Every designer knows and values the power of white space. White space is the empty space between and around the elements on a page. It's the space with nothing in it. Although white space is made of nothing, it isn't meaningless. White space increases focus, brings more clarity and helps the important ideas on the page stand out.
White space works the same way in your world too. White space creates a context to experience the movement and meaning of your experiences. BIG Shifts, especially, are an intense training ground in which you are invited to let go of the noise and static in your world and bring in the white space.
White space is the space between your loads and your limits. It is one of the secret ingredients to go from struggling to succeeding.
So, if your BIG Shift has you feeling depleted, stressed, frustrated, and pulled in every direction, it's probably time to add in lots more white space. You'll know you're ready for it if you're experiencing:
How much white space do you need? It varies. Sometimes you need more white space in your life than you require at other times. Thresholds aren’t easily measured. But becoming aware that you need white space can help you find your own bandwidth.
Ready to add white space to your adventure? Try out my ACE formula:
Announce. Let people know. Once you tell your clients and colleagues, family and friends, it is now a commitment. By letting others know about your revised schedule and availability, you are actually helping them support you on your white space intention.
Calendar. Put it in your schedule, electronic or paper. If it's in the schedule, it's in. It's easy to let the hours blend together, but when you have specific time set aside for being in the ‘nowhere to go, nothing to do' space it's bound to occur. Even better? Treat it ALL like white space and determine the times throughout the week when you ARE available, for the other stuff.
Enforce. You've got to stick to it. No flimsy boundaries here. One of the best ways to ‘enforce' it is to change environments so that you are unavailable. When you take time off, disconnect. It's in the full commitment to the white space that the magic occurs.
Here are some ways you can incorporate more white space into your day to day adventure:
1. Lighten your load. Streamline down to the bare essentials. Give your attention to what is absolutely necessary. Pare back your schedule, take more time off. Make sure that you take a “day of rest.” Plan something that rejuvenates and nourishes you – a massage, bubble bath, relaxing music, or losing yourself in a good book.
2. Take white space breaks. Slow down and reconnect to yourself. Start and end your day with five minutes of pure white space. Between appointments, instead of a quick email check, take 2-5 minutes for white space. Use the time spent drying your hair or preparing a meal, and bring a white space intention to it. Connect with your body, your breath, or a part of nature. Try Calm, a free application that provides a meditative moment. It's also available on your IPhone. This will help you click into a white space frame of mind.
3. Create white space in your home. Use colors that invite ease and openness. Declutter your space, clear up countertops and surfaces, even walls and furniture. Creating a “white space” in your home can help make your home more relaxing, more comfortable and more yours.
4. Cut down on the noise. It might be the noise in your inbox, or from well meaning relatives and friends or even shutting off the radio while your driving and playing some soothing tunes. Feel into the places where there's static and bring in some space.
Creating consistent white space is, at first, a practice. Eventually, it becomes your way of being. If you give yourself permission to relax you will find that you can create a lot out of nothing. White space anyone? Let me know how you create white space in your world in the comments below.
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You care for your home.
You care for your clothing.
You care for your car.
You care for your children.
You care for your work.
You care for your investments.
If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?
Luckily it's not really hard to tap into the essentials. Here are the 5 primary elements that will power up the energy for your BIG Shifts, in order of importance:
1. Breath is one of the most profound and direct ways you have of changing or fine-tuning your chemical and biological state. Each breath contains life-force (energy, ki. chi, prana, etc.) and it can be increased through your awareness. Breath not only connects you to your center, it connects you to ‘All That Is'. Take in liberal doses!
2. Water was your initial environment before birth. Three quarters of your body is made from it and your digestion and metabolism depend on it. Evolution has shifted the ocean outside of you to within your tissues — salt water is the internal medium in which materials are transported around the body. Your brain is over 70% water, your blood 60% and your bones 30%. It is required for assimilation of nutrients and elimination of waste. Water also conducts electricity, a form of energy. Your available energy is enhanced when you are hydrated. Drink up!
3. Food. The quality of your food impacts the quality of your energy. Eat fresh, organic, locally grown food. Too much refined and processed food robs the body of vital nutrients and increases your intake of fat, sugar, chemicals and additives. Eat more vegetables and less animal products. Eating fresh fruit and raw salads each day increases your fiber and reduces your salt intake, helps to optimize absorption of protein and ensures a rich supply of cancer-busting phytochemicals — substances only found in plant foods. This will awaken your body's intelligence. Eat intuitively!
4. Movement. Exercise increases oxygen in your blood, boosts metabolism and pumps up circulation. You've got a body, it thrives on movement. If you don't care for traditional workouts find movement that you enjoy: walking, dancing, yoga, zumba. There are an infinite number of ways that you can BE in your body. Find the movement that fires you up and engage in it regularly. One of my favorites is dancing between calls. Move it!
5. Rest. The quality of your rest – whether it's sleep, meditation or mindfulness – directly impacts your ability to restore. Your body requires deep, sound, uninterrupted sleep to be at its energetic best. Establish a routine for bedtime: take a warm bath, drink chamomile tea, meditate, etc. Be conscious of things that may contribute to unrest such as violent films, books or electronic devices. Design your sleep space to induce a relaxed, peaceful state: use a water fountain, an alarm clock with sounds of nature or gentle chimes, delicious comforters, scents that are calming.
Tweaking the physical factors that influence your energy will expand your bandwidth of energetic availability and your ability to navigate the big shifts. Fine tune yours today!