on holding space

Posted on: Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Something I’ve been really thinking about lately is the idea and practice of holding space for others. I’ve been reading articles, talking with a few people about what it means and journaling to try to hash out how I can be better at practicing holding space. Some people’s actual job is to hold space – like counselors, yoga teachers, Hospice nurses, etc., but I can also hold space for others simply as a friend, wife, sister, and daughter. And so can you!

So what is ‘holding space’ exactly? What does that even mean? Coach Heather Plett describes it as “when we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome.” 

This can be REALLY hard for me – as I’m a natural problem solver, encourager, and “fixer.” I love being able to quickly and effectively help people fix a situation and move on. I can think of countless times my little sisters have came to me with problems or issues and my natural instinct is to get a to-do list together, figure out how to solve the problem and tackle the issue head-on for them. And I always try to be their #1 cheerleader, giving affirmations like YOU CAN DO IT! You’re awesome! This situation is no big deal!. 

But – what if, rather than fixing it for them, overwhelming them with info/affirmations or monopolizing their emotions, I just held space for them? Again, to quote Heather Plett: “to truly support people in their own growth, transformation, grief, etc., we can’t do it by taking their power away (ie. trying to fix their problems), shaming them (ie. implying that they should know more than they do), or overwhelming them (ie. giving them more information than they’re ready for). We have to be prepared to step to the side so that they can make their own choices, offer them unconditional love and support, give gentle guidance when it’s needed, and make them feel safe even when they make mistakes.”

There are lots of situations where someone might need us to to hold space for them – death and moving and breakups and relationship issues and stressful work situations and disappointments and just every day, regular bad days. We don’t always need someone to problem solve or encourage us through these situations or days; sometimes, we just need someone to simply BE THERE. Holding space can be tricky when our inclination is to tangibly help or do something or create results because holding space implies a lack of doing, but just BEING. Your presence sometimes is enough and exactly what someone needs in that moment to facilitate their growth, transformation and healing. So that’s what I’m working on lately. 💗

This article that I’ve been re-reading over and over again shares some tips for helping you hold space for others, in case you want to learn more:

Give people permission to trust their own intuition and wisdom. 

Give people only as much information as they can handle.

Don’t take their power away – people need the autonomy to make their own choices. When we take decision-making power out of people’s hands, we leave them feeling useless and incompetent.

Keep your own ego out of it.

Make them feel safe enough to fail.

Give guidance and help with humility and thoughtfulness. A wise space holder knows when to withhold guidance (ie. when it makes a person feel foolish and inadequate) and when to offer it gently (ie. when a person asks for it or is too lost to know what to ask for).

Create a container for complex emotions, fear, trauma, etc. When people feel that they are held in a deeper way than they are used to, they feel safe enough to allow complex emotions to surface that might normally remain hidden. It becomes the space where people feel safe enough to fall apart without fearing that this will leave them permanently broken or that they will be shamed by others in the room. Someone is always there to offer strength and courage.

Allow them to make different decisions and to have different experiences than you would.

As always, thanks for reading! What does ‘holding space’ mean to you? When have you held space for someone else or had someone hold space for you?

Image via herehere and here

join me at taste of the nation (year 3 for me!)

Posted on: Thursday, March 16, 2017

This is the third year in a row that I’ll be attending the incredible Taste of the Nation event in San Francisco next Thursday 3/23. This is the third year I’m going with my bestie Aimee 👯 and I’m so excited to share more about the event with you and try to convince/encourage you to join us!

The event is one of my favorite ones to attend each year, because some of the best restaurants, wineries, breweries and bars in the city come together to support an incredible cause – to end childhood hunger in the Bay Area. The stats around childhood hunger appalling. 1 in 5 children in America live in households without consistent access to food. That’s 13 million children. And 25% of children in California are “food insecure” meaning they don’t get enough food, period. Check out this fact sheet from No Kid Hungry for more hard realities surrounding the topic.

So back to the Taste of the Nation event itself – Attendees get to try food from 40+ of the THEEEE best restaurants like Central Kitchen, Tacolicious, Perbacco, Slanted Door, Flour + Water, the girl and the fig (one of my all-time faves), Soulva, Wayfare, and more! Plus, you get lots of drink samples from 15+ wineries and 5+ breweries. 🍷🍻

And here’s the best part: 100% of proceeds from the event support Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign to end childhood hunger in America. I love the local element too, as donations directly go to amazing organizations here in the Bay Area, including 18 Reasons, California Association of Food Banks, California Food Policy Advocates, No Kid Hungry Bay Area and Children of Shelters. All of these organizations provide food, food-related education and programming, and more, to children and families in need here in the Bay Area.

So…join me! Support this incredible cause and provide children and families with the food and food-related resources they need to survive and thrive. And come eat and drink your way through some of the very best San Francisco spots.

