Have you ever been to a genocide memorial? I knew I would be confronted, but I went anyway. To find hope amongst the heartbreak. Light in the darkness. Humanity. My own, and maybe everyone else’s too. A reason. A purpose for being and brutality. The contrast. I did not expect to be so heartbroken. To lose some part of myself in the eyes of the people in the photographs. To feel their terror and their aloneness. So I gathered them up, as many as I could, and brought them home.
I mean, I didn’t literally bring anyone home. But energetically I came home with a heart that ached and so many little people in my space that my own little people couldn’t get near me and I literally could not breathe. Well, not literally. Just energetically. Smuffocated.
I’ve talked about boundaries a lot. I teach them all the time to all the beautiful women (and sometimes men) I talk to, and we work out how they can safe in themselves and let love in and out, but not get drowned by the weight of other people pain or responsibilities or the desire to be everything to everyone and fix them all (gather them up and bring them home). In one of the movies in the genocide memorial a woman was speaking about how the Rwandans felt like the world had forgotten them – and I could not be part of that world who forgot them (even though I was well alive in 1994 and didn’t really have much or any idea about what was happening in their country). I’m not guilty about that. Although, I must be. Because if I wasn’t there would be no need to even write that. And guilt does not serve me, and makes me gather up everything that is not mine and carry it around for a time until I can not carry it anymore. And no one is any better off at the end of that. And I am usually exhausted and angry. I didn’t get angry at the Rwandans. Just at the incredible neediness of the house full of children I arrived home to. And at being so exhausted all the time.
What is happening around you is always a clue. The wobblier the boundary the more everyone needed me, and the more I was needed the more I gave. Until I stopped. And found a better way to help people.
Your job – as a coach, a mother, a lover, a wife and a friend is just (and has always been) to hold space. Not literally, but energetically. Your job is never to fix anyone or help anyone with their pain or confusion or problem, but to hold space so they can feel safe enough to find their own answers. Which they have. Inside. Literally. The more and better I became at holding space, the better “results” my clients got. The clearer they became. The more stuff they let go of. The happier they became. The better their relationships were. And so, by default (because you literally ALWAYS have to start with yourself) the place you have to get best at holding space is with yourself. And when you compromise that (by energetically filling it with Rwandan children as an example) you will get smuffocated. And it will remind you to come back to the place where there’s space. Right in the centre of your being. In alignment with the truth of who you are.
I wrote every day of our honeymoon. Stories of the world. Travelling reminded me of the world and reminded me not to look away but to look for what I wanted to see – light in the darkness, our humanity, hope in the heartbreak, children’s smiles, creativity, the beauty of nature – to remind me not to get lost in the minutiae of daily life (which I literally do every single day). I’m here in front of the computer writing (finally, finally) because I had to come and print out tonight’s dinner recipe so I can make sure I write it all on the note for the lady who comes today so I can go to Yin Yoga. Yin Yoga is good, but writing is better for me and I’ve not been doing it and I know I always dob myself in for that. But when I’m smuffocating I can not write and unless I write I can’t stop smuffocating. Literally. The chicken or the egg? So it’s best (always) to start with the thing that feels best (always) and not smuffocating is better than smuffocating. Even if I have to write about bringing home Rwandan children.
I’ve been holding space for them you know. Just outside the space of me, and one by one they move to the light and we quietly (not literally) thank each other for whatever it is we’ve been energetically doing.
There are foundations for everything, and space and boundaries sit solidly in the foundations. When you have those things in place anything is possible and you have this internal resource that can serve you first, and then be extended to others. It’s quite literally that simple. Know what I mean?