the rush to fill the empty spaces

There is a gap opening up in my life soon.

Nature abhors a vacuum, right? My tendency is always to fill spaces up with more things, new things, ways to make money/art, projects, whatever. This time, though, I promised myself I would sit with the space, lean into the quiet, listen in and see what comes up.

When I teach yoga, my students often talk to me about savasana (corpse pose, or the relaxation bit in a yoga class)…how the first few times they experience it, it often makes them feel uncomfortable. Their minds race, they feel awkward and overly intimate with their classmates by lying down in silence, they are hyper-aware of the sound of breathing, they might lie there waiting for it to be over, even…

…but with a bit of practice, after giving it a few goes….they come to like it, and then to look forward to it. Conscious relaxation (i.e. staying awake whilst deeply relaxing) can sometimes feel more restorative than eight hours sleep.

I think it is the same feelings with any empty spaces that appear in our lives – we are not used to stopping, to silence, to deep rest…at first it makes us feel uncomfortable, like we are ‘wasting time’, being unproductive, or we just don’t like the thoughts and feelings which come when there is a bit of room for them to rise up.

I have a feeling something big, absorbing and fulfilling lies ahead for me, but I’m not entirely sure what it is yet. This is why I am going to let the empty spaces be empty spaces….so I can create enough quiet to listen for what’s coming.

I’ve always been a to-do list person. If I have any free time, I write a big to-do list and set myself a goal of getting it done by the end of the morning, or the day or the week. I work methodically through it….tick! tick! tick!

I’ve written on here about how this year has been a bit of a creative low-point and there’s been a bit of burn-out, too.

I’ve discovered a new approach to free time. (No doubt this is not a revelation to many of you, seasoned moochers!)

Free-form pottering.

Instead of enslaving myself to a to-do list, which -while organised and productive- leaves my already frazzled spirit feeling weirdly pressured- I am pottering. Doing a bit of this, a bit of that, drifting from one task to another and back, dropping tasks if they start to annoy me…stopping for cups of tea more often.

Here’s what I am experiencing by pottering:

-my free time feels free

-I am nicer to my kids and am doing more with them, because I letting go of the notion of what I ‘have’ to achieve in a day. A game of Operation or a spontaneous round of biscuit baking with the kids is more important than me calling the IRD or editing a poem or whatever would have been on that to-do list.

-I am still getting a lot of things done. Pottering doesn’t mean doing nothing.


So, in my pottering space, in my savasana space, in my go slow/do less/breathe more space – I am sitting here – awaiting further instructions.


8 thoughts on “the rush to fill the empty spaces

  1. Pottering always seems to be a way to get more done and I’m sure it’s because we let go of the concept of time. Instead of being in a rush to get the to do list time which invites time to go fast we simply potter which is slow and meandering and mindful.
    PS you know I’m going to remind you of this in a few months time:-)


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