“In the proximity of death, there is always that grace hiding underneath the seemingly negative event. Death in our civilization is seen as entirely negative, as if it shouldn’t be happening. Because it’s denied, people are so shocked when somebody dies – as if it’s not possible. We don’t live with the familiarity of death, as some more ancient cultures still do. The familiarity of death isn’t there. Everything is hidden, the dead body is hidden. ”
Kevin thought for a few minutes.
Lily just smiled and shrugged.
In the silence that followed, Kevin felt calmer. Lily’s reaction (or, rather, lack of reaction) to his complaints gave him space to think.
She left a lot of space.
And he realized that he just might be wrong.
*From my next book, Kevin the Complainer
“Talk low, talk slow and don’t talk too much.”
Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it. How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being. Allow nature to teach you stillness.
In a few of these, I was afraid of too much space and added graphics. The result was a non-uniform crowding of images, which is not pleasing to the eye.
In relationships, space is even more critical. “Caring” and “parenting” are not about invading space, but respecting our teenagers as their own people. Crowding and controlling them is not pleasing to them!
This is the exact opposite of how I was raised.
But I can choose to question that thinking and do better.
Nature is never wrong.
Thus, nature can be a good teacher.
Birds express “anger” to protect their young and their territory.
Thus, it’s perfectly fine to avoid people who invade your space and privacy and create drama.
Protect yourself and just say no.
N is for Negative Space*
In third grade, my art teacher instructed us to never have too much white paper in our art. “Fill the white space!” Ah, Mrs. Raims. She was great. She gave sound art advice. If you have a small figure on a large canvas of white, it ought to be small for a reason. It ought to be making a statement.
Negative space, however, is not all bad.
“Negative space is, quite simply, the space that surrounds an object in a image. Just as important as that object itself, negative space helps to define the boundaries of positive space and brings balance to a composition.”
Jul 26, 2017 (Creativebloq)
The logo on the cup is for an adult-targeted alcohol and gourmet ice cream shop! (Creativebloq)
I embrace this philosophy of negative space. In a literal, every day sense, I love having lots of negative space in my house.
It leaves room for possibility.
*part of my alphabiography series
Desert in the summer
means walking the dog at sunrise
rabbits chew and quail run
We cast small shadows
the spaces between needles of the cactus
are the gaps between my thoughts
We are all so busy with life: our work, family, and hobbies. My job is very noisy. I’m a teacher in an elementary/middle school and the hallways are filled with children yelling and laughing from very early morning until late afternoon. My students and I have lively discussions and then there are meetings after school. My fellow teacher (and friend!) and I are also sponsoring the school talent show – another boisterous endeavor.
When I get home, my husband and I discuss our day, my kids practice violin and tell us about their day. It’s all good, but…it’s challenging – to say the least – to get some quiet time. And I LOVE, love, love quiet time.
In addition to walking my dog after work and walking in middle of the day, I have started mini-meditations. In mini-meditation, I focus on my breathing. This might last 60 seconds or three minutes. I also meditate for 8 minutes in the morning right after waking.
Eckhart Tolle suggests the mini-meditations throughout the day in order to incorporate it as part of your “real” life and not as a compartmentalized portion of one’s life.
It makes sense.
I’ve noticed that since I’ve started this practice of incorporating space into my day, I am experiencing spontanenous moments of peace within chaos. Where I used to feel anxious or stressed, I feel calm and centered.
I was practicing handstands the other day. I didn’t move all the furniture out of the way. Coming down, my foot hit the corner of a nightstand. Hard.
I’m sure the toenail will grow back.
The irony was not lost on me.
Yoga is all about creating space: space between the vertebrae, space in the heart and in the mind. The physical exercise creates room in bodies and meditation creates much needed gaps in thinking.
Space is good! It fosters a better posture – both literally and figuratively.