Permission to Do Less
Do You Remember?

Holding Space for Others

Red thread

Laundry tumbles in my dryer; towels wait to be folded and stashed in the linen closet.

Paper, glue, fabrics, pens, and other assorted art make stuff hides my studio floor. More stacks of it play the "Leaning Tower of Pisa" act on my tables.

Meat needs to be repackaged into smaller portions and frozen for later use.

But in the midst of all of this mess, this entering back into reality, I'm playing with photos, catching up a bit on Facebook posts, and just figuring out how to move through my day without losing the magic of these past few days.

In between the busy-ness of today, I've flipped through most Facebook posts, just trying to get a sense of what's been happening out on the interwebs, but now and then, something begs to be read more carefully. Barbara Techel's "On Being a Space Keeper" was one of those. Barbara writes so beautifully about holding space for others, letting them "discover and uncover what is right for them." I smiled as I read and re-read her words; she's managed to capture what I've been living for the last several days, the last several weeks, really.

We need our safe spaces, the people that listen to us, encourage us, and help us to believe our creativity needs to come into being. They don't judge, tell us we need to be doing something differently, let us figure things out on our own, gently offering help if asked. You can read a bit more here.

I spent the last 5 days with an amazing group of women, gathered in Maryland's mountains at Lesley Riley's Red Thread Retreat. We talked, laughed, drank wine, ate amazing meals, and created art books with Nina Bagley. At the beginning of the retreat, Lesley put one rule into place, "No talk of politics." I can't begin to describe the relief when that negative energy disappeared.

Workshops ran from 9 to 5, more or less. We broke for amazing lunches, wonderful nourishing food delivered to the main house. At any time, people wandered off to walk in the woods or along the river, gather leaves, or just be alone for a few moments. Nina encouraged us to take chances, to explore new techniques and methods. If you forgot a supply, you just asked. Someone was bound to have it and offer it freely.

And, here's the big deal: we all got along; no alpha leaders emerged. We simply helped each other on the journey, encouraging, offering help if needed...holding space for each other.

Evenings brought wine, beer, snacks, and lively discussions. More amazing food appeared at dinner, and we took turns cleaning up. No one needed to create a schedule; we simply got it done. A few of us wandered off to get massages.

And, now, I sit typing, trying to put it all into words, and pretty much failing. So few people truly hold space for each other. We seem to have tumbled into a mad world of too much anger, too much judging. I'm tired of political rants from both parties, of rude and uncivil people trying to cram their beliefs down my throat and/or making each political candidate to be the devil come back to life. I avoid it as much as I can, but it's pretty damn hard to miss all of it. If we all just held space for each other, could you imagine the change?

As Barbara writes, "Holding space, sitting in silence with my soul, praying for peace for our world, that energy then moves out into our troubled world."

Please, go read what Barbara wrote. Sit with it for awhile, think about at least one person you could "hold space" for and then do it.

Really, truly, go do it.

It's wonderful. I know it, because I lived it.

Thank you, Lesley, Barbara, and all my Red Thread friends,  for everything.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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