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Making space

I recently read of someone who had a tattoo that looks like this; [ ]

It was meant to be a reminder to leave space in your life for kindness. I love the idea of being reminded that our lives always seem to require us to create space to let in what we actually desire. We could want space for reverence or calmness or equanimity. Or sometimes just an open space allows something we hadn’t wished for or even known we needed. Sometimes empty space gets filled with some gift we had forgotten about. I think this is what meditation tries to do. It creates a space where we pay attention to what we are paying attention to. And when we see our busy whirling minds, we are reminded, to stop the whirling, and come back to just this one breath.

Someone once described spiritual direction as a place where the director tries to bulldoze a space in a person’s life. A space just to see what’s true, what is wanted, what is deep, important, helpful.

The poet Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer lifts up the question. “Is this the path of love?” as she goes about her day. We could ask ourselves this as we stand in line at the grocery, as we wait at a red light, as we wash the dishes. Each thing in our day could become an opportunity for our intention to be calm, kind, balanced, whatever.

However we go about it, it surely is important to find space. A space where we can fully exhale. A space without a to-do list. A space or a body posture of acceptance. A place where expectations can take a seat, where judgment is soothed and desires calmed.

The poet Dana Faulds said it like this in her poem, "Walk Slowly";

It only takes a reminder to breathe,

a moment to be still, and just like that,

something in me settles, softens, makes

space for imperfection. The harsh voice

of judgment drops to a whisper and I

remember again that life isn’t a relay

race; that we will all cross the finish

line; that waking up to life is what we

were born for. As many times as I

forget, catch myself charging forward

without even knowing where I’m going,

that many times I can make the choice

to stop, to breathe, and be, and walk

slowly into the mystery.

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