Blank Space

by Apr 24, 2024Uncategorized

Hey queen,

This is for the woman who knows hard work better than her life long best friend. For the woman whose first and last craving is always freedom. For the woman who cannot be stopped by anything other than her own unwanted addiction to suffering. I’m recovering myself, this is how it’s going lately. 


The air smells like flowers in my backyard as my dog munches on small chunks of dirt and chases the bees that hover around the patio, rising onto hind legs to get a closer look. There are bees of all species out here either looking for a meal, a place to build their home, or a playmate – I like to believe the latter. It’s 10am on a Tuesday morning and I’m soaking in the sun, listening to the birds sing through the neighborhood as I sip a brown sugar iced coffee. I’m accompanied by my favorite guest – creative flow. 

With every breath that relaxes me into this beautiful moment, there is a subtle voice taunting me for sleeping in and having yet to check my texts or emails. It tells me I’m not doing enough, that’ll never amount to anything. Something within me feels guilty, although there’s nothing to feel guilty about. Something within me feels panicked, although there’s nothing to panic about. Why is it so easy to run with the chaos, stress and guilt, and so hard to rest with the ease and enjoyment? Why do we rob ourselves of the freedom we worked so hard to attain? 

Like many of us here, all I ever wanted was to live on my own time, free of the obligation to blend in and pretend that I belong when I know for certain I do not. This is how I ended up here, alone in the sun on a Tuesday morning. I love everything about this life I’ve created… and yet I still resist living it. I tell myself that I relax plenty, but do I? I tell myself I get a lot done for my business, but do I? I’m often disoriented by the question “Am I doing enough?” 

It lingers and looms because I could always be doing more. I could do tomorrow’s work today if I really wanted to move fast… but what for? Why be a day “ahead”? What if something beautiful is supposed to fill that space today? What if living is supposed to fill that space, and that’s enough? 

I find myself endlessly curious about the wonder and adventure that could fill the space. I am always tempted to fill it with responsibilities but I know that the perpetual cyle and looming questions will never end this way. I know I’m feeding the monster inside me, allowing it to grow stronger so it can someday rob me of the ability to feel content even when I’ve reached the “end goal.” I don’t want to rush my life away. I don’t want to look back in regret. I don’t want to be controlled by this monster who is never satisfied anyway… so I starve it. 

I move the deadlines back. I under commit instead of over commit. I recognize the blank space on my calendar and fill it with “enjoy” instead of “miscellaneous tasks.” I prioritize my enjoyment blocks equal to those allotted for meetings and TV time in the evenings. I unwind first instead of last. 

I’m always practicing detaching from the ideas and opinions of others and it’s an uncomfortable strain, like flexing a muscle, but I notice myself getting stronger. I expected to become happier, but I never expected to move at the velocity I do now.  

In the blank space I glide. I am free to discover, dream and dance with possibility. Fear and anxiety don’t come with me into the blank space because they have no interest in the things I do here. My fear and anxiety don’t know how to interact with sky gazing, roller blading, kitchen dance parties and deep conversations over iced coffee, so they hang back inside the productive spaces, eager for my return. I had no idea how heavy and distracting they were until I left them behind. 

In the blank space solutions rest in the corners of the room like pastel Easter eggs being hunted. In the filled spaces they are more like lost items hiding in drawers and cabinets all over the house. I pick up the sweet little eggs and crack them open, delighted by the simplicity I find inside. 

In the blank space my eyes are calibrated to recognize resources and helping hands. They greet me with a smile and ask how they can be of assistance. I invite them to join me in the productive spaces and their insights and connections help me achieve exponentially more than I could have on my own. 

In the blank space I am a nurturing mother to my own ideas. I do not hush them when they speak up because I have the space to listen with curiosity. I ask questions and give them my full attention so they feel safe enough to keep growing and sharing. As they do I begin plotting, taking notes and allowing logic to come underneath the intuition to begin building it up. What we build stretches miles higher than what I was going to build with my miscellaneous task list. 

In the blank space we are able to see shortcuts; secret pathways to our desires. They will always look foreign and require blind trust because most of the time we do not see anyone else taking this path. It is only for the brave, the adventure seekers who have built a tolerance for uncertainty. These secret shortcuts are like Narnia or Alice’s Wonderland, not only will they take you to a new world, but the adventure itself will make life more worth living.

Maybe I know what you’re thinking, “But productive, mundane tasks must get done too.” You’re correct, of course, because they are indeed part of what keeps the wheels in the machine turning. This is exactly the magic I’ve discovered through living in the blank space: what needs to get done always gets done in the in between. Somehow, the blank space does not take time… but expands it. One hour a day stretches and spreads its legs into the other twenty three. It is wondrous, how many minutes of the day we believe we are utilizing when we’re racing against the clock. When we slow down, our stress stops compressing the minutes and we do what we need to do from a spacious place of willingness instead of obligation. 

I know the allowing more blank space feels like a risk, but risk taking is a skill you were born with and this is the most worthy way to use it. In a culture that tells us it is admirable to be busy, stressed and pressed for time… be brave enough to believe that it is more admirable to relax into a life worth living. Let’s rebel by living in the blank space. 


Cheers to life

– Kari