White Space

June 28, 2010

A good friend is moving. They’re in the midst of dumping stuff. Getting rid of the things that they don’t need.

Charlie and I are constantly in the mode of getting rid of stuff. So, this notion of dumping stuff resonated with me. Getting rid of what you don’t need. Not only the physical stuff. But, the psychological stuff. The spiritual stuff- notions about God that don’t really reflect who He really is. Dump it. The activities that don’t really honor your values. Take it off your shoulders. It just makes the backpack heavier.

So, there’s the choosing to be unencumbered part. But, then there’s the part about the white space that’s left. I am always so tempted to fill my white space with stuff. Whether it’s my walls, or my environment, or my time. Sit with the white space. Sit with the silence. Allow your thoughts to bounce inside your head during a walk, instead of listening to James Taylor like I do. Sit with the boredom.

Feel the spaces between the words.
Feel the space that is left after the happy meal toys go away.
Space to be bored (a gift).
Space to create.
Space to think.
Space to be.

Space that leads us to contemplate the gulf that exists between the silence and the white space- and the buzz in our heads that we can’t make shut up. Until we sit with the white space, we don’t even realize the buzz. Don’t even realize that our synapses are firing too quickly- that we find it difficult to silence the chatter.

It takes a massage to realize that we’ve been tense. We’re so used to having our shoulders up by our ears that we forget what it’s like to drop our shoulders. To be relaxed.

I think purging our stuff does a something similar. Feel the space that it leaves. And just leave the space blank for a while. Feel the white space- and see where the boredom and emptiness and stillness leads us.

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3 Responses to “White Space”


  1. […] Recent Resonations Posted on August 26, 2010 by John Poelstra| Leave a comment White Space by Robin Johnson-Simpson–Looking forward to a week of white space at a cabin on a lake […]

    • Robin Johnson Simpson Says:

      John, thanks so much for posting this. It’s wonderful. Challenging on so many levels. For now, still trying to make the white space in my house.


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