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Martha Treats, sent once a month by email, gives you an inspiring learning nugget around completion
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Just published: Martha Treat #200
Loving the Empty Spaces
In NYC years ago a wonderful client of mine shared with me her fear of completing because she saw it as dying. I understood it. A boss of mine told me the piles of paper on her desk communicated that she was busy, and that perception protected her job. I related to that as well.
The idea of completing everything on our lists is both exhilarating and uncomfortable. If everything is done, what do I do next and what will people think of me if it looks like I have nothing to do? One can label “nothing to do” as either an unsafe place or a creative opportunity. In my experience the latter works best.
For many the empty spaces get filled quickly as we are more comfortable with having more than we can complete than having nothing to do. People who retire often experience the discomfort of so much free time and then seem to find their way into lots of activity filling the space.
I understand how having a full to overflowing plate produces an illusionary feeling of comfort. We like feeling needed, involved and valued. When the pressure subsides and we have less to do, it isn’t long before we fill our plates with more than we could possibly complete, simply because it is familiar.
Wide open space can be intimidating because the adrenaline stimulus of activity is missing. As a writer I often experience slight anxiety (or excitement) when I face a blank page not having a clue what I’m about to write. Over time I have learned to trust the adventure of something new always appearing and am grateful for opening to the emptiness.
I am often honored and surprised by the shifts in my own consciousness that take place when I allow the empty space of an open schedule, a clear table, an extended gaze out the window to inform me.
In my life I have had three solitary vacations where I had only empty space. After the first one, a colleague who noticed my inner contentment (and assuming I met a guy) said to me, what’s his name? For me the empty space was the relationship.
I know the well-spring of nourishment that comes from even a couple of hours alone, welcoming forward the unknown onto a blank page. It is the empty spaces that invite creativity and inspiration.
Imagine the undiscovered gems we might miss without giving ourselves empty space.
1. Choose one weekend day and schedule nothing and see what the day brings you.
2. Take one hour and be with you and see what emerges.
3. Schedule “empty space” on your calendar and let it advise you how to use it.
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Read Previous Treats:
Treat #197 The Tiny Finishings
Treat #196 Emergency,Crisis,Fire
Treat #195 Mastership
Treat #194 It Works Every Time
Treat #193 Let the Stuffing Be Gone
Treat #192 Whole Focus
Treat #191 The One Thing Not to Complete
Treat #190 Just Keep It Flowing
Treat #189 In Between Time
Treat #188 What is Stealing Your Energy?
Treat #187 To Skim or Not to Skim
Treat #186 I Love January
Treat #185 Both Hands Please
Treat #184 I'll Remember
Treat #183 Creating New Doing Paths
Treat #182 A Habit Worth Quitting
Treat #181 Eclipse of Action
Treat #180 Forgive Me for Multitasking
Treat #179 What are You Looking At?
Treat #178 Are you Squishing Snails?
Treat #177 Relaxing the Grip
Treat #176 All the Time in the World
Treat #175 When is Enough . . . Enough
Treat #174 Engaging Yourself to Completion
Treat #173 A Kink in the Works
Treat #172 What's Stopping You?
Treat #171 All of Ours to Do
Treat #170 Attitude Adjustment
Treat #169 IN Consciousness
Treat #168 Completing Past our Reactions
Treat #167 Keep Your Dog Leash
Treat #166 The Essential Piece
Treat #165 Day is Done
Treat #164 Do-Nothing Time
Treat #163 Curbside Calm
Treat #162 Pile-Up
Treat #161 Gentle Doing
Treat #160 Freedom in the Discipline
Treat #159 Finding New Routes
Treat #158 Keeping the Awe Alive
Treat #157 "Finishiative"
Treat #156 The Exquisite Sound of the Moment
Treat #155 Up-to-the-minute
Treat #154 Uninviting Interruptions
Treat #153 What's bugging you
Treat #152 Competing Attention
Treat #151 Our Inner Awareness
Treat #150 Spontaneously Fresh and Alive
Treat #149 Without the Push
Treat #148 100% With...
Treat #147 Are You Signaling?
Treat #146 What is Pulling on Your Attention?
Treat #145 Gathering Ourselves Out of Overwhelm
Treat #144 Wonderings – Another Kind of Incomplete
Treat #143 Asking – A New Form of Delegating
Treat #142 Split Attention Payback
Treat #141 Getting All the Way In To Doing
Treat #140 Willingness to Look
Treat #139 Follow Yourself Around
Treat #138 A New Kind of Flow