He was quiet and I could sense he was dealing with some disturbing energy. One of my challenges has been to maintain my neutrality, my positivity, my cool, when people around me are upset. We all have the ability to know, to feel, when someone is dealing with difficult emotions. The danger is always that emotions are like magnets, and it takes self awareness and the ability to remain centered to stay put and not get sucked in. Sucked in to reacting with anger, or worry, or any fluctuation in your own mood. This is especially difficult when one of our hot spots gets triggered. You know what they are, the core issues that seem to repeatedly come up in your life. The need to be right, the need for everyone to like you, the need to be the best, the need to have more, the need to be in control…we all have some variation of these needs/wants, the roots buried deep in our personal story.
So here was my test. My son was upset, the ultra sensitive mom radar was beeping as I intuitively felt his mood. The first thing that popped into my head was “*Alert*Alert*Equilibrium compromised*Dig*Ask questions*Fix*”. My instinct, conditioned I am sure by years of practice, was to fix it. To delve in immediately and see what I could change in his world to bring him back into the comfort zone. “Hold a place for him” was my second thought, thankfully before I could act on the first. I have read about “Holding a place”, but until this moment it was a vague theory that I kind of knew what it meant but not really. In that moment I realized it is a choice to sit back, quiet the voice in your head, and be present for someone. It makes no difference if it is your child, your spouse, your coworker, or even the person waiting behind you in line.
When any human being that is in your life is upset, angry, hurt, depressed, you can be the anchor. You can be the place where they feel safe. You can be the unconditional acceptance that we all need by choosing to listen without judgment, to be present without offering a solution, to hear without reacting. This is what it means to hold a place.