From holding space to being held by it

Akshay Kapur Avatar

At the start of a coaching conversation, it can be useful to think of holding space for a client. The identity shifts away from you to being present to another. Holding space can be a helpful heuristic allowing the coach to let go, and be open to new possibilities.

The client, who may have come in with a concern limited by circumstance, encounters this held space of possibility, which expands the range of options for both client and coach. 

If the coach keeps holding space though, it can become limited by the holder. Even the coach’s intention of “holding space” places a limit upon it because it is but a single point of view (the “holder’s”) when all viewpoints can exist.

At some point, the recognition that the limitless space holds both coach and client becomes a possibility.

They are both held by the space.

But what does this actually mean? How can two people be held by space? Once the viewpoint of “being a coach with a client” is let go, identity is surrendered. Doing (“holding space”) and being (“a coach with a client”) dissolve.

“Neither be in a state of waiting nor of expectation.”


There is nothing left. No-thing. Just open space welcoming everything.

The coach is not present. Nor is the client.

We are nowhere, or as Dr. Wayne Dyer puts it in Your Sacred Self: “now-here”.

Without the boundaries of identity, we can identify which possibility best fits the reality of the situation. From nothing, we co-create something that was previously unknown to either coach or client.

Something original, from origin.

The field becomes narrower now. We – whichever identity suits each of us best – begin to return in the form of the mind’s desire to make possible what did not seem possible just a moment ago.

The space though leaves a lingering residue for the identity we assume.

We now know the space in between words. 

“Music is the space in between notes.”

Claude Debussy

Over time, we come to realize that identity is the lingering residue within the space from which it originates. We are the space in between words, upon and from which words emerge. The space that has been and will always be present.

We can identify ourselves as a bounded space, a bounded identity, or remain limitless. Give ourselves three dimensions or remain without dimension. Get caught up in the words, or notice the space in between.

Be the holder of space, or the space that holds itself.


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