No matter how many times I visit New World Cafe and order my coffee black, whoever is working behind the counter will always ask the same thing…”Do you need room?”
In case you’re not a big coffee or tea drinker, they are talking about leaving room for cream…
Normally, I politely say, ‘No thanks’ and move on about my day, but this past weekend I began to reflect on the idea of leaving room. I am not talking about in my coffee cup (I need as much caffeinated bean water as I can get!), but as it relates to holding space.
You see, I have a hard time holding space in my life.
Just like with my coffee cup, I’m quick to utilize any open space that is available to me. Whether it’s on my calendar, in my house, or in my life I am constantly filling ‘space’ with activities, with people, with obligations, with THINGS. It’s as if I’m enchanted with the idea of fulfillment; like busyness and consumerism somehow indicate my worth. I know that more doesn’t always mean better, yet I have a hard time with unused capacity. It’s like my parents and their parents and their parents’ parents have all said, “Waste not, want not.”
Unused capacity, in the business world at least, is synonymous with waste. If you’re paying rent, but not making money, you’re losing profit…which is bad, right? Of course it is…nobody wants to lose money! But we aren’t talking about money. We are talking about life.
Life is about experiences and opportunities…
it’s a spectrum of actions and reactions that ripple out into the universe. Things happen, and for better or worse, they cause other things to happen. I like to think that it’s all connected in some way, but regardless it is easy to accept that life is a series of situations that happen to and because of the decisions we make.
Sometimes good things happen, and sometimes bad things happen, but we can be sure, no matter what, that things will happen in life. And when they happen, we can choose how we react to them. This is important! I have no idea who should be credited the following quote (so if you do, speak up) but it is so relevant right now:
Have you ever heard someone say they were in the ‘right place at the right time’?
This concept is born from holding space. We can only be in one place at one time. If we choose to pursue one opportunity, it is often at the cost of another. Being in the right place at the right time is when a person is able to create space to embrace an opportunity exactly when they need to. We are not mind-readers which is why serendipity is so significant.
I was recently faced with a difficult decision, one that fed right into my “fill-er-up” tendencies…
I found myself in a complex situation where I realized an opportunity, one I was very passionate about pursuing, was coming to an end. If I am being totally honest, I was not ready for it to end. I was emotional and conflicted. I could stay with it try to hold the pieces together, or I could let it go. My MO is always to stay, to keep the space full and continue working it until my only option is to admit defeat. Just as no one likes to lose money, nobody likes to throw in the towel either.
After fretting about what I would lose and how people would appraise my decision and what I did to set things on a downward trajectory, I had to get a grip on my emotions and remember the truth. Not every relationship and/or situation is meant to be. If I continue holding on to a floundering one, would I possibly miss out on something more fruitful?
I decided to let go of what wasn’t serving me and hold space for something new.
I feel a little brave as I jump into the unknown. I can be grateful for an opportunity that didn’t work out. The fact that it did not work out is just life, it doesn’t mean I am a failure. I still learned something. I still experienced things that I will take with me into the next venture.
The idea of having nothing to fill the empty space is unsettling, but I realize I can see it a different way. Empty space can be very exciting…like a brand new apartment, or an unexpected day off, or interviewing for a brand new job. Not knowing encourages optimism, idealization, and inspiration. We can try new things, reinvent ourselves, learn from our mistakes and begin anew.
Every now and then, we need a clean slate.
We need to take out the garbage, clean the house and prepare for something new. We may not know what that new something will be, but we can leave some room and hope for the best.