What is it exactly?
How do you get it?
What can it do for you?
All good questions.
Think of it like this. You wake up early. You hop in the shower. As you shower, you are thinking about all the things you have to do today: take the kids to school, clean the house, get a project done at work, run to the store to pick up dinner, make dinner, squeeze in a jog. Ok, you get it. You’ve only showered, yet you’ve done all these things in your mind already. Your mind is buzzing. As you get ready, eat your breakfast and brush your teeth, you are still thinking about this elusive future in which you need to accomplish A, B and C. If you do not accomplish these things today, you will feel like you’ve failed. Failed at what? Your task list? Life?
You are surrounded and bombarded by obligations, things to maintain, images and media and news and commitments and responsibilities, and it’s all so fucking serious, right? You take yourself very seriously because you think you should. You buy things because they are popular and shiny and new because that is what people do. You upgrade when you are supposed to upgrade because that is what you’re supposed to do. You research things until you become blue in the face because that is what you are supposed to do. You are always doing, doing, doing because that is what you are supposed to do. But, are you ever just being? Are you allowed to just be? Do you ever take a moment to just be and enjoy what you are doing right here, right now? You may think you do. You may say you take yoga or lie in bed thinking before you doze off. But are you really being in the moment without thinking of the past or the future? Are you done doing what you are supposed to do every second of every day because that is what you were always told you are supposed to do?
This is probably hard to hear. It’s probably not comfortable to hear, for some of you, that’s is ok to not to focus your life on tasks and accomplishments. It might be hard to hear that you are more than what you spend your time doing. The problem is, you never allow yourself to step outside of that “doing” circle to see your “being” circle. Guess what, you are allowed.
Most likely you are filled to the brim with stuff, obligations, commitments and responsibilities because you think this is how we all must live. Are you taking the time to process the things that happen to you each day, or is your head just hitting the pillow from sheer exhaustion and hoping for a better day tomorrow?
It doesn’t have to be this way.
You can simply let go.
You can let go of being so serious about life.
You can create time in your day to sit, be still and NOT think about anything. Just creating white space in your mind. Your brain wants this, craves this, but it’s uncomfortable so we try to distract ourselves for nearly every waking minute of every day. We are distracting ourselves from the emptiness that accompanies not doing something. Most of us hate that feeling of boredom or emptiness, so we fill it up with a “thing”. You can fill in the blank for whatever your filler is. Almost everything we do is a filler: internet, food, task lists, organizing, making money, business, being a parent, video games, alcohol, coffee, social networking, hanging out with your friends, working out, homework, maintaining our appearance, being super mom or super dad, tending to our garden — all of it. None of these are better or worse than the other, and they all have one thing in common: they are distractions from emptiness.
But emptiness is not the scary thing you think it is. It’s actually quite beautiful. The emptiness is the white space.
The white space you allow for yourself each day will let your brain find itself again. Having deliberate quiet time where you don’t allow yourself to think about your to-do list or pains from the past is a good start. You don’t have to meditate to do this. You can be showering or lying in bed or just sitting in a chair looking out the window; the difference is that you are not letting yourself get sucked into the rabbit hole of overthinking. Visualizing a place covered in white that doesn’t allow thoughts to occur is a good start. See how long you can sit there and just let this happen. It won’t be fun at first, but you might find yourself starting to look forward to it over time. It’s like permission to stop the crazy mind chatter for a bit. It’s like permission to just sit there and be — a moment where nothing is expected of you. You are allowed to just be you as you are. You are not what you do.
You can also start working on creating a white space-friendly environment. As I often talk about, minimalism is not just about your stuff, but it does help to start letting the things go that no longer serve you. It’s a process. It isn’t something you do in a weekend. But eventually, you want to get your personal surroundings to a place that brings you peace. So when you walk into any given room in your home or yard or porch or RV or whatever, you are not distracted by things that irk you. I am not here to tell you what to get rid of. There are plenty of amazing blogs and books that you can buy that will walk you through that process. I am simply saying that doing this will help you have more white space in your life — because when you remove distractions (physical, emotional and mental), you will be lighter. You will feel free. You will have more time to, well…not think.