I am writing from my bedroom at my momma’s house, home for the holidays. It is not my childhood bedroom; she moved into this house when I was eighteen, and I’d been living with my dad for a few years by then. If anything, the fact that I even have a room here, jute rug I picked out as a teenager, cushy mattress purchased after I moved out to replace the lumpy futon of my youth, closet full of keepsakes and weird clothes from my past (some of them are really weird, you guys), makes it all the more comforting. Though I lived here for a little while after college, I did not live with my mom when she first set her roots here, but there has always been a place for me.
In the circles I run in, yoga and massage and some talky therapist friends, there’s discussion sometimes about holding space. It came up a lot in school. It came up in some really great, memorable conversations early in my career, but I’ve found that, as I have grown as a massage therapist, the holding of space has become more of a background (an important one, a foundation really) and less of a focus in and of itself. And that is, for the most part, how it should be. Learning new techniques, exploring ways to build a strong practice, engaging in discussions about the direction of the field, the way we work, all the many, wonderful facets of massage, are all fantastic things worthy of lots of brain space.
Today I return to the comfort of held space. I think we’ve all felt pretty bruised by the news these last weeks and months, and, while I wanted to write a post today about touch in the aftermath of difficulty, negotiating what to do when conditions feel too acute to bear it, I don’t have the clarity or the wherewithal at this time. Sometimes all you can do is be where you are, and recent events have reminded me that peace and safety in those moments are truly tremendous gifts. And so, on the eve of the winter solstice, legs tucked under the white press-board desk I picked out when I was ten, whir of warm air rattling through vents, sky outside my window deeper dark than it ever gets in my neighborhood in Brooklyn, I am thinking simply of comfort, grateful to my family for keeping this space for me, wishing this sense of safety could reach all the small corners of this world.
Tomorrow is the shortest day of the year. They’ll be getting longer bit by bit for a good half a year from here on out. I am wishing you comfort on the longest night — may you luxuriate in the coziness of your covers — and into the days when we in the Northern Hemisphere tilt closer to the sun. Thank you, good people of The Young Thumbs, for carving out this corner of the internet for discussions both important and whimsical, for food for thought and clear directions, and for holding space for clients, friends, and strangers throughout the year. It’s a simple act, but so very, very important.
That’s right, folks: Your greatness is not what you have, it’s what you give. You guys are great. Also, I get most of my wisdom from tea bags.
Megan Spence is a Licensed Massage Therapist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. She is continually astonished by just how much she loves her work. You can read more about Megan’s adventures in massage and various other things body-related at Bodywork Brooklyn.