Summer and White Spaces

Peonies blossom this May in our backyard. 2012.

Some days I’m just too task-driven.  I look at my “to do” list and begin to push through one task after another, no break, no rest, just striving to finish each and every task.  Feeling stressed and hurried, I push through my chores:  make a phone call, check emails, write emails, stop at the store, write a check, call in an order, go to an appointment, call for another appointment.  In almost robotic style, I’m on to the next thing, pushing externally—and internally—to get it all done in good time.

Yet I don’t perform this litany of tasks well.  It’s not a lifestyle I enjoy.  My nature prefers to slow down and reflect awhile before taking on the next necessary chore.  My task-drivenness leads to an inner sense of fragmentation and exhaustion, and my spirit longs for quiet in-between time.  In fact, one of my favorite moments of any day is to sit by the cracked-open east window of my home and simply take in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature.  In these moments, I sense a deep inner connection that I experience as transcendent, reflective, and exhilarating.  I am filled with gratitude.

A long time ago I learned that a well-designed publication—newspaper, magazine, or web design—needs white spaces.  White spaces make a cleaner, clearer page.  White spaces make a focused, attractive presentation.  White spaces make the printed page more readable and presentable.  In short, white spaces serve an important—and necessary—purpose.

I would do well to learn from this concept.  I feel better, and function more fully, when I include the white spaces of rest, retreat, and recreation in my day.  Reading for enjoyment, sitting by a window, delighting in a cup of tea, meditating, writing in my journal, or  playing a game all provide white spaces and serve an important—and necessary—purpose.   They provide an opportunity for deepening awareness into the gift of each present moment.  

As summer begins, I want to make room for white spaces by slowing down, taking time, and savoring the gifts of summer.  Simply slow down…take time…savor. 

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