“Oh, I so do. So, yes. This. Let’s talk about this for just a minute. Picture a pipe with rods running inside it and tightly packed. If you strike the outside of the pipe, it cracks, and the force is transferred to the rods inside, damaging all or most of them as well. Now picture the pipe loosely packed with the rods. If the pipe itself is struck, the space inside ensures that no rods break. Do you feel where you are so tightly packed, dear one?
This resilience pattern is true for your calendar. For your emotions. For your patience. For your luggage. In everything. So we begin to recognize, prioritize and celebrate space for itself, strategically and fiercely. First. Before you do anything, begin to watch the most graceful livers that you know. Who have a particular dignity and serenity among chaotic circumstance. Who have great calm and impressive reserves of energy. Begin to observe their pre-emptive pursuit of and friendship with spaciousness and to feel into your own. There is so much that is delicious in you that just needs space to rise to the surface. I see it, always.
So you know what I love to see every single time in you, beloved? Anything in this realm. I’m always looking for it. If you need to start slow, I’ve got you. Pack lightly in time, space and spirit. Hold yourself as one whose being extends through years, not days. Quit filling up mindlessly. Bloom into an unknown and beautifully expansive self not by adding the next object, or degree, or skill, or title or web post, but by again and again choosing to not fill up that which is only yours to fill. It feels prickly at first, I know, or wasteful. I watch people struggle with this one so much. But you are not in danger here, beloved. There is no life, regardless of circumstances, that cannot invisibly encompass this quality, and reap its bounty. Carving space is tasting power. Hold space for ‘nothing’. You are being invited through this, the shortest runway, to come back home.”
This week the circus grew by two new litters of puppies. And the founding membership to a brand new resilience subscription launched (see below!) And the gardens going in. And so on. And there are moments I don’t know exactly whether this is being a sustainable system or whether I’ve tipped over that line. But I do know how to design for the arrival of overwhelm, anxiety and dropped balls. So this week I add space between the rods, say ‘no’ more carefully, say ‘yes’ more mindfully, and keep my radar up higher for the empty food, empty play, empty rest and fake connection that creep in to freeload in space they are not entitled to but will try for. I will treasure micro-spacing in my inner landscape. And I will fiercely mother and protect the space I have command over, without which, under stress, the system cracks.
It’s physics, dear ones. Try it on.
simply because the space is there,
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.
Dr. Judy Sorum Brown
‘Fire’. Read the whole poem here:
This week, at any fork in the road, large or small, choose what adds space. Trick yourself and others as needed to begin with. (Later you won’t need to.) Add fake appointments to your week’s calendar and keep them. Google and write down ten ways to say no and use each of them in a week. Test and taste your relationships with silence or darkness. Acknowledge the reality of transitions and design them in. Pause for 15 seconds to fully take in any experience, from the neck down. Set an alarm in the afternoon with only the invitation, “Reset.” On the last day, ask yourself what happened, in you and in those around you.
And then, reset.