Holding the space

For many years one of the primary metaphors I use in spiritual direction training has been ‘holding the space’. Nonetheless, I was personally reminded of the importance of this a few days ago.

Whilst I have given dozens of quiet mornings and quiet days over the last several years, I haven’t attended very many. On Saturday I attended a quiet day led by a couple in our parish. My attendance was mostly spurred on by the fact that the day had been an idea hatched between my editor and I.

It was a most remarkable day for me. Something that has been building in me for several months finally found expression. But I know that I would not have found that outlet had it not been for caring containment of the quiet day leaders. Had I taken myself off for the day on my own (something very easy for me to do) I would not have risked venturing into the space. Precisely because I knew the space was contained and that I was ‘held’, I had the freedom to explore.

I have been tremendously blessed in my spiritual directors over the years – I see now, in a new way, the way they have assisted my exploration. It also makes me realise why I have been hesitant to take my own retreat in the absence of any direction. Maybe one day I will have the capacity to do a ‘self-directed’ retreat. But I know beyond all doubt – I am not there yet!

One thought on “Holding the space

  1. A good spiritual director is a gift indeed. I am grateful for the way in which you express this essential ingredient in spiritual direction – we feel safe because someone is holding the space for us. Blessings.

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