The value of space in challenging times

Our society has never been faster. And we’ve never been so busy and pressurized to keep up with work, social activities, and other cyber distractions. It can be very exciting to have a full day sometimes; it can make you feel satisfied that you have accomplished something, filling you with a sense of meaning and usefulness.

But busy-ness needs to be counter-balanced… with “making space.”

Going through some major questionings and significant transitions in my life, I came to truly realize the necessity – and simplicity – of “making space.”

By making space, I mean creating room in my schedule where the calendar is completely free. Not only free of “productive work,” but also free of distractions, social media, TV shows, cleaning windows, phone calls, etc.

By making space, I mean trying to follow what the present moment is calling for.

 

A date with yourself

I find it extremely difficult – both to prioritize it and, when I finally get to it, to commit to it. But the rewards is greater than after taking a nap. I feel more energized, creative, and fulfilled in a unique kind of way.

Practically, I book half a day or at least few hours in a row in my calendar. I refrain from using my phone, computer, and perhaps even books. It is not so much about sitting and meditating for 4 hours, although it can be…

Rather, for me it is more about listening to what I feel called to do, moment to moment, dropping the utopia that I should have a plan to sort out my whole situation. Personally, making space is all about feeling into or sensing in the moment, and not about thinking it. I love spending this particular time in nature, because nature brings you always back to “the Source:” to where we all (forget that we) come from.

 

Just Be. And Not Knowing

I was talking to some people recently, friends and strangers, who also seem to be about to take bold changes or/and navigate painful times. It was nice to see I was not alone: Many os us are blaming ourselves for not having a plan, most likely perhaps waisting some of our strength to “figure it all out”. Of course some direction is needed, but sometimes you just don’t know exactly where you’re going, and that’s OK.

Copenhagen, Amager Beach

 

Silence is like a cradle holding our endeavors and our will; a silent spaciousness sustains us in our work and at the same time connects us to larger worlds that, in the busyness of our daily struggle to achieve, we have not yet investigated. Silence is the soul’s break for freedom.

David Whyte

How to make space – Practical Few Steps to “Just Be”

Again here, my motto is “Find your own way, the one that works for you“.

Start by letting  some free time in your calendar, for instance a day, half day, or even just a couple of hours regularly, where you don’t plan anything and minimize the risk that you can be disturbed. It can even be 20 min a day.

Put your phone on flight mode, put the computer away, switch off the music.

Start learning to appreciate connecting to yourself and do activities that you enjoy. You can choose to meditate, do yoga or another physical activity. Go for a walk or a hike. Ressource yourself in nature. Cook yourself something healthy and nurturing. Sit at a cafe on your own. Journal, paint, dance, or just lay down in savasana. Give yourself the opportunity to appreciate simple things and what you have.

The main key here is NOT TO PLAN and JUST BE. Challenge yourself and drop entertainment, any “doing” or any  productive activt. It is not about spending time with your buddies or watching the last season of a TV-show (both important too, but  can be planned at other time to serve some other purpose).

Experiment spending time ALONE. Alone does not mean lonely. Solitude is indeed very different from loneliness and – in my view – THE avenue to deeper happiness and inner peace.

Naturally, your mind and ego will want to intervene and keep you busy thinking the next step through. That’s OK, that’s what minds are here for. My tip here is just to notice that, perhaps even take 5 minutes to write down the thoughts or concerns of the moment. And then return to making space.

wildcat trail_april 3
Tilden Park, California

But Why? Making Space to bring more Balance, Creativity, and Clarity

If you start spending some “JUST BE time” regularly, mental detachment from and disidentification with your worries and fears about the future will become easier and easier.

You will tap again into your creativity and find new, fresh aliveness and inspiration. You’ll feel more rested in your everyday life and more peaceful; less subject to loose balance in stressful situations, more able to stay grounded, and better able to connect deeply with others.

More importantly, you’ll cultivate your ability to listen to this inner voice that awaits to guide you towards what’s the most meaningful to you. You will be able to determine the next most organic step, “the first step, the one you don’t want to take” as David Whyte poetically puts it. You will gain clarity and a better sense of how to use your intuition.

Inspired by two of my favorite poets – David Whyte and John O’Donahue (see my prior post) – and certainly many others,  I came to understand that making space is THE ONLY way to really letting your deepest purpose, your life path, your true passion come through.

Even on a less life-changing tone, making space helps us tap into and unfold our creativity – and this has nothing to do with whether you’re an artist or not. We all need creativity and use it in pretty much everything: in the way we cook, write, talk, think, love, dress, etc.

Our creative life force (a term that I borrow from a wise man Bill Bowen) needs sufficient room and no control to emerge. Talk to a painter, a writer or a poet. They’ll tell you that standing in front of a blank canvas or an empty page is both scary and exciting: you just don’t know what the result will be and the whole artistic process is about this unknown. Only then is amazement about what life can bring possible. New opportunities, new ideas, that freshness our mind would never have been able to “figure out” or imagine.

my magical trees_march 2016
Claremont Canyon, California

Feel free to share your experience on the comments below.

Love and blessing on your journeys.

Cédric Gorinas

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