Cheryl's Blog

Hold on! You got this.

This morning, as I lay in bed thinking about the day ahead, I picked up a book from my nightstand and opened it to a random page for a little inspiration. The book, Facets of Unity by A. H. Almaas, is about the more advanced spiritual teachings of the Enneagram (a powerful spiritual and psychological development tool).

I opened to a page about how we developed trust in ourselves, the world, and a higher power, by how we were held literally and figuratively in our early years of development. In psychological terms, it’s called the “holding environment.” Almass writes:

“A good holding environment is the environment that is needed for the human soul to grow and develop into what she can become. It needs to provide a sense of safety and security, the sense that you are, and can count on, being taken care of. Your soul needs an environment that is dependable, consistent, attuned to your needs, and that provides for you in a way that is empathic to those needs. This is the ideal environment for human growth.”

As I read this section, I thought about how so few of us were raised in safe and secure holding environments (especially our parents and ancestors) and how, as a result, we develop habits and behaviors that interrupt our capacity to heal and grow when faced with life challenges.

I put down the book and thought about the loss of my friend, Ileen, and the need to provide care for our elderly parents who are facing new health issues. Rather than see these situations as struggles to overcome, I could see them as opportunities to strengthen the holding environment I need to not only support my growth and healing but to also become the kind of elder who can hold the hands of others as they take this journey themselves. So, I made a list of what I’ve learned so far.

A strong holding environment requires basic self-care as its foundation. Good sleep, nutritious food, plenty of water, fresh air, and the conservation of energy for that which is essential. When I feel stressed or overwhelmed, this is the area I look at first. I’ve learned to ask myself: Do I need to rest, eat something, drink more water, take a walk, or simply do less?

A strong holding environment also requires the space to host tough feelings rather than give in to the temptation to distract ourselves or run. This time around I’ve found both my car and my cold tank to be ideal places to cry, scream, or vent when I need to release pent-up emotions. I may look and sound like a crazy woman, but I’ve grown to appreciate and value the clarity and peace I have afterward 😀.

Finally, a strong holding environment also needs solid scaffolding – the structure that comes from being supported by others. I’m grateful to the handful of friends who can host my fear and sadness without needing to intervene. They not only love me back to life, but they remind me that people start to heal the moment they feel heard.

Life’s challenges are gifts in disguise when we learn to use them to our advantage. I hope that by sharing my journey with you, you feel a little less alone and a lot more loved. 💚




Photo by Jeff Kingma on Unsplash