May 23, 2011

Holding Space and Deliberate Vulnerability

Mr. Neo
In yoga teacher training and through out the practice we learn a lot about holding space for our students. While it's not a skill you can necessarily learn, it is a part in all of us that we have to cultivate. How can we be present for the student crying on the mat, the student fearful and nervous, the student who is full of confidence? We have to hold space for all of them, in the same room at the same time. It's not easy, but it gets easier. While this area of my teaching practice is growing in leaps and bounds it was almost missing in part of my personal life.

I couldn't hold space for my cat this morning.

When taking, Neo, my 11-year-old tabby, to the vet for a procedure to treat his dental disease I got scared. The vet still reminds me of losing Murphy. I remember picking up his remains and I get sick with grief. I tried to keep it together for Neo, but it was hard. Tears were beginning to flow as they took him away. I hope he only sensed my love and not my fear.

I realized I felt so vulnerable, exposed. Yet I remembered my words to my students this weekend, "See vulnerability not as weakness, not as being exposed, but as an opportunity to willingly move to the wobbly place,  because good things come from being shaky". I need to heed those words. I realized that my willingness to put Neo's health above my own comfort level was a way of holding space for him. My willingness to return to a trusted veterinarian despite the pain was a way to be vulnerable in the most deliberate way so that I could rebuild my experience and add new memories, memories of a cat healing, not only of a dog saying goodbye.

The beauty of the Universe...she will quickly make sure you're ready to teach the ideas you're sharing by ingraining that personal experience more deeply within you. Have you come up against your past lately? Is it preventing you from moving forward, from holding space for someone who needs you?

Think about it.  How can you be present in an are of discomfort and hold space? How can you choose to be vulnerable in a deliberate, even delicious way? If you choose to take on these tasks, in what ways will your world open and expand? Give it a try, it's worth it.


Meredith LeBlanc said...

Every day I pray to be open to the wills & wishes of the great Universe - it puts my mind in gear to be vulnerable to what ever comes my way & learn from it.

As for the vet, I still can't go to there without thinking of Nicki's last day. I try to think about how wonderful the whole staff was to her & how the techs would all would always come to see her during her many, many visits even if they weren't attending to her. I am grateful for them.


Meredith LeBlanc said...

P.S. Mr. Neo has such a beautiful face!

Tali said...

Thank you Meredith. He is the gentlest, sweetest guy. I am so glad he's in good hands.