11 Feb Allowing Space
“There comes a time in your life when you focus on what you believe is right, regardless of what everybody else is doing.” – A. McQueen
People get me fired up. I love interactions, time spent with another being. Whether learning from them or having the shoe on the other foot, encounters are always special; of course, if you allow it. Since taking a look at my social media usage early this year and deleting anything I did not deem “useful to my goals or day to day life”, I have been able to function far better in social situations, and more annoyingly, view social situations from the outside, without the use of social media taking away from the special potential held in each encounter.
I allowed myself space.
Initially it was a very strange feeling, a feeling of missing out. But then I asked, missing out on what? Seeing a fleeting 10-second clip on a friend I met just that same morning and ended up not talking to because we were both too busy sending snaps to others, not with us. Ironic. What we were really missing out on is right in front of us, and real.
The concept of allowing space is now something I try to apply to my life in general. I often get asked the question;
“how do you travel and live like you do?”
A difficult question to answer, because it’s simply what I have chosen to do. I prioritised missing out and embraced it. I threw away the notion of doing what I thought I had to, and simply did what I thought I wanted to. Drinking, partying, buying fancy new clothes, gadgets, cars etc. was not an interest. I filled my last few years with travel, new people, couch surfing, experiences, languages, and movement. I’m happy. I’m alive.
Anyway, this blog is not meant to be about me. I wanted to explore further the concept of allowing space as I feel like it applies to all areas of general life.
Modern life is a funny one. Technology runs wild. It helps us in unimaginable ways, yet hinders us just the same. We live on-demand lives, driven by the very technology designed to make it easy. Ironic that this very technology doesn’t come with a guide to efficient and effective usage. The constant stimuli that our bodies are exposed to are quite unfathomable, especially in comparison to life just 50 years prior. With all of this busyness, it gets very easy to become caught up in it all. Not to mention the confusion with regard to social acceptance, image, and marketing.
Of course, this is only based upon my own thoughts and experiences. This is where I see allowing space to be relevant. Both in personal relationships and social gatherings. I can see it helping with mental and physical acts. Motivations, goals, thoughts, and feelings. Basically any sensory experience.
I have noticed that we rarely take a second, stop and reflect. We view an action as progress. Frustratingly, some don’t view anything and simply act on autopilot. We never give ourselves permission to simplify, to slow down, to get rid of the unnecessary. Allowing space cuts through the chaos. Information is power, yet like water, too much can kill. Having the willingness to allow space may help to break this overwhelming sensory cloud that shrouds our lives.
This topic is well suited to a stillness practice, such as meditation. However, it is also suited to a physical practice, such as movement. Let me try to explain further:
Concentration, Clarity, Calmness. Three pillars of a stillness practice. For more information, seek experts in the field. A book I have found particularly helpful is The science of Enlightenment by Shinzen Young.
Skill acquisition – To learn new skills takes time, effort and an awesome amount of dedication. However, I have found that using concentration of details, exacting feelings and reflecting upon each and every repetition, combined with a clear motivation make the process a lot stronger. They give space for learning. Myelination if you will. Concentration and clarity in each rep, mental imagery, and reflection.
Community and relatedness – Another way that allowing space can become useful is when training with a community. How can you breed strong and meaningful connections if you are too busy rushing through whatever it is you are set to do. Take a step back, learn from others, help others, laugh, love.
Flow – Suggested being the secret to happiness. The feeling when nothing else matters. To be completely absorbed in a task or activity breeds high levels of creativity and intrinsic motivation via positive feedback. Personally, I have found the most easily achievable state of flow to be when chasing goals or activities that scare the sh*t out of me. Fear is where the gold is – Ido Portal.
2017 was an awesome year. How will you make 2018 better? What adventures will you have? What movements will you seek? How far will you grow? Allow yourself some space, and value the beautiful connections you encounter. Much love!