if they have to choose creativity over stability. Facing doubt. Feeling ignored and unseen. Needing support. Reaching for validation, for a hand to hold. Hoping for a friendly voice to tell them, “It will all be okay, and until it is, I am here with you.”

Avignon, France 2013

This is the work. Holding space for each other to burn brightly. Imagining the best in yourself and others. Tending to that vision until it becomes a reality you can see and celebrate together. Believing it already is a reality. Holding space even when it’s uncomfortable. Even when you want to fill it with doing and planning and striving.

This is the work. Folding a tea towel neatly in half, squaring the edges. Threading it through the handle on the newly cleaned stove, shimmering white. Calling back, hanging up and calling again. Finding the time. Giggling imperviously. Sharing a cigarette with a stranger, because oh, why not? Crossing our chest in blessing, receiving, giving something we do not understand, habits of hands, motions of thanks.

Cutting out paper stars and coloring them yellow. Placing them atop a scrawny Christmas tree and watching the wonder. Letting it fill you up like a child, like the child you really are and will always be. Watching the red lights turn on and the glow of relief spread through tingling fingers, touching, feeling, laughing.

Christmas in Ghana, 2013

This is the work. Tearing invisible pieces of tape from the dispenser to hang blue and yellow, and white and red, and green prayer flags in your living room. Connecting thoughts and hopes to a people and a place you’ve never been, but know anyway. Tapping into the empathy, drinking it in, playing it out. Shared experience. Replies to comments. You are not alone, we are here together. You exist and so do I.

Belief in each other, in the best. Living in the well of potential and not excusing or apologizing for seeing what someone could become, what we could all become. Loving when we fail. Cleaning the wounds and watching as the regeneration occurs. Taking responsibility for the wound, even if it wasn’t yours. Because it is.

Sending recorded whispered thoughts, lightening flashes of love. Filling the cisterns, blowing the feathers to the wind like a message in a bottle, “You are here, with me.”

Cousin love! Wakarusa, 2011

This is the work. Relationships as currency. No hours of business, no complicated operations, just exchange for the joy of experience. Life for the pleasure of life. Connection for the sake of, it just feels good. Thought becoming matter becoming sound, becoming emotion and comfort. A reaching outward and reaching inward. Balance. Trust. I will catch me if I fall. You can too. I’ll show you how.

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