When I simply let go and allow for empty space to be just that - empty space, I am giving my humanness a much needed rest from the demands I make of it on a daily basis. I am stepping, however temporarily, outside the confinements of all the expectations I heap onto life and myself.
What is empty space? Empty space is the unknown. It is where uncertainty and lack of security live.
When I speak of “my humanness”, I speak of the part of myself that I give voice to all too often; my desire to control and always show up in a certain way; my need to be something to someone or have my existence defined and validated by some person, place or thing. I speak of the need to have every second, every breath count and have purpose; of every thought to have meaning. Basically, I am speaking very specifically of my ego.
Sitting with Discomfort
Rarely do I let myself exist in the weightlessness of empty space. It feels foreign and uncomfortable. Letting go in those moments when I desperately want to matter, to be validated in some way by external sources or to have something, anything happen is a way of admitting to my inner most self that this is not a time for me to exert control; that I do not always have to have the answer; that in this moment, I need to be okay with simply existing. It reeks of vulnerability.
Getting comfortable in this space takes time. The amount of time depends wholly on how much of yourself you’re willing to dedicate to it. How curious and honest are you willing to be in regards to this? It takes practice and it takes willingness to move through a fear of failure defined by our own perception or fear of the unknown. My experience with the process of learning to let go has taught me that it happens in phases and that opportunities to challenge my own sense of what I believe should be versus what actually is are everywhere should I choose to see them. My willingness to let go relates directly to my ability to accept what is happening around me and the acknowledgement that I absolutely have control, not over those external happenings, but of my response - how to respond or whether to respond at all.
The Art of Doing Nothing
The hardest choices I have ever had to make have been in times where the best choice was the choice to do nothing, to wait, to trust. Terrifying. Anxiety inducing. In the beginning, the aversion to “sitting on my hands” was so strong, I acted mostly without thought and 100% out of emotion. The result of those actions usually led to more anxiety. And so I began a practice of what I like to call “living in the pause”. This does not mean I sit in a dark room waiting for life to pass me by. It does not mean that I make no decisions at all in hope that the universe will take care of everything. It means I redirect my attention and I focus on something else. I focus on what I do have control over; getting up in the morning and showering, going to work, spending time with loved ones, paying my bills on time, loving myself. Essentially, putting one foot in front of the other. Keep it simple. With time and with practice (let’s all take a moment to acknowledge how absolutely difficult the process of putting practice into place is), it gets easier. The weightlessness starts to feel less daunting and more comforting. We begin to fear it less and soon begin to have a shift in perspective that brings about the desire to seek this weightlessness out. Living in the pause becomes a useful tool.
When it comes to getting comfortable in the weightlessness of empty space, one might ask “how do I do this? How do I trust that this process will work? Will I be okay if it doesn’t?” My advice would be to seek out those who already model this practice in some way shape or form. Breathe. Deeply. Ask questions. Be willing to try new things. Find a way to be okay with being uncomfortable while you find what works for you. Lean on your support system. Have a support system.
As far as whether or not you’ll be okay? That’s actually quite simple - you’re still among the living, which means that you’ve survived 100% of the challenges life has thrown at you thus far. This doesn’t mean you’re invincible. It doesn’t mean you’ve emerged scot-free. I’m sure you’ve got some mental, emotional and even physical scars. What it does mean is that even if you try this and it doesn’t work for you, chances are you’re going to be okay. I fully trust and believe that if you try and you keep at it, you’ll soon find yourself trusting more and fearing less. The challenge is that you actually need to believe it too.
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