“It's a transformative experience to simply pause instead of immediately fill up the space. By waiting, we begin to connect with fundamental restlessness as well as fundamental spaciousness." — Pema Chodron, from "When Things Fall Apart"
On a scale of 1-10, how spacious does your life feel right now?
10 being so spacious you're brain feels blissfully blank and 1 being every moment of your time crammed with busy thoughts and to do items.
Take a moment to think.
You know where you are now, but where on the scale would you actually like to be?
I'd argue that most of us probably crave more space to just be in our our daily lives.
Do you ever feel like you're moving so fast that you can't think straight?
I find when I get in that hyper-fast mode that I intuitively know that slowness will actually be beneficial for my mind, my body and my productivity—but sometimes I resist letting myself wind down.
Hyper productivity is rewarding. The speed at which we cross items off our lists is an immediate reward.
But it's also a short term one.
Introducing more space into your day to day is how you build long term reward.
Rather than trying to think your way through problems, which can often lead us in circles, space sparks creativity.
When you allow yourself to float in the expanse, solutions no longer seem like singular, closed options, but instead many paths for your choosing that lead outward.
Giving yourself space to think and breathe and just be is naturally reflective (which is why we often avoid giving ourselves this opportunity), and even more than being solution-oriented, time alone not doing anything is the most direct path to accessing your intuition and understanding your life's purpose.
The word "purpose" gets thrown around to the point of being a tiresome cliche, but the actual feeling of it, the knowing of rightness is your bones is just the opposite.
Giving yourself the space to recognize your purpose and the actions that bring you into alignment is nothing short of electrifying. Really—neurons firing, heart beating, blood pumping aliveness accompanies feelings of clarity and groundedness.
Whenever I fear I am not on the right path, it is because I am not taking the time to slow down.
We've been taught that our worth is equal to our productive output, but it's flat out not true.
You won't have lasting feelings of self-worth until you separate yourself from your "doing," and recognize that you have innate value in any given moment—and especially in those moments you leave yourself alone and undistracted long enough to realize how you can most fully serve.
Perhaps you're wondering how to add more space to your life, but you almost certainly already know.
The activities will be subtly different depending on the person, but the fundamentals are the same: time, minimized distraction and often an element of nature.
Block off non-negotiable times in your calendar, pull on some sneakers and go outside with no phone in hand. Take a walk with your dog, or listen to a meditation app. Journaling, camping, hiking, doodling are some go-to suggestions.
But you probably already know what you need without me telling you. If not, you can use those ideas as a starting point and go from there.
Set aside the notion that your time is only well-spent on tasks and in motion. You'll get that short-lived high of busy-ness shooting through your veins, but you won't be building a sustainable future for your soul.
If you're not finding you have enough time to discover and follow through on your own needs, bring this element back to the forefront.
Taking time away from doing will not ruin your productivity, but rather strengthen it.
Spaciousness will allow you to prioritize your actions so you know you're actually creating projects that will sustain you and those around you when you return from your time away.
Wherever you are today, just let yourself be there for a while.