Earlier this winter we had the biggest snowfall in years. White, fluffy, thick drifts of snow that looked so enticing as I sat drinking coffee in a warm nook while looking out the window. No dirt yet because it was still so early in the day that snowplows were just beginning to clear the street.
I love how snow envelops, protects, and changes the landscape before my eyes. The kids see it as “Snow Day” with varying reactions, from glee to disappointment depending on which of our children is speaking. Snow is calming. It provides the opportunity for white space.
We intuitively know what white space is, that blank whiteboard on which we draw, write, or doodle anything we want. Or the spacious light-filled room with nothing in it. It’s just white. Empty. Fresh. Clear. Like newly fallen snow, of course.
What emotions does white space conjure up in you when you think of it?
Value of White Space
White space feels cleansing. It’s expansive.
For me, white space is the light-filled room, empty of any baggage, of Harry Potter’s train station setting when he met with Dumbledore (spoiler alert!) after he passed away. A transition area that also serves as a respite from daily life. When I sit in white space, I have room to breathe without external distractions. I can enter this room when I need time alone, time to process a feeling or event, and emerge renewed having given myself the time to turn inward.
How to get more of it
We lead busy lives. Checklists of tasks need completion. We prioritize others’ needs over our own. I get it. I also know from my HR and coaching background that we are wearing ourselves out. The pandemic seems never-ending. We are at our wits end managing the blurred lines between work and family life.
Here’s what I’ve learned: no one will give you permission to enter your white space except you. That’s the short and long of it. You can either give yourself the gift of white space which will lead to feelings of openness and wellbeing, or you can make excuses about why you don’t deserve it. At the (hor)crux of the matter, many of us don’t feel we deserve white space until “x” happens. Even worse – we move “x” farther away the closer we get to it.
So, getting white space is easy. We just need to choose it. Whether it’s carving it out in your calendar or simply enjoying a moment without the need to fill it, white space is a wonderful gift you can give yourself. White space grants us clarity, serenity, and the belief that we can face life with more equanimity.
Impact on Others
White space impacts those around us too. First, our immediate family members witness it. Our actions teach them it’s okay to retreat for periods of time. Secondly, we influence our dear friends as we project those feelings of serenity. Finally, we impact our community when we share our insights gleaned from those moments of peace. Full circle: today’s blog came out of the white space that happened with the beautiful snowfall I described in my opening.