As I recently moved to a new place (again) I was reminded (again) that I had too much stuff. As I donated box after box I felt lighter and lighter. Putting my clothes away last night I, for the first time in years, didn't feel the underlying annoyance of cramming clothes in drawers. I simply placed by shirts, neatly folded, into the drawer and closed it. I had it. I finally had space.
I had space to put the new shirts for my organization away in my closet. I had space to store my artwork in the small storage by the door. I had space to display some of my favorite antiques from my mother’s house. I had space. And it was wonderful.
We all crave space. We crave it when we're overwhelmed, when we're sad, when we're overcome with joy, and when we’re in pain. When I'm suffering on my yoga mat (which is just about any time I'm on my yoga mat), my instructor reminds me to breathe, to create space between my ribs and belly and heart. That space is necessary to breathe through the pain.
The same with running. My best running always occurs in the mountains, along the cornfields, or among cacti in the open desert - places with miles and miles of space. There’s no space on a treadmill or a crowded city streets. I can still run there, but it’s not the same. Even with the endorphins, it often leaves me with more craving than contentment.
But it's nothing. Space is literally nothing. We crave nothing. Without it we can’t breathe. We can't think. And we certainly can't move. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to find or create space today. Somewhere, through I don’t know what, we’ve learned to associate wants and needs with “things” either tangible or intangible. I want new running shoes, I need a loving relationship, I need food and water. While all of these things are fine, even healthy desires or necessities, they’re still tangible items. We’re conditioned to think of needs as “things,” not the absence of them. Sometimes we need nothing.
Space is craved, but we so rarely make it an effort to create it. I am guilty of craving without creating. I pack so much into each second of each day. I can't stand inefficiencies, wasted time, waiting in line, waiting on others. I'm always going to feel this way. But I often confuse space with wasted space. Wasted space is inefficient. Space is critical.
My frustration with waiting comes from some inherent narcissistic idea that the world revolves around me. I’m upset when others’ plans interfere with my own, when their schedules don’t accommodate my own color-coded perfectly designed day. But maybe this is the universe’s way of both reminding me of my small place in a large tapestry and giving me space, against my will but when I most desperately need it.
What’s that saying, take five minutes to clear your head every day, and when you have too many things to do, take 10? Something like that. Space is like that. When you feel like you have no time to carve out space, that’s when you need it the most.
In yoga we also learn that we all hold a space within ourselves, a place of stillness and grace. This space is always available to us - among the quiet or the catastrophe, between the mundane and the magnificent. It’s our place of love, truth, light, and peace.
Space is free and accessible to all. It’s one of the very few things that is, and it’s time we start appreciating it. It’s time we start creating it instead of simply craving it, or worse ignoring our cravings. We need to start looking at space not as a luxury, but a necessity, required for success, required for happiness. It’s time to understand that we can move through pain, accomplish any task, go as far as we want if we just have the space to do it.
Sign up for Hoppy Yoga at Mission Brewery here: http://www.hoppyyoga.com