VIP tickets are $250 and General Admission tickets are $150, but you can get 15% off the GA tickets with the code #TASTEFOODIES. Get your tickets here! 🍴

ARCHIVED TASTE OF THE NATION POSTS: 2016 event // 2016 event recap // 2015 event //

thursday thankful list

Posted on: Thursday, March 2, 2017

happy thursday! i wrote this thankful list while flying back to SF on monday evening and thought i would share with you! i truly believe in the power of gratitude and acknowledging what’s good in life, even when i don’t feel like it and when it seems difficult to identify a few things. what are YOU thankful for today? ps – more thankful lists can be found HERE!

being able to go to my grandpa’s 80th birthday // sissy sleepovers and talking for hours before falling asleep // slowly getting better at yoga // one-on-one time with my dad // TARGET (always) // kindness from strangers (i’m thinking of a particularly kind employee at sephora currently) // travel // having amazing role models in my life // our upcoming trip to mexico! // driving in the car with my three sisters, blaring taylor swift and all four of us singing together // jack in his raincoat // my intern, michelle for making my life a lot easier // advice and life chats with mom // brassica (this amazing restaurant in Columbus that is like chipotle but mediterranean, so you can build-your-own falafel wrap or bowl with insanely delicious, local veggies and toppings) // being a big sister // my cousin’s sweet daughter ruby’s little laugh // family game night // having people who understand, love and accept me unconditionally // face masks // journaling (loving my 52 lists journal lately) // a good cry sesh // blueberry ginger kombucha // wakeup puppy kisses // feeling strong after a good workout // california // my little family – E & jack! // feeling like a local (i saw the owner of my go-to sushi spot while eating at another restaurant in a different neighborhood and he recognized me! i was so happy!) // my ever-changing letterboard // THURSDAYS!

6 book recommendations

Posted on: Thursday, February 2, 2017

I loooove reading and asked for a ton of books for Christmas/my birthday and wanted to share some new-to-me favorite books! a perk of each book listed is that they are all BEAUTIFUL so they can have a permanent place on the coffee table or nightstand. 😉). right now, I have a pile of pretty books on my nightstand, on our coffee table, on the console under the TV, and then a few pretty favorite cookbooks out in the kitchen. I also like having some favorite books out in the apartment so guests can flip through them and soak up their inspiration as well! here’s my new books and why I love each!

52 lists for happiness: weekly journaling inspiration for positivity, balance, and joy by moorea seal
my sweet friend renee gave me this book (pictured above) for my birthday 💗 and it’s so pretty. the purpose of the book is make journaling easier and more meaningful. the author has 52 prompts asking you to write lists – what you’re grateful for, what your daily routines are, etc. and then asks you to reflect on what you wrote and take action in some way. I’ve been trying to be more intentional about starting each morning by drinking coffee and journaling, even for a few minutes, and this book makes it easy to get in the habit of journaling.

forest feast gatherings: simple vegetarian menus for hosting friends and family by erin gleeson
OMG I might just be the  #1 forest feast fan. I read her first book religiously and so many of her recipes are my tried-and-true weekly favorites that I make over and over. her corn and cauliflower tacos with feta, Greek yogurt and hot sauce are one of my very favorite (EASY!) meals to make. her latest book focuses on food and drinks for gatherings, organized by each season and different themes. the cover and illustrations in the book are stunning (example below!) and my favorite thing is that all of her vegetarian recipes are SO easy and usually under five ingredients. [image via @theforestfeast]


molly on the range: recipes and stories from an unlikely life on a farm by molly yeh
this book is laugh out loud funny and I feel like I’ve become friends with the author, Molly, just by reading. she shares her life and food adventures from living in NYC to now living on a farm in North Dakota with her husband. I haven’t had a chance to try a recipe YET, but her recipes look delicious and she makes things that may seem daunting (read: homemade pizza dough) seem very simple. her book also has fun “infographics” like a mac and cheese flowchart, which is amazing and hilarious. 🧀

urban jungle: living & styling with plants by igor josifovic
if you’re a plant lover like I am, you NEED this book! it’s insanely inspiring and truly incredible. the book shows different homes (i.e. “urban jungles”) and shares more about plant care, some DIYs, and general plant inspiration. I’ve wanted a hanging plant (or like, 5) for awhile but this book reinforced that I NEED.

nutrition stripped: 100 whole-food recipes made deliciously simple by mckel hill
this book is quite popular on Instagram right now and for good reason – @nutritionstripped‘s recipes are incredible. they all make me want to eat healthier and live better. her turmeric milk is the bomb and I can’t wait to dive into her other recipes! i bought this book for my mother-in-law and then my sister hope bought a copy for me for Christmas!

in the company of women: inspiration and advice from over 100 makers, artists, and entrepreneurs by grace bonney
I’m purposely reading this book extra slowly so I can soak up all the goodness and inspiration. women are INCREDIBLE (duh) and this book highlights 100+ insanely amazing female entrepreneurs and artists. the photography is stunning and the interviews and stuffed with inspiring nuggets. expect quotes like “prepare yourself for the long haul, the rise and fall, and let neither define your self of self” (designer karen young) and “the world could always use more people who are interested in lifting up others, not just themselves” (model/activist christy turlington burns) and “be nice to people. stay humble. give back” (designer/artist/author/bohemian queen justina blakeney) and to be completely refreshed by these rockstar women.

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