Recently I was sitting on my patio, cappuccino in hand, appreciating my garden. This is truly my favourite place. I am amazed at how it has evolved and changed with each passing year. I have loved deciding which plants would thrive in each one of the flower beds, digging them into the soil and tending them until they fulfilled my vision of our backyard paradise.
Suddenly this summer, a few of those flower beds seemed to have become too full. There were not enough spaces to really see the beauty of the shrubs and plants within it. This fall I will begin to divide and move some of those plants. I will create space.
In the world of art, that area between objects is known as “negative space”.
A terrific art teacher I once had, was the first to introduce this idea to me. He emphasized the importance of the blank or negative space in our work as equally important as the lines which create the images which become the art. It was an interesting idea, but I was impatient to fill up that paper with as much of my creative genius as possible. Wasn’t that what art was about after all?”
Isn’t this the way it is in life? Our lives are defined by what we fill them with; the lines we create in the space available.
So with that in mind, we grow up, spending most of our time figuring out what we will fill our lives with. How and with whom will we spend our time and doing what? It seems we are designed to do. We cram our schedules as full as possible as often as possible. Not everythingwe schedule is necessary, but if there is space, it seems it should be filled.
At some point we all establish a home. Once again we spend our energy and money filling that home with things; often as many things as possible. Every empty space seems to beg for a thing to fill it up. Blank walls are just waiting for something to hang on them. Rarely if ever would we intentionally leave them bare.
We are all really good at emphasizing these lines on the canvas of our lives. It is the most comfortable focus for most of us. Isn’t that what life is about after all?
But without those negative spaces between the lines, it becomes difficult to appreciate the abundant life we have created. The beauty we have so carefully crafted and intentionally tended becomes hard to see without spaces in between.
For me, creativity lives in those spaces.
So does lightness. And rejuvenation. And calm.
The void in my heart needs this space. It is where the memories of my baby boy wait.
My patience as a parent comes from having quiet space, and time alone to collect my thoughts so I actually accomplish completing one! Only when there is room for them do playfulness and humour come out of hiding. New perspectives then take shape which weren’t obvious before.
I feel most grateful and content when I make the space between the lines as important as the living.
Here in the quiet of the evening, halfway through my glorious west coast vacation, I am reminded of how much I have missed these spaces. And with that, finally words come back to me once again.
It feels so good to be writing again.
“And let there be spaces…..”
– Kahlil Gibran