Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Cheryl Moreau of Revive.
I have a problem with blank spaces. Whether it is an empty shelf in my closet or a pause in my conversation, I desire it to be filled. Filled with what? I’m not entirely sure. But I know when I leave it vacant, it feels like something is missing.
Can you relate? Take a look around the room you are in right now. How many shelves or surfaces are free of objects? If you are in public, how many people around you are NOT listening to music or texting?
I have a problem.
You have a problem.
Society has a problem with empty spaces.
Lately, I’ve been eliminating unloved and unused possessions from my home. The resulting empty shelves make me uncomfortable. What I am trying to ask myself is: why? Why would it bother me to have a nice, open, empty space instead of what used to be cramped, cluttered, and chaotic?
I think I have discovered at least one reason why we struggle with our blank spaces.
We focus too much on what’s not there, instead of what is.
Think about it. If you previously had a closet overflowing to the brim with articles of clothing, regardless of whether you ever wore most of them, what you saw when you looked in the closet was likely a person who was doing pretty well for themselves, even if you only acknowledged this in your subconscious. You also likely saw the opportunity for many choices. We love having choices. Even though too many choices only produces stress and dissatisfaction. We don’t care. We only know that ten shirts are better than three; and there’s always room for one more.
So when that is all taken away, we are faced with what remains: emptiness, lack of choice, desire.
Is that really what the blank space means? I don’t think so. At least not entirely. It’s all about perspective. If we choose to look beyond the emptiness, we will find something else entirely.
Freedom from being a slave to our stuff through cleaning, organizing, and worry.
Freedom in our finances to give, travel, and experience life more spontaneously.
Freedom in our spaces and homes to entertain, play, and live.
What happens when we apply the same perspective shift to our relationships, our thoughts, and our physical bodies? We begin to see our lives and our choices not for what we’re giving up, but for what we are gaining.
Blank space in our social activities means more time with family, more time to relax, and more time pursuing our passions.
Blank space in our thoughts means time to process what we’re doing, rather than just reacting to it. It means we can begin to develop opinions and values in regards to our choices, rather than just accepting what others tell us we should feel or do.
Blank space in regards to our bodies means being able to feel hunger again, and respond to our body’s cues, rather than assume we need to eat because we are bored. It also means not seeing what we miss out on when we make healthy choices, rather seeing what we gain: health, confidence, and a fitter body. Rest is also important, by not constantly putting strain on our bodies we are allowing ourselves time to recover and rejuvenate.
Each of us need to decide what we will focus on. Those blank spaces might feel awkward and uncomfortable at first, but just as a child requiring glasses needs to adapt to wearing them in order to have improved vision, we too will adapt, and then, will be able to see with more clarity than ever before.
Don’t see the emptiness in your blank spaces, see the possibilities.