Empty Fullness

In the pursuit of many endeavors and goals, it is easy to be caught up in the act of chasing what excites you. Adrenaline rushes in, and you tell yourself you can take on a new book right now and knock out a blog post this week and start a new friendship and kick off that initiative at work you’ve been dying to find significant chunks of time for.  But then you look at that list and realize that 1) many of your goals are not related to each other, 2) you are just one person and unable to do it all – at least do it all well, and 3) you’ve lost some of the energy and joy in the pursuit.

In the midst of trying to parallel path multiple goals, stress levels rise and I find myself retreating to comfortable and known pockets of solace. When inspiration lacks, I default to distractions that take me somewhere else. Instead of reading a novel I haven’t yet read, I revisit something I am already familiar with. “Have you seen that new show on Netflix?” Nope, decided to rewatch 30 Rock instead. (But let’s be honest, that is a good decision no matter how life is going.) 

All this has left me feeling quite busy and with full to-do lists, but simultaneously disconnected from my world and empty. More isn’t always better.

What’s so hard about where I feel I’m at right now is that I have very honest and heartfelt aspirations for everything I’m involved with now or in what I’d like to also take on, but I lack sufficient space to let any of them grow into what they can be. There isn’t enough room between them all in the garden. I need that negative space not just between my people time, but also in between everything else. Leaving breathing space is important, even critical for me. Any one thing in my life, from a book to writing to even making a new friend, requires the room on all sides of it to let it expand and let me internally explore and absorb it more fully.

Do fewer things better. Chase less, but what I do chase, I must chase with all my heart. Be more selective but savor those choices.  

  • Tom Howard

    Ah, the value of silence and retreat, an ancient rhythm. It took this extrovert nearly 60 years to appreciate this. The beginning of understanding the need for less, not more.