So, I have this filing cabinet at work. There’s one section that I use every day. I have a set of files that have fit nicely for quite a while in an extra deep, reinforced hanging file folder. Until this week.
I noticed that the space between the file folders was getting tight and that it was a bit of a struggle to pull one out and put it back. This hanging file folder was the containment area for this group of files – where they belonged - so I carried on. However, it had become apparent that over time more files had been added and more papers added to the existing files.
Why was I struggling with this tight space? The contents had been growing ever so slowly day by day that I hadn’t noticed the increased tension in this section of files. It was like a habit; a piece of my environment that I just accepted and didn’t think much about.
The other day I decided to divide these folders into two hanging file folders to spread them out. Such a simple move. Yes, I needed to rearrange some other files, recycle or otherwise dispose of old ones, but sure enough, they spread out well and there was so much more room to move – room to breathe. It became clear what a metaphor this creation of space was.
How often do we see this tension in our daily lives? Tension slowly builds in many areas that we hardly even notice, until one day we feel the tightness, the discomfort. And what do we do about it?
Some of us keep plugging along, just dealing with the tightness and pressure. Some of us commiserate with others. Some of us move things around to make more space to breathe, for things to grow, and for room to move more freely.
Creating space applies to all areas of our lives. Maybe it’s the small space in a filing cabinet that eases movement and increases productivity. Maybe it’s spacing out more time in our day to breathe and move about less frantically. Maybe it’s creating physical space by stretching or moving in our yoga practice or other physical activity to keep our bodies flexible and healthy. Maybe it’s physical geographic space needed between us and certain individuals or locations that have come to feel toxic. Maybe it’s space between an event and our response so that we give ourselves time to think before we act.
Whatever the case, creating space makes us feel better. Less tension. More literal and figurative breathing room. More ease. Inevitably, we may need to move or remove various items or emotional energy to produce that space. Finding the right balance between effort and ease – that’s the goal of balance. And balance requires constant adjustment. We don’t really find balance – we maintain it by creating space in those life areas that need it.
Embrace the space. Maintain the balance. Spread the joy.