Holding space for others – Australia

“We must come together in ways that respect the solitude of the soul, that avoid the unconscious violence we do when we try to save each other, that evoke our capacity to hold another life without dishonoring its mystery, never trying to coerce the other into meeting our own needs.” ― Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

October 18-22, 2017 in Queensland, Australia

(Note: I’ll also be offering “Holding Space for Yourself” October 12-15.)

What does it mean to hold space for someone else? It means that 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. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control. 

At this retreat, we will practice the art of holding space for other people.

All of us have opportunity to hold space for other people, whether they are our children, students, friends, neighbours, clients, patients, coworkers, or employees. Some of us do it professionally (as facilitators, teachers, chaplains, hospice workers, medical professionals, etc.) and most of us do it voluntarily (as parents, family members, friends, volunteer workers, church members, etc.).

This retreat is for anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of what it means to hold space so that they can more effectively do it for other people. No level of expertise is required – only a willingness and a level of personal growth and maturity that allows you to be a support to other people.

At this retreat, Heather will teach about the concepts she is researching and writing about for her upcoming book (tentatively called: Be the Bowl: The Fine Art of Holding Space).

Our conversations will focus on such topics as:

  • The basics of holding space (ie. how to “be the bowl”)
  • How to hold space when there are imbalances of power and privilege (ie. race relations, workplace power dynamics, etc.)
  • How to hold space in difficult contexts, when complex emotions and conflict may be present.
  • How to recognize when you’re not the right person to hold space for someone.
  • What’s the opposite of holding space?
  • What unique skills and understanding may be required in holding space for trauma and shame?

In support of these conversations, we will explore multiple creative and spiritual practices that will help us hold space for others (ie. labyrinth-walking, enneagram, creative art-making, mindfulness and body practices). Participants at the retreat will be encouraged to consider what they can contribute to our collective learning. For example, you may have a body movement practice, mindfulness practice, creative practice, or community-building practice that you could teach us? (Those who sign up will be sent an invitation in advance and time will be set aside for peer-learning.)

The Circle Way will be used as the primary container for learning and community-building at this retreat. Participants at this retreat will learn how to hold space for similar conversations using the principles and practices of The Circle Way.

While we are learning, we will be uniquely held by the sacred space that is Welcome to the BIG House. The land, the creatures, the garden, and the beautifully-designed indoor spaces will hold space for us as we practice holding space for others. Few spaces are as uniquely suited for this kind of learning as the BIG House, beautifully situated in the rolling hills of Queensland, close to Mount Cooroora, a sacred site of the original people of the land. While there, participants will also have access to bonus offerings such as massage and other healing practices.

Together, we will work to make the retreat both a safe space for vulnerability and trust and a brave space for personal growth and hard questions.

Testimonials from Heather’s retreats in 2016

“The Writing with an Open Heart workshop with Heather Plett was a most delightful and empowering event. Amongst 20+ other women I found my ‘writing muse’ could come along side me and still be safe and secure. It has been a part of me for many, many years, as for various reasons it had remained silent. The invitation was to open my own heart and invite a long awaited, hidden companion, to finally come out in the open. The space of the Circle Way provided a beautiful process in which hearts, dreams, hurts, wounds, as well as delights, joys, laughter and lots of hope for writing in the future could be shared in a most gentle, holding container of love and respect.” – Rhonda
“Thank you to Heather and Georgia for the extraordinary, life-changing ten days I have just experienced. Your magical partnership cultivated a space that allowed me to sit with myself to find new ways of being in the world, and I am deeply grateful.’ – Jenni

Note: This retreat, combined with Holding Space for Yourself (the weekend before) are similar in content to the online Holding Space Coach/Facilitator Program

Take a visual tour of Welcome to the BIG House, the extraordinary place where we’ll gather

Workshop  Cost

Earlybird (by July 31) $1295 AUS
Full price $1695 AUS
Includes accommodation and all nourishments

To register, visit Welcome to the BIG House’s retreat page. (Scroll down to the bottom for the registration link.)

If you would like more information on Welcome To The BIG House please check out their Information Pack Here.

Welcome to The BIG House is located in the beautiful Noosa Hinterland on the Sunshine coast, Australia.

Questions? Contact Welcome to the BIG House. 

Accommodation before & after retreat

$95 per person/night, twin share, before and after the event. A very limited opportunity is available for your own room with ensuite or own room with shared bathroom during the workshops. Extra $85 per night with ensuite, or $65 with shared bathroom. For participants attending both retreats, we offer you a special price of $75 a night, twin share, if you wish to stay in-between workshops.


Nourishment is sourced mainly from our own organic vegetable garden, or sourced from other local growers. Nourishment is vegetarian, with vegan and gluten free choices. Please ensure to let us know of any dietary requirements.

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