Week 12: Host Yourself


The time will come when,
with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving at your own door,
in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say,
sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger
who was yourself
~Derek Walcot

Anything we do has ripples…whether we want it or not, we impact on others, the landscape, and the environments we use and move within. We rarely see ourselves, a small percentage of people develop true self-awareness, as the culture we live in doesn’t teach us this: this is a culture where shame and blame are rampant, so we judge and come to conclusions, we make assumptions, but unless we take some time to develop this ability, we rarely are aware of how we “host” ourselves…

I am using the concept as understood in “The Art of Hosting”, a toolkit of practices collected, perfected and ever developing as a response to emerging needs in our world of doing things differently.

The AoH is based on certain assumptions and foundations, and one of them is how we host ourselves. This is nothing else that being aware of how we show up, how we are (or not) fully present in a place, relationship, event. Beyond the body, how are we there with all our senses, our stories, needs, assumptions, expectations, emotions and spirituality? And how are we present in relationship to the environment, place, relationship or event that is taking place?

Hosting yourself requires a few things:

  1. That you know yourself well: what triggers you, what makes you tick; what helps you to ground, what helps you to go back to wellness when you are upset or overwhelmed; what privileges you carry and what things you take for granted; what power you have, in what ways you are oppressed or unprivileged…
  2. That you learn some techniques: listening deeply; holding space for others; suspending judgement; exploring possibilities; being open to explore; assessing your beliefs against reality; letting go…
  3. That you intentionally decide to host yourself: letting go of expectations and judgements; opening yourself to what will happen; creating practices to host yourself when needed and where needed…

Each person may have different practices, depending on how much time, energy and space they have in their lives (and how much more they can claim for themselves in a realistic way).

This week, I share some suggestions that may work. Explore the ones that would work for you, stretch yourself beyond your beliefs and comfort zone to try new ones, and adopt the ones that work with who you are:

  • Start a practice of the sit spot in Nature. If you can’t do it Nature, try a quiet place in your home, workplace or school. Try to be there at least once a week, if possible every day for a few minutes
  • Explore practices for grounding yourself: it may be a prayer, a poem, a song, a dance, a mental picture of a place or a being (mine is a tree)…
  • Journal about the times when you felt you were hosting yourself: what was present, who was around, what happened to you before and during that time? How you got there?
  • Journal about your triggers: times when you felt unsettled, oppressed, unprivileged, not able to host yourself properly. What was happening? What brought you to that place?
  • Create an action plan that you can follow when you are unwell, and action plan towards hosting yourself, towards wellness: what steps would that action plan have? How sustainable are they? (Example, taking alcohol or a drug to be able to “host” yourself is not something you can sustain or which would make you resilience. Not only these may develop dependency, but what would happen when they are not around? Same works if you choose another person as an anchor, choose things that are inside of you or that you can carry all the times, like practices you can learn and do
  • Learn about the invisible knapsack, explore your own. Then develop ways on how you’ll deal with your own privilege and unprivileged areas as when/how you feel oppressed and/or oppress others
  • Make a list of the reasons and goals of why you are where you are in life: explore each relationship, place, dynamic or event. If you don’t find a connection to real needs and/or values, then ask yourself why are you still there? If you have good reasons to be where you are, hosting yourself will be easier…
  • If you find yourself “forced” to host yourself in places, dynamics and relationships you think you don’t need or want: work towards making yourself stronger, explore what it would take for you to leave that place, relationship or dynamic and create an action plan to get there
  • If you find yourself that the previous step is too much or impossible in your situation: ask for help. Look for others, as there may be others feeling as disempowered and oppressed as you do. Together you may find the way, give each other support and ideas and eventually get where you need and want to be.
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