Over time, I’ve become very picky – or shall we say “discerning” – about whose spaces I step into.

I often say that it’s because I learned the hard way that some spaces aren’t “safe” for me.

I mean, there was this one time when I took part in a Sweat Lodge many, many moons ago, only to find out that the facilitator had next to zero training. I watched two of my nearest and dearest break down (as one often does in a Sweat) and find no support nor even kindness from him. It was a nightmare.

And that other time I attended a class on “Chakra Balancing” only to get myself so effed up that I couldn’t function for several days after.

Oh! And that other time when I attended a workshop and, without my consent, was given more unsolicited feedback than a person would ever want from the workshop facilitator AND members of the audience. (I mean, people were pulling out their pendulums and scrying for my future and I stood there, aghast, exposed, and horrified.)

Yes, I have had my share of bad experiences.

And, no doubt, I have not always been at my own best when facilitating and holding space – I fully appreciate and understand that my own inexperience or arrogance or whatever-else-it-may-have-been has impacted others in negative ways as I have trod this path of life. And so, I share these stories of less-than-ideal situations with the deepest humility. 

But lately, I’ve been stepping out a bit more – showing up again in spaces in which I might not ordinarily feel quite as comfy, allowing myself to really lean into the experience of participating, learning, and being in community with others.  And boy, have I seen some incredible presentations – and some spectacular examples of what it is to facilitate and hold space! 

It’s been nothing short of inspiring.

Connie Vanderzanden hosted a “Money Party” to which 5 virtual strangers showed up and spoke frankly and honestly about their money “stuff” – a taboo subject if ever there was one! And Connie led that conversation with ease and confidence and kindness.

Johanna Lynn led a workshop for my community on Money and our Ancestors and, after talking with us about how we’re each impacted by the money stories that have been handed down through generations, she masterfully guided us through an exercise to explore this concept for ourselves. It was deep, emotional, and vulnerable work and she was a rockstar.

And three weeks ago, I stepped into a Full Moon Ceremony with Indigenous Healer Asha Frost. It was the first time I had been in Circle with an Indigenous Healer in many, many, many moons, and boy, am I glad I said yes to that experience! Thoughtful, kind, warm, inviting, and nothing-short-of-magical was that hour-long Ceremony – I am still thinking about it today! 

And then, last week I began a class with Amy Wright Glenn on Holding Space. Many in attendance were Death Doulas and Social Workers, Funeral Home Directors and Healers…and I found myself at once wanting to step in to lead our small group discussion (as that is so often my role) and also wanting to sit back and be led by another…to have space held for me. Magic, indeed.

It feels good to be showing up again. It feels good to be in community and learning alongside others in this way. And it’s a wonderful gift to witness other facilitators shine as they do their good work in the world.

And all of this also serves as an excellent reminder of what a gift it is to have folks show up to be in community with me, as I walk the good road, too. 

You can find more from Rebecca at Plaid For Women or connect with her on her website.