If you’re familiar with art and design terminology, white space is a compositional element where the artist chooses to leave a portion of the page unmarked. Wikipedia says that white space shouldn’t be “considered merely ‘blank space’- it’s an important element of design which enables the objects in it to exist at all.” I intentionally use white space in my work all of the time: it gives the objects within the image a special sense of importance, scale, and interest. However, I’m not very good at creating white space in my life. I know it’s important to leave room around the edges, but for some reason I like my schedule to be full to the point of exploding and I feel like I’m wasting my life if I’m not constantly doing something productive. If my life over the past several years were a website, it’d be one of those geocities websites with a tiled background, packed to the brim with animated .gifs of flaming text and shiny objects.
(Anyone know what I’m talking about? …Anyone?)
To be completely honest, sometimes I make myself so busy that I no longer feel productive. Instead, I feel like my mind is going a thousand miles a minute and when I want to stop working at the end of the day, I just can’t. I have to be doing SOMETHING, and usually I pick something incredibly insignificant to fill my time with. In the end, this just ends up making my mind feel more cluttered.
Sometimes we need to just. stop. Just make more room for the white space. Sometimes the most productive thing we can do is be quiet. Still. Wait. Listen. Be with those we love and not feel pressured to make progress.
Because it’s the white space that enables the objects in our life to exist at all.