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  • Writer's pictureJonda Beattie

The Importance of Open Space

When something is full to the brim, there is no room for anything new. There is no room to navigate.

If your bookcase is so full that books fill every space, maybe even books on top of books, then it leaves no room for new books. It makes it difficult to find a special book that you are looking for.

If your files are so full that it is hard to put one more paper into the file, then it is difficult to look through the files to find that one important paper. It becomes necessary to pull the entire file folder, look for the paper, then stuff that file folder back into the file drawer.

If your pantry is so full that it has lost it’s organization and after shopping you struggle to put in that one more can, then you lose sight of what is lurking in the back of the pantry. You repurchase items you already have. Items will stay past their “use by” date and eventually will need to be tossed unused.

If your calendar is so full that at the end of the day you have not completed the tasks you had planned on doing or you have missed a meeting or event because so much was written in that you overlooked it, then the calendar stops being a friendly tool and becomes something that is too frustrating to navigate.

When things are too overcrowded life becomes messy. The mess creates a high stress level. For me, this means I become exhausted and tend to shut down.

Sometimes we don’t even realize what is going on. Last weekend is a great example for me. My husband’s sons were visiting, and I wanted the perfect meals for them. I wanted him to have the maximum visiting time with them, so I took on some tasks solo that we usually do together. The work week before had been packed so I went into the weekend already a bit tired. I gave a presentation at our church for both services on Sunday. Sunday night I congratulated myself that I had done it all. Yeah, me! I was exhausted but I had done it all.

My husband is in a medical trial that causes us to spend a lot of time at the hospital for procedures and tests. Monday morning, we got up early and left for the hospital at 7:00 am. Things did not go smoothly. The medical team threw in an extra test that we had not planned on. This added about 2 hours to our already long day. I miscalculated as to when to give my husband his pain medicine and then I stressed out that it would not be at it’s optimum when the painful procedure of injecting the medicine was finally done. I became bitchy. I cried. Now, normally I would have just done a few big sighs and gone with the “whatever”. But I had not left space in my calendar to center myself. There had been no breathing room. I was used up. It caused me to have a meltdown over something that was totally not that important. 

This reminded me of the importance of leaving space. I share this as a reminder for us all.

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