The Spaces Between
How the empty spaces highlight the filled moments in life
I’ve recently begun coloring mandalas for relaxation and meditation. At first, I expertly colored in every single space and shape in the designs. My color combos were beautiful, my coloring within the lines skills were expert! But the finished pieces still seemed “incomplete”.
I tried more monochrome color combos. I loved these even more than the expertly paired color combinations I had done previously. But they still seemed lacking.
I then began leaving some spaces empty, uncolored. That was it! I was trying to fill in spaces that were designed to remain open. The whole look and feel of each mandala shifted. There was more depth. More intricacies appeared that were previously hidden in the chaos of all the colors.
Then it hit me. Just like the mandalas became more beautiful in their complexity with spaces left open. So our lives can reveal more meaning and more joy and more adventure when we allow down time, quiet time…space to do nothing.
It’s the spaces between that emphasize the filled moments.
Musicians have always known this. There is beauty in the space between the notes. The timing, long or short, between each note changes how that next note resonates. It’s not just the volume or pitch or timing of the notes themselves, but the nature of the spaces between them that can change the mood or intensity.
When we try to fill all our time with all the things, when we try to do more and be more, the things we do and be don’t have time to shine. There is always something more to do or be and no time to appreciate what we’ve done or become already.
Even meditation is something we “do” that takes the place of doing nothing. Our minds often get in the way of our true need to just “be”.
Every moment doesn’t need to be busy in order to accomplish success. We need to stop every so often and enjoy the milestones. Enjoy the journey as much as each destination.
Occasionally I take a random day off, aside from my regular weekend. My other half always asks, “so what are your plans?” I rarely have an answer. I will of course do some writing, maybe reading, maybe coloring. But often, I do a lot of nothing. It’s the open space of “not doing” that I need most.
It used to feel uncomfortable not doing anything. Getting to the end of the day and feeling like I didn’t accomplish anything used to drive me nuts. Now, I feel better about it. I do sometimes think I should have done more, but those feeling are less and less the more I practice doing less.
Take a look at where in your life you have “space between” that is being filled but might be better left empty. Maybe it’s time spent doing nothing. Maybe it’s leaving space on the coloring page. Maybe it’s appreciating the mundane days between your big adventures.
Not sure where to find your spaces between or how they even fit into your busy life? Let’s chat!