Krista dela Rosa
(Written by Co-Director Krista dela Rosa)
What to say about our founder, Heather?
She is a gem, a person, who, as Toko-pa Turner describes in her book Becoming: Remembering Ourselves Home, has a special quality of stillness about her, someone who has encountered her shadow wholeheartedly. “Such a person, who has given up guarding against the shadow, who has come to wear their scars with dignity, no longer squirms from discomfort or bristles at suffering. They no longer brace in avoidance of conflict. They carry a deep willingness to dance with the inconsistency of life. They’ve given up distancing as a strategy, and made vulnerability their ally.”
Engaging meaningfully in the art of Holding Space requires settling yourself with the notion that vulnerability is your ally rather than your foe, and this is a thing that Heather has spent the better part of her adult life working towards. We have been fortunate —indeed I have been fortunate — that Heather has consented to share that journey with us, through her writings and teachings on the subject.
Not only is Heather a gifted thinker, writer, teacher, communicator and facilitator, she has such an amazing sense of joy and playfulness that she brings to everything she does. Art and colour and dance and nature infuse her work and reminds us all that vulnerability isn’t just about feeling raw and open to the hard things in life – it’s also being open and expectant for laughter, creativity, and delight.
Heather has been both my mentor and my friend for close to fifteen years. In these last four, I have been given the rare gift of being able not just to come alongside her in her work, but also permission to speak into her life and work in ways that have led to this, the Centre for Holding Space.
What drew me to want to work with Heather was that I saw and resonated with the value of the work of Holding Space, but also I sensed that Heather herself needed someone to make space for her to continue to do the work well. The Centre is really a way for me to make sure that that continues to happen – that the container flexes and grows so that both the work and Heather are held well.
and I am grateful to be able to help hold this container with her so that the work of Holding Space can grow and flourish in the world.
(Written by Co-Director Heather Plett)
One of the things I value most about Krista is the fact that she has a solid sense of self and yet a willingness to set aside the interests of self in service to community. She has a rare and valuable mix of self-confidence, self-direction, self-motivation, and community-orientation. She serves her community (and our work together) with generosity and an open heart, but she doesn’t lose herself in the process.
Krista was invited into leadership positions at a young age because people saw her capacity early. She started in youth leadership at her church because she has a way of understanding, respecting and being genuinely curious about youth that many adults lack. Since then, she’s been a church elder and is now the primary leader at a church that functions with a unique community model without a pastor,
I initially hired Krista for a few reasons:
- She loves this work and believes in it with her whole heart and holds as much vision for it as I do
- She is smart and has high capacity and I can trust her to make good decisions on my behalf and on behalf of the work
- She’s a self-starter and didn’t need a lot of hands-on direction from me
- She was completely content to be in a support role and didn’t have a longing for the spotlight
- She has a remarkably solid ego that doesn’t need a lot of stroking and she shows little sign of ever getting her feelings hurt
- She’s like a good dance partner who knows how to anticipate my moves (even when they might seem frenetic or illogical) and flow in alignment with them
- She supports me in a way that makes my work better than what I can do alone
In The Circle Way (the practice that we use for hosting conversations in this work), there’s a shared leadership model where one person hosts the circle and another person serves as the guardian. A primary capacity of the guardian is one of watchfulness – they are forever scanning the group to notice what the members’ needs are, who might be overlooked, when the group needs to take a break, whose boundaries need to be respected and what needs the group might have for collective boundaries.
They collaborate with the host in making good decisions on the group’s behalf, and they hold the host accountable for serving the community well. The guardian serves a less visible role than the host, but their work is no less critical in ensuring the circle is strong and the needs of the community are looked after.
In the business we’re co-creating, Krista serves as the guardian, which allows me to function even more effectively as the host.
She notices things that I overlook, she holds space for the community’s needs in ways that I sometimes forget to do, she reminds everyone (especially me) when we should take a break and look after our- selves, and she recognizes where boundaries need to be set and/or honoured. She is masterful at being watchful, even when I sometimes have my head in the clouds.
While I admire her capacity to hold space for the community, I must also say how greatly I appreciate her capacity to hold space for me. She listens deeply whenever I’m wrestling with things and then often asks just the right question to help me see things differently. She has an endless supply of patience for the times when I need to process challenges, conflict, or self-doubt.
She sets boundaries on my behalf and then fiercely maintains them. She reminds me of my capacity and the importance of this work when my energy is flagging. And she rallies support on my behalf when I’m trying to do too many things alone.
I look forward to more people in this community getting to know her in the ways that I do.
I believe that she has much to offer and, while I value her as guardian, I also look forward to those times when she might step into the host role while I serve as guardian.