The Space Between
The universe is mostly made up, not of stuff, but of space – big pockets of emptiness that envelop all of the living things that it contains. The space is what holds all of us. We don’t tend to think of all that vast nothingness as important on the daily. But, in fact, the space that embraces us and all that we hold dear is an essential and ever-present component of our lives.
Artists have a way of understanding and appreciating space as an essential part of their art. There is the subject, but then there is the play of space around it. They can use both positive and negative space strategically to convey different messages and meanings, create balance and draw the eye to a particular focal point.
So, how do we learn from artists to ensure that we are respecting the space and appreciating what it has to offer? And how can we best work with it to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship?
Of course, all living beings are also mostly made up of space. Every human is made of millions of atoms which are all 99% empty space. It freaked me out a little to learn that If you were to remove the empty space contained in every atom in every person on planet earth and compress us all together, then the overall volume of our particles would be smaller than a sugar cube. Waahhh?
It’s interesting to note that the nature of the energy that holds us and our world together is also workable and sensitive to the energy we contribute to it. Leaders with positive relational energy inspire substantially higher levels of engagement, lower turnover, and enhanced feelings of well-being among employees.
When we’re conscious of the kind of energy we’re bringing to the world and our co-inhabitants, we can work with it and even shift it to ensure we are creating an environment that is loving, supportive, and benevolent. So much more is possible when we understand the power we have to create the kind of space that supports our parenting, our work, our relationships, and all the various aspects of our lives.
‘How am I showing up?’ really speaks to the question of the energy I am bringing to the relationship, the room, or the project. By becoming conscious of the energy we’re embodying, or wish to embody, we can actively affect the nature of the way we live and work.
Yoga teaches that Shakti is the energy within everything, including us. With practice, we can become more in touch with our own energy. There are many great spiritual masters who teach ways to become more in touch with our Shakti.
How can we consciously and consistently bring the kind of energy that is positive and life-affirming? When I allow myself to be led by my frustrated, stuck energy, there is little room for movement. It’s uninviting, creating the conditions for withholding or stagnation.
When I’m led by the energy of growth and possibility, the space feels solid and fertile, with a calm, grounded energy. So much is possible from this space! Practices from Wendy Palmer, Philip Shepherd, and Jack Kornfield help to channel this energy, but it begins with getting in touch with our breath, becoming present to this place and moment right now. You can be intentional about the energy you wish to channel and feel it rise within you, whenever you need it.
Ask yourself: How will I show up to help create the space that supports what comes next?
We can also help to establish our environment using objects that support a more inviting energy, one that can allow for greater connection, understanding, love, and compassion. We can light a candle for intimacy, play appropriate music to fire up our team or use nature to facilitate greater understanding, grounding, or big thinking.
Consider the energy you are bringing to each interaction throughout the day. If you’re about to have a conversation with your child about their day at school, think about the kind of energy that will allow for greater connection and openness. If you’re about to deliver a strategy to your stakeholders, consider consciously embodying the energy of possibility and enthusiasm.
By co-creating with the space around you and consciously bringing appropriate energy, our space will naturally respond in kind, helping to create the conditions for kindness, solemnity, and possibility.