Once a month I have an acupuncture appointment. Over the years I’ve come to count on this time as an important part of my overall stress management routine. During this particular appointment, my acupuncturist and I were discussing “white space” or also known as simple moments of quiet. Finding white space can be incredibly difficult. In our western society, it’s not a mainstream practice (yet), and our minds are by default running to fill up any gaps in thought with more thought.
And yet, the white space is where creativity lives. It’s where our best ideas flow from. It’s where we find inspiration. And it’s also where we rest.
Stepping out of the “Executive Function” of doing has required a re-writing of my brain over time. Full transparency, I’m still very much a work in progress on this. Though I’ll offer three things that have been helpful in my pursuit to find that all so glorious white space.
- White space doesn’t need to mean no thought. It can also be focused thought. Though to find consistent moments of focus I’ve had to ground that time next to another routine. For me, I have a routine of driving to the gym 4 days per week. During my 5 minute drive, I’m listening to and reciting what I call, “my truth” which is a series of beliefs I have or am forming about myself. This takes 5 minutes of concentration and the point here is to focus my mind on nothing else during those brief moments.
- Your environment matters and for me, it’s much more difficult to get away from my thoughts when I’m at home – surrounded by things to think about. So, I now go away for a few days a year, by myself, without many (or any) plans. This gives me some time to get back in touch with myself, and I find whitespace there.
- And of course the practice of meditation. If you’re new to it, meditation does not mean you sit and think of nothing. Perhaps gurus after decades of meditation practice can do that. Instead, I sit quietly and follow my thoughts, not paying a lot of attention to any of them in particular. What I notice is when I’m done, by sitting for a few minutes noticing my thoughts, rather than being one with them, I’m opening a new pathway to white space and creativity will flow soon thereafter.
Seeking out white space is a commitment. Not an event and I encourage you to give it a try.