Sunday, August 29, 2010

Being OK with S p a c e

Many of us have taken the challenge this year to reduce clutter to create s p a c e for the things that matter most in life.  For the first 6 months I've focused primarily on reducing physical clutter.  It has been exhilarating, frustrating, overwhelming, relieving and wonderful.  Some days I feel like I've made a lot of progress, and some days I just want people to come over and take everything out of my basement. (Anyone interested?)

My husband has been out of town for the last 5 days taking a photography workshop in Utah.  So I decided that while he was gone Kestan and I would have our own mini-vacation in town.  I relinquished most household duties and we've enjoyed eating out, picnics in the park, swimming, a visit to the zoo, the farmer's market, and get-togethers with friends and family.

We've also enjoyed a lot of downtime at home.  And letting go of our daily routine has freed up some much needed s p a c e to do nothing.  Like playing in the park without a time restraint.  Or stopping in the middle of folding clothes to build a fort out of fresh sheets.  Or deciding that spices were just as interesting as blocks, so why not build a little town with them on the kitchen floor?  

My Internet has been down the last several days so I didn't have the computer to fill up my time.  And having this downtime has allowed me a chance to focus more on what it means to have s p a c e.  We can create physical space in our homes by donating boxes of old books and clothes, but what about our daily schedule?  How often do we fill up our day so full that we find ourselves running around until crashing in bed at some ungodly hour, just to get up early the next morning to do it all over again? 

Sometimes I find that clearing the closets, cupboards and basement shelves are the easy part.  The hard part is to keep from filling the empty spaces again.  I actually find great joy in looking at empty shelves, just as I love days with no plans.  In fact, I "schedule" days that stay blank on my calendar.  Sometimes I even encourage my husband to take our one-and-only car to work so that I don't get tempted to go do something.  That way Kestan and I can move slowly throughout our day, with no plans, and with s p a c e to explore around our home.  These are my favorite days.

But then there are days where I feel stir crazy, like my hair is standing on end, and I have a lot of s p a c e that I don't know what to do with.  I think, "What should we do?"  Why is it that we feel this need to do something, anything, to fill up the s p a c e?  

Now that I'm getting close to my last month of pregnancy I feel really moved to create even more s p a c e.  So I'm going to continue being more conscious when those feelings of needing to fill the s p a c e come up.  I want to be OK with s p a c e.  I want to have more time where I don't know what to do with myself.  I am going to practice embracing more being time rather than so much doing.  Less agenda.  Less schedule.  Less expectations.  Less thinking about what's next.  More unplanned days.  More time at home.  More spontaneous, creative play.  More s p a c e.

I know I don't need to do something, make something, go somewhere, be somebody, or fill up my days to feel important and productive.  I know what's important for me now is to be in the s p a c e, because it's in the s p a c e that I appreciate these special little moments - like simply playing in the park.  It's in this s p a c e where I learn the most.  It's where I'm the most present.  Feeling the stillness that s p a c e brings (along with the discomfort and agitation) is where I need to be.  And being OK with no plans, no agenda, and no time-restraints is what this little guy is teaching me.  Not only is he teaching me it's OK, but that doing nothing and letting our time spontaneously unfold is more fun than I could have ever imagined.

Your Personal Reflection:  How can you create more s p a c e in your day so that you move at a pleasant pace - one that is balanced with more downtime?   What are some things you can let go of to create more s p a c e in your daily schedule?  How can you keep from filling up your s p a c e and simply enjoy being there?  What do you learn when you allow yourself to embrace doing nothing?


  1. Oh the importance of the power of Now. Eckharte Tolle has taught me much and I am grateful.
    Slowing down and enjoying the moment for all that it offers is such a hard habit to form when living in a fast paced society. Not sure that it's possible all the time. Like anything, the more you practice, the more likely you will be to achieve. Keeping in mind what's truly important is one key.
    Creating more space in a day can simply be a matter of delegating chores so they're spread out more and mom's not doing them all. or perhaps allowing a few chores to go undone (gulp!) so you have a half hour to read to the chicklets.
    Still working on all this myself.

  2. Beautiful post. Your words give me so much to mull over while I ready the kids for school. I will have more space in a few days. What to do with it? I have a lot to do-painting for a show, holiday crafting, the everyday. I don't want it to be too full but I am also a little nervous too about having a lot of space and not 'using it wisely'. Be well, Angela

  3. A wonderful thought provoking post that is sooooo relevant to where I'm at & what I'm trying to learn at the moment. Your post has helped me to keep focus. And on that note I am going to get off the computer & go & paint in the garden with the kids.....
    Kat X

  4. I'm currently in the clearing out physical clutter stage, and so glad to have it move out of my house! Everything going is opening up more and more of my heart.

  5. Hi Shannon!
    I love having in clutter free and in doing nothing. My children have taught me this also, they can just be and it's ok. I especially notice this in the summer, whereas when i was young i remember being bored and my mom would say "bored is good, learn to enjoy it!" i did and i do and i am hopefully teaching my kids as well as learning from them. They also do not think twice about throwing things out. When no longer useful into the garbage or goodwill it goes. I am the more sentimental one!....again, I learn from them. Good luck and enjoy! Kestan is just too sweet for words and i love reading about his adventures!

  6. Space is an awesome place, it's the stillness from which wondrous things grow...beatiful and inspiring piece of writing Shannon.

  7. if you want to take a field trip to lawrence, i'll show you my new space - i totally cleared out our front living room and turned it into my art studio and office. it feels so good to open the door to our house and walk directly into a wide open room!

  8. Great post - gave me a lot to think about.
    I don't think I can do SPACE. I'm constantly overwhelmed with physical and mental clutter ;(
    I will keep you in mind today as I try to work on this a bit ;)

  9. By the way I'm doing a giveaway on my blog today.
    Hope you'll come and visit ;)

  10. A few days late - because space is something I've been lacking. My household has gone from 7 to 3 this week and I'm overwhelmed with all of the things I have left undone these last few years as a three generation household. In my head I know I will need at least 6 months to sort and declutter and make space. I worked all week, feel the fatigue, but have only one small place that is fee and open. I'll use this space as respite and inspiration for the rest of the house.

    But I need to find the balance. I can't let the needs of the house overwhelm my needs to create and do my usual things. Good post to help me clarify my thinking.

  11. I so appreciate each one of you taking the time to share comments here. Thank you...


Thanks for sharing!