It has always interested me to realize that space, or spaciousness, is most often present and needed in the most compact of circumstances.
I’m thinking of the spaciousness in the above photo, that I took in Canada’s Rockies last summer, is what creates my allure.
I’m thinking of the way that human beings crash in conflict, completely stale-mated and entrenched to defend territory of the outer and of the inner, when what’s needed is a moment of silence and no words. Or a walk by the river.
I’m thinking of the way that our human bodies participate in an illusion to appear as mostly substance, when in fact, we are mostly water. And further, how that water colludes to appears as mostly substance, but is in fact, mostly molecular space. The space creates the substance.
I’m thinking of the way that in contemporary western culture, the left brain is so often validated and privileged over the right brain, imposing linearity and rationality as preferred forms of common sense, when it is so often intuition, creative thinking, and the subconscious that change the game. Right brain knows its presence is needed, even if quietly.
I’m thinking of Judy Sorum Brown’s poem about fire, and her awareness that fire, which dramatically evolved who we are as humans, requires space. She say, “What makes a fire burn is space between the logs, a breathing space. Too much of a good thing, too many logs packed in too tight can douse the flames almost as surely as a pail of water would. So building fires requires attention to the spaces in between, as much as to the wood.”
I’m thinking of how the imposed speed of life these days in the 21st century, has taught many of us to squeeze out spaciousness and pause, just to keep up or keep from falling further behind. We wring contemporary life of its last drops of spaciousness, just as we would a wet cloth of it’s last drop of moisture.
I’m aware that many of us teach what we most need to learn. I teach a fair amount on the importance of a pause. Or a break. Or a long lunch. Or time to turn away to let good ideas settle. Or time to welcome the less obvious to blossom into the morning sun. Spaciousness continues to be one of my key teachers.
Just as water was teacher to American author Norman Maclean, writing about what he learned of family and unfolding life in 20th century Missoula, Montana in the closing of his beautiful book, A River Runs Through It, “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.”
I am haunted by spaciousness.