Creating Space

We dislike space in our lives. It feels unnatural and we equate it to stagnancy. We wonder what to do with space, how to reconfigure it, make it different than it appears. We rush to fill it: with the next relationship; the next job; with the fraudulent bustle of technology. But space happens and it happens with a purpose.

Say your five-year relationship dissolves over the course of several months. Say that it definitively ends and you must move on, move out, and start again. During the decline and transformation of your relationship, the phasing out towards the end, you concentrate fully on this process. This transformation consumes you because transformations are meant to.

Then you’ve moved out. You’ve found a new place, and now have time. You fill your time with the essential things you need to do to survive but you are no longer consumed by your transformation. You are on the other side, and it is quiet. This is the other side of change, the settling land where you are meant to process.

This is the land of space. It is the space created by large transformation. Just as an Ice Age glacier carved out a cavernous valley over geologic time, your gargantuan transformation has carved out a new landscape for you. The subtle forces of change which allowed this transformation to emerge, those changes which allow the transformation to plow forward unremittingly, are the selfsame, necessary changes which break down walls and open up the vista. Once the space is created, it would be unnatural to fill it rapidly.

What does one do then with space? Rushing to fill it isn’t the answer. Sitting in it is. When the new valley is created, stop and take the time to assess what has been destroyed and what has emerged from the destruction. Perhaps it is a glorious new passage through a mountain, one where in time a powerful river will flow through. But for now notice the emptiness, the scraping down of the sides, the detailed carving out of the walls. Ask yourself how this passage came to be, why did it occur and what does it presage? Do not over analyze the creation of space; just appreciate that it had to come, the winds of change dictated it so, and that it emerged to give room to new possibilities.

Space is crucial. It is the quiet after the transformative tumult, the trauma or the boon. It is the aftermath moment of truth when you are alone with yourself and your thoughts. It is that instant when you begin to understand why what happened to you did, and how you contributed or didn’t, and how its evolution transformed you. Space is beautiful, an entity of its own, like the vast universe. There should be no rush to fill it up. It should simply be savored.

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Monisha Pujari

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    Monisha Pujari is a practicing palliative care physician.

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