Negative Space is Incredibly Positive...The Power of Pausing

There is power in pausing.

Pauses are as important in life as they are in art. Breathing, we inhale, and breathing, we exhale! Yet, sometimes we need reminding not to hold our breaths. Rushing around from thing to thing, we forget the importance of the pause. In life, as in art, the negative space is a critical piece of the whole. Just as the negative space defines the boundaries of the art composition and draws attention to it, and just as the silence in music, or the stillness in dance, draw attention, we are given the opportunity to pause and reflect and to give thanks in those moments. The art is richer, the dance more meaningful, the music more poignant.

As Thanksgiving approaches, it occurs to me that there is something rather special about this particular holiday. Despite, all of the frenzy and excitement looming in December, Thanksgiving is a day when most of us pause to enjoy our families and friends.

What if we were to take that idea and weave it into our daily lives...into our personal and work lives and into our personal and work spaces? What if we remembered to take small breaks to loosen tense shoulder muscles, to play with the dog, to look out the window, to sit with a cup of tea without multitasking? Would we get less done, and feel more behind? Or would we actually feel energized and more connected to ourselves and those around us? Would our experiences change, would our views broaden and our eyes see more? I say yes!

For me, decluttering is another form of pausing. Removing things that no longer suit me, no longer make me happy, or no longer serve a purpose, is mentally cleansing. It leaves a visual pause, or negative space in my surroundings, and has a calming effect on me. Clear your desk at the end of your work day and notice how this impacts you the next time you sit down to work there. Clear the clutter from your purse, your wallet, your car, and savor the emptiness.

Pause to reflect upon what you have accomplished today. If you were to make a list, you would be amazed at how many things you do every day. I am grateful that I can do so much for myself. Ask anyone who has been ill or recently injured, and they will tell you how much they have taken for granted.  I leave you with this thought. The pauses, or negative spaces in our lives, invite us to focus upon how we view our days, our accomplishments, ourselves, and for that I give thanks.

*photo of painting, "The Dance Examination," by Edgar Degas