Digging Out the Space

I want to share this inspiring email from a blog reader:

"What you wrote about space being a thing is really sinking in. I'm going to try enjoying the empty space where the buffet that I let go of used to be. I didn't use the stuff I had in the buffet - so I took it to the charity today. I think I can use the space to just enjoy the sunlight in my room."

Space itself is an amazing thing. It's there, amidst the stuff in our homes. But it goes unnoticed. When clutter is removed from the space, the space itself starts to shine. The space is beneficial because its presence benefits us.

I was working with a client recently whose bedroom was jam-packed with stuff. Every possible open space was filled with something. She was so jittery in this room. I was thinking that it was like she was on coffee and speed, and that she had gotten used to living this way. I was also thinking it wasn't her fault. We're encouraged to fill all of our attention with something "attractive, exciting, and interesting." The thing is, we get used to things quickly and the effect wears off, so we add something new. Eventually we end up with over-stuffed rooms that we can't relax in because there is no open space to soothe us.

The first item my client and I approached was a big round table whose entire surface was filled with crap. We went through each item and most went. Then we were left with the table. I asked her to feel the presence of the table of the room. I said, "Imagine the table is an animal. Does it feel friendly enough to pet, or do you feel the need to beware?" (I know, that's a pretty wacky question. But questions like that help the person feel rather than think.) She said, "It feels like it will eat me when I go to sleep tonight." We took the table out to the alley behind her home.

When we came back in, I asked her to notice the open space. She said, "It feels like I'm meditating...This is so nice. I want more of this."