THE BROOKE SNOW PODCAST – Brooke Snow

Episode 24 – HOLDING SPACE

“Today’s podcast is all about holding space. More specifically, the power we have to choose the emotion we want to have and to hold onto it, despite the emotional pull of the environment or people around us.”

Two things: 1) The skill to “hold space” is essential to my own emotional health. We discussed that in the last blog post, DAY #11. But, let’s look at another aspect of “holding space”. 2) The skill to “hold space” is a gift we can offer others.

“Anytime you support someone going through a difficult experience, you hold the space for them to process and progress through their challenge. You help them feel safe to go through that experience.”

The past couple years, as I have been trying to “process and progress” through the negative emotions I’ve attached to my parents’ divorce, I have felt a tremendous amount of guilt for my thoughts surrounding the divorce and my parents. Instead of charity and even pity, I’ve felt so much anger and resentment. If all emotions are a choice, as we recognized in earlier podcasts, than it is my responsibility and my fault for feeling one way over another.

Do you follow me?

Guilt. Pain. I was in a downward spiral, with no light before me.

One afternoon, in prayer, I plead with the Lord to forgive me and change me – take away the anger. I want you to know that I believe He has the power to do so, and He does immediately take away these damning feelings, at times. But I also believe that there are more times than not that He will allow us to go through the emotions, because it is an experience that will serve us well. Maybe now, or maybe in the future, going THROUGH the experience, we will find, had served us well.

I love the book, Going On a Bear Hunt:

“We can’t go over it! We can’t go under it! Oh, no, we’ve got to go THROUGH it!”

Yes!

So. One afternoon, while praying, I begged for this pain to be taken from me. I wanted to go OVER it. I wanted to go UNDER it. If there was anyway to keep from having to go THROUGH it, I was asking for another way.

While still in prayer, my mind turned to the account of Jonah in the Old Testament. I got off my knees, and opened my Old Testament. I read the entire book of Jonah, right there on the floor. Then I got back on my knees. My mind turned again to Jonah. I got off my knees. I opened my Old Testament again. Jonah. I got back on my knees, and I experienced a moment of revelation – God’s communication with me.

I am “Jonah”. I sit on my mountain, above the problems of others, and I look down on my parents and judge them. I judge them harshly and I see no way that this – that they – will ever be okay.

The Lord could have – and I, at the time, thought SHOULD have – destroyed Jonah! Jonah knew better! What a hypocrite!

But the Lord does NOT destroy Jonah. In fact, He covers Jonah with a gourd, protecting him from the harsh sun – giving him a space to work out the negative emotions he was feeling.

I am a Jonah, not worthy by any account to be protected or even comforted. But the Lord, in His mercy, does not judge me harshly, rather He covers me – giving me a safe place to work through my negative emotions.

In my case, that “space” – that safe place – did not come in the form of a gourd. But it came in the form of a man, my precious husband, who protected me from the heat of the situation, allowing me to experience my negative emotions in a gentle and forgiving place.

This is something for me to be grateful for today, as well as a gift for me to offer others tomorrow – a “space”, where I can maintain the safe emotional environment for others to “process and progress through (their) experience”.

Ultimately that “space” comes in the form of a Savior, our Brother, Jesus Christ. The Atonement is not solely to take away our pain – to lead us over or under life experience – but to give us a safe place to go THROUGH our pain.