Thursday, August 25, 2011

Are You Holding or Holding On?


The essence of the Sacred Feminine is very much womb-like, holding life in its suchness. This is wonderful to experience, whether you are the one being held or doing the holding. However, when we become frightened or confused we can become obsessed with holding-on rather than holding, and that’s when life becomes difficult.

Take a moment to remember a time when you cupped your hand and scooped up some water. In order to actually hold it in your hand, you must keep your hand formed in a cup shape and become as still as possible. You can observe the water and appreciate it, but the minute you attempt to squeeze it, the water will run out.

That is exactly what happens when we attempt to hold on to any aspect of our lives—whether it is a belief, dream, person, career, money, possession, or our health. If we don’t hold it lightly with great appreciation, stillness and care, it is likely to run out of our hands.

When we hold on to something with a vice-like grip, we are literally squeezing the life out of it. Whatever it is we are holding on to doesn’t stand a chance of being witnessed or seen for its own nature.

Consider relationship. Think of a time when you wanted someone to conform to your idea of who he or she should be. Did they become angry with you for trying to shape them into your image and likeness? Did they become alienated from you?

That’s what happens when we try to hold on to our image of what someone else should be. Most of us want to be seen and loved for who we are, even if we are acting out in some challenging ways. We might not expect people to live with our challenging behaviors, but we do hope we will be loved as we are in the moment.

Many of us try to make other people conform to what we want. We hold on to an idea or belief about how the world should be and how the people in our lives should behave. Rather than remove ourselves from incompatible relationships or learn to accept them as they are, we hold on tightly and attempt to change the other person.

This is like trying to squeeze the water in your hand. At some point, either you or they can’t maintain the pressure.

Something quite amazing happens when you choose to hold your feelings about the other person rather than hold on to our attempts to change them. If you give yourself permission to create a quiet moment and simply witness your feelings, in the same way you might observe water in your cupped hand, the fear, anger, resentment, regrets and frustrations you might have about someone else, simply dissolve. That’s right they dissolve.

All that remains is a deep, loving understanding of you and them. You are likely to find yourself gaining clarity about your challenge with that individual. You might find you have more tolerance, initiate a heart-to-heart conversation where you both share your concerns, take a retreat in order to give you both time to think about what you really want, or you might leave the situation.

Whatever you do, it will come from your truth, and you will be able to do it in love, rather than from an attempt to manipulate someone you love. Holding the feelings you have about someone else is a powerful way to resolve conflict with another.

It is not at all unusual to see a different response emerging from the other person, simply because you are no longer projecting your fears and frustrations on to them. You are able to see and hold them in their suchness, and they can feel the difference.

This is not a skill most of us were ever taught, so while we might understand it conceptually, it can be very difficult in practice. I’ve seen myself, and other women, seasoned in knowing how to hold, engage in energetic manipulation when the situation was pushing my buttons.

During our Path of the Sacred Feminine Women’s Retreat, we spend several days learning how to hold the feelings that create separation. LINK Individually and collectively, we remember that when we hold in love, we are the embodiment of the Sacred Feminine. We then take that awareness into our day-to-day lives, slowly letting go of the habit to hold on, and replacing it with the capacity to hold.