The twin experience of being held and holding on has been a theme of many posts over the years, and yet again this week I had those moments. Most poignantly through exquisite facilitation and being asked to recall a moment from childhood that had been a peak experience; I was shocked to find myself holding an imaginary child in my arms before realising it was the memory of holding my baby brother on his arrival home from hospital. A moment where I took my older sibling and big sister status to a new level. To be tumbled back through the more than 40 years since that day, was a deeply heartbreaking moment too as I then recalled moments when we had been alone together when he was dying just over a year ago. I held his hand, sang him songs from childhood and recalled memories from our shared experience of the hearth and heart. I have found it hard to get past the other griefs to get to mourn him and it was a real blessing to have the memory of holding come to me with clarity and direction. The experience opened a door.
There was much to be thankful for in coming to this moment of holding. I was in a sacred place when this memory arrived, a place that linked his love of teaching and learning in indigenous communities so there was another link to him there. As the Sydney skies darkened and ash floated in the air, the haze of the smoke and the sun silhouetted in orange, I mourned him. I gave thanks for the memory being delivered where I felt safe. Safety being the pre-condition for vulnerability.
Creating a safe space enables a container for bold and brave actions and words. The place where this memory arrived has, and continues to be, such a container for the last 60 years. Crossing the threshold that morning as I entered the property I honoured it as a sacred place of rest, refuge, reflection, learning and listening. As I move in a few weeks, I am being drawn into what makes a safe place, a container to hold me, my memories, future conversations to hold and be held. How place helps and hinders, creates nooks and crannies, where little and big new ideas can form, memories cherished and beginnings, endings and everything in between can be forged.
For many years the safe places where intimate and challenging conversations took place were in the car, on a red couch, around the kitchen table and in bed. Those conversations are dead. New red couches have been bought, a new kitchen table and new bed too they are in a waiting place getting to arrive, just as I am too. I am trusting they will hold this pilgrim and sojourners to midwife the emerging sparks creating a new fire. Crossing the threshold to this new home will be an act of trust, and opening the door will be accepting the invitation to walk through it as fully as I can.