Empty Space

Empty Space

Do you love an empty space? Does it make you feel a sense of possibility, calm, anxiety, or something else? If I take too long to evaluate the possibilities, an empty space becomes a source of overwhelm and perfection for me.. a mistaken belief that I have this valuable real estate so I have to d the perfect thing with it.

When I cleared off my bulletin boards a few weeks ago, I envisioned pretty quickly what I would do on each palette…. the smaller one will hold reminders of my values, the things that I most want to set my compass to, how I know if I’m living in alignment with myself. I have a print of the couple from “UP”, a photo of me and the kids at the top of a mountain on the coast Maine when the youngest was still in his backpack carrier days, a post-it with the ages that my four grandparents lived to, and a post-it of encouragement from one of the kids. These represent what I want to hold when I make decisions and set strategy. But the actual values work that I curated over the last few years is still waiting to go up on the cork board. A lot of empty space.

The bigger bulletin board will become a place where I track and play with strategy – especially business and work maps. It feels fluid and interesting to me – like fingerprint squishing through my fingers. And it remains empty with just the ideas in my head.

picture of a plants shadow on a wall with the caption "what do you see between the shadows?"

At moments the empty boards feel full of creative possibility. At others they bring “where do I even start” energy to the surface. It it beginning to feel like I need to somehow create perfection on the tools that are meant to offer flexibility and agility.

I began to notice on the larger bulletin board the shadow imprints left as the sun bleached around long hung up shapes – stickers, photos, receipts, that ticket from our Thomas the Train adventure in 2003.

The emptiness isn’t really empty. It holds both shadows and hopes. But right now it is in stasis – sometimes taunting, sometimes inviting.

How do you approach emptiness? When you move to a new home, do you study the room and make quick or slow decisions about the placement of your furniture? Do you listen? Do you know? Do you measure and sketch or set furniture and push it around as needed?

What is the flashlight you grab to see your next steps forward?

I desire completion in my life. And I can’t bear to write “The End” on any of the projects I tackle. Emptiness is either the End of the The Beginning, or a pause between.

Do you rush through the pause? Do you have time to pause? What shadows can you see when you take time in between the end and the beginning?