Buzz. Ding. Ping. Ring. These are the noises of our modern-day life. We are bombarded with sound everywhere we go.
We can blame our circumstances for making us busy, but it is really we who are choosing to be overcommitted. I remember a conversation when I was still living in Los Angeles where someone was actually complaining because she had too many parties to go to that day. I began to wonder who was making her go to all those parties but her. Shouldn’t parties be fun?
We see a blank space in our calendar and we think we can run one more errand, send one more email, stream one more episode of Game of Thrones. If there’s a cancellation, we tend to fill it. Our brains are already so overcrowded, that we avoid those empty spaces, that silence, that magical in-between time.
I’m not talking about the need to do something big like an entire day of silent retreat, or a month off of Facebook. I’m talking about taking pauses when they happen. Sit and pet your dog for a few minutes. Go outside and listen to the sound of the wind in the trees. Spend a little time with nothing, and with nowhere to get to.
When we can quiet all of that noise, we can begin to enjoy what web developer and minimalist writer Brian Gardner calls the “white space.” Usually known as a design feature of minimalist architecture, or in keeping enough spacing in graphic design or websites so the eye has a chance to rest between elements on the page, we can create that same white space in our lives. Let the nothingness just be. Let yourself just be present. Be in the white space.