I’m getting back into a habit of reading articles and listening to podcasts regularly. I’ve missed it, and for one key reason — that serendipity where as I pick things up from here and there, that appear to be on different topics, I find a recurring message. That message this week is that we need to create space to hear ourselves think.
It started with a short episode of Hurry Slowly about holding space for yourself. The host, Jocelyn K. Glei describes holding space as:
Typically the term holding space is used in a group or interpersonal context. It’s the idea of being open, present and allowing. To hold space for another person so that they can feel comfortable exploring their ideas, sensations, or emotions in a safe environment. A space that’s free from judgment, interruption, commentary or advice.
What would happen if we created this kind of space for ourselves every day? And how would we do that? Glei presents four ways we might do that:
- give yourself the gift of time in little pockets throughout the day
- sit alone with your thoughts to allow your own ideas to develop
- create rituals in your day
- practice tender discipline and don’t beat yourself up
This summary doesn’t really do it justice – at just 16 minutes the whole episode is well worth carving out time in your day to listen to.
Following this, I read Leo Babauta’s post You Absolutely Can Tackle the Big Things You’ve Been Avoiding and Michael Lopp’s post A Precious Hour. Both call on us to be kind to ourselves. But the latter in particular has strong connections to the ideas expressed in the podcast episode on holding space. Especially the thinking that we need to create time where there’s no expectation on us to be productive:
In my precious hour, I am aware that it is quiet. During this silence, maybe nothing at all is built other than the room I’ve given myself to think. I break the flow of enticing small things to do, I separate myself from the bright people on similarly impressive busy quests, and I listen to what I’m thinking.
Creating space and time to think is one of the primary things I seek to help people with through coaching. We do not do it enough. And it’s through listening to our thoughts in an uncritical, non-judgmental way that we learn about ourselves and grow.
There’s one sentence that has stuck in my head from the Hurry Slowly episode I referenced earlier and it’s what I’m going to leave you with to reflect on today:
Insight or change will almost certainly not arrive if we can’t even hear ourselves thinking.