My mind, my creative spirit craves white space. The feeling of building something, whether physical or written word, is pretty magical. It brings accomplishment and fulfillment. So why don't I carve out more white space...for meditation, creation, and writing? It's good for me, so why don't I just do it? I am still learning about myself on this one, but I have a hunch it's the same little addictive component of my DNA that has popped up so many times over my life.
You might know the one I'm talking about. For me, it looks like this: Just one more check of Facebook..Oh wait, let's see if my LinkedIn post got any more views (oh how I love those analytics)...Let's check email just one more time...While I'm at it, let's see if any more podcasts just downloaded. It might be THE one that I must hear because my 1,000s of listened to episodes thus far this year may have been lacking a vital episode or nugget of wisdom that will be a game-changer...And since I'm looking at my phone, how am I doing on my Oura ring score today? How am I doing on my readiness and activity score?...Speaking of, let me book my next yoga class real quick...I wonder when it's going to snow next? The weather app will tell me...Hmm, I wonder how the financial markets are doing today? Financial news app...It's not wonder my screen time app says I picked up my phone an average of 120x/day last week. It's addiction!
I know addiction well and I realize I need to create new habits and short circuit my patterns if I want to break this addictive cycle. I want get different results unless I change the thoughts and behaviors. This example of madness is only my screen time and doesn't account for all the other distractions I face working from home that prevent me from maximizing and cherishing white space. Dishes, laundry, grabbing another tea, coffee, water, chocolate, taking the dog out, letting the dog in, grabbing the mail, paying bills. There are so many competing forces that gobble up any white space.
I have a Superpower though. It's a Superpower I can use to create white space and put it on the pedestal for creation. My Superpower is discipline. When I set goals, I'm very disciplined in doing the daily work. Eventually it just becomes part of my routine. Almost every day of the week, I'm up at 4:30am to start my day so I have time for my morning routine and self-care -- bootcamp, yoga classes, writing. Anyone can have this Superpower of discipline. It's just about deciding what you want and then making a commitment to do the daily habit to make it happen. (Finding accountability partners is the other secret formula)
Discipline can be simple; yet powerful. Making my bed daily was something I never did until 2 years ago. After hearing countless people talk about the magic of this one act in setting your day up right, I decided to commit to it for the 66 days (on average) needed to create a habit. Sure enough, it worked. Now I'm completely flummoxed if the bed isn't made. Making it only takes 60 seconds, but that discipline sends a signal to my brain that shifts my mindset into action. It gives me a sense of being prepared and honoring the space to be a true space of rest and rejuvenation. Having things in order isn't just limited to making the bed. My husband teases me because I can't leave the house (let alone stay in the house) without having the house in order, dishes done, counters cleared, house clean. It makes me crazy! It's part of my ritual to create a space that feels good to me.
It's clear to me some habits need to change if I'mg going to start a new discipline of using white space to write. The addictive impulse to check my phone needs to stop. It crushes productivity and creates an antithesis to white space. When I grab my journal to write, I use it to turn my writing music on (Pandora Brandi Carlile radio or Yoga Girl Playlist on Spotify). Beyond that, I need to leave the phone in a different room.
Without white space, I don't even know if my creation is actually coming from me or just a rewording of someone else's thoughts (something I saw on social media, something I heard on a podcast, an article I read). Unique thoughts and creation need to come from within me, especially in a time where my world seems to be filled with life coaches or someone wanting to sell me a master class on some self help-mindset topic. My world has started to feel cluttered by all of this "mindset magic guru" mentality. Don't get me wrong. I passionately believe in the all-important mindset as the means to making the best of one's life and becoming the best version of oneself. However, I think I've hit a saturation of people preaching mindset to me. Now, it's time to block some of this out and create my own white space to actually do the work--create the ideas--rather than getting sucked into the addictive nature of social media clutter.
Even as I've been writing this, I've had an instinct to pick up my phone and check it at least 3 times. I haven't picked it up yet, but the compulsive instinct is there. New habits require new action. Perhaps I need to move my phone to the charger most of the day and just time block use of it. That would better safeguard my time for writing and creation.
What is white space to me?
It's more of a feeling than a thing. It's a feeling of preparing my mind. Quiet space, clean space, my journal and a pen, coffee or tea, blanket on my lap. After creating the "space," I'm ready to dive into my thoughts and start exploring, translating thoughts into feelings. It's an ability to explore thoughts without being attached or judgmental. It's the sand mandala meticulously crafted and then just swept away in a second as impermanent thoughts or feelings. And it's so damn fulfilling to tap into this energy. It's a sense of flow where I feel like I'm enough. My activity is enough in that moment. It's raw, honest energy and creation. It's a muscle that needs to be worked to get stronger and more efficient.
Meditation is also amazing white space for me. The difference is that I'm not diving into my thoughts purposefully in meditation. Quite the contrary, I'm just focused on my breath and the white space itself. Meditation has the added magic of multiplying white space.