"Don't Just Do Something. Stand There."

forest_bathing.jpeg

Why is it that when space presents itself in our lives there is this strong urge to fill it? And I mean STRONG urge. We cram our brains, our stomachs, our homes, and our schedules so full that there is little to no space in our lives for digestion and assimilation. Our bodies and minds need precious space to process everything we consume from the food we eat, the shows we watch, the black and white headlines declaring disasters and pain, and all of the varied emotions that move inside of us moment to moment. We live in a time where there is more entertainment content and products then there are people on this earth and hours in our lives!

We don’t need to go back to living in caves to return to a more supportive and natural rhythm. What if we simply began to protect the space presented in our lives? Let that opening in our schedule stay there. Give space to the friend who is telling you a story. Let them finish their own sentences. Give unstructured time to our children and let them explore what is here now. There is so much richness in the spaces. Each moment in our lives add up to our life! Bare feet on linoleum floors, sounds of crows and morning doves and rustling leaves. The way our clothes hug our bodies and rest on our skin. The poetry of each moment is endless, and all that is required is our attention. Taking deep beautiful breaths in line at the grocery store, or on the freeway. Space in our lungs. Our tummies might also appreciate a little bit of space with each meal. What if we didn’t obsessively check our phones for the latest spam email, social media, or news update? I know! Blasphemy!! While we don’t need to reject our conveniences or technology we ARE capable of moderating our use of it. In fact, I feel like most of us actually crave space from what can feel like an electronic leash!

In my own personal attempts at creating space I noticed that it felt like going against the grain of my habits but the result of my efforts was this marked sense of relief. When talking to my family, friends and children I found that Marshall B. Rosenbergs advice from his book Nonviolent Communication to “ Don’t just do something. Stand there.” worked like magic. Admittedly, I had strong impulses to interrupt, ask questions, and sudden urges to insert my own similar experience or opinion. But in the spirit of giving space I worked diligently to really just listen with my eyes, my ears, my mind and my spirit. The result was a feeling of connection and deep respect, love and appreciation for who I was talking to. There was also a relief to know that really I’m not helping when I am trying to “solve” their problems. The feeling of connection felt mutual when I just listened and reflected back what I was hearing. Additionally I played with NOT making plans, driving with no music, leaving my phone at home and going for walks with my dog. Sitting on the steps in my backyard letting the breeze play with my hair as I stared up at the moon, stars and the flashing lights of planes in the sky. Ultimately in giving myself this space I had these lovely connections to moments as they came in as well as being more privy to the incessant stream of thoughts both destructive and helpful. In observing my thoughts I could see that this shift I created was healthy. Moving me away from looking for approval, validation, and attention and closer to my goal of feeling fulfilled from the inside out. This is definitely a practice, and I am working on all of it…especially the leaving space after a meal thing!!

I would love to hear how you create space in your life. 

You are nature. 

With Love, Nicole