“Learn to pause… or nothing worthwhile will catch up to you.”
Whether we’re at home or at work, creating space in our physical, mental or spiritual environments can lead to enormous benefits. Because of the nature of space clearing (we don’t remember exactly what’s there until we start moving things around!) the particular ways in which the benefits manifest are often surprising and unpredictable. So the sense of this process, in my experience, tends to be one of adventure and discovery. For each of the main ways below of creating space, I’ve suggested some themes as an aid to focussing our efforts. You can probably think of your own themes that you find supportive and that make most sense to you.
Creating physical space.
The themes here are de-cluttering, creating order, creating freshness.
The benefits of creating physical space are:
• Greater ease of use of the space.
• Easier to keep the space clean, so improved cleanliness.
• Physical creativity – room for something tangible to emerge or become obvious.
• Room to move – bodily liberation.
Creating Mental Space
The themes here are reducing stimuli, remembering our choices, handling strong emotions.
The benefits of creating mental space are:
• Mental creativity – head space to write, envision, come up with new ideas.
• Clarity – problem solving, remembering ideas, priorities and values, understanding alternative perspectives, reduced stress.
• Reflection – understanding of ourselves and others, forgiveness, gratitude.
• Wisdom – connection with our truth, space for our knowledge and experiences to make sense and gel.
Creating Spiritual Space
The themes here are peace, commitment, spiritual practice.
• Reclaimed emotional energy – renewed emotional vitality, reduced stress.
• Healing and reintegration – remembering our authentic selves.
Over the festive season, Ben decided to take the opportunity of some time off work to redecorate his bedroom. He duly moved all the furniture into the middle of the room, covered it in dust sheets and began preparing the ceiling and walls for painting. As he started this process, he noticed how stressed he was feeling about getting the decorating done quickly. While his bedroom was in turmoil, he was sleeping on the sofa in the living room and so wasn’t feeling as rested as usual. Added to that, finding his clothes each morning underneath all the dustsheets was irritating and time consuming. He really didn’t like this degree of disruption to his everyday life.
Ben decided to create some mental space in order to de-stress and find some enjoyment in the work he had assigned himself.
After some time spent away from the scene of the irritations – a brisk 30 minute walk did the trick – he came up with the idea of moving his clothes into a much smaller second bedroom and making a comfortable bed in there so that he could de-camp to a temporary sleep space that was more comfortable and convenient. Having made these changes, Ben noticed that he felt calmer and less pressured into completing the decorating of his usual bedroom quickly.
Following a few nights sleeping soundly in his temporary bedroom, Ben had a brainwave. His temporary bedroom was so much warmer and more comfortable than his usual bedroom that he decided to move in there permanently once he’d finished the painting. This then left him with a newly decorated, larger room. Another brainwave later and he had cleared the space and transformed this room into a studio for practising Aikido, a physical and spiritual practice that he had recently started learning but that he’d been finding difficult to commit to at home due to lack of physical space.
Thus, by starting with recognising his need for some mental space, Ben had created both physical and spiritual space for himself in ways that he hadn’t conceived of before he started space clearing.
What examples of the benefits of creating space can you think of from your own life?