After much deliberation, I have ultimately landed on a word of the year. I had quite a few contestants but kept thinking I would sleep on it yet another day. Until one day I looked at my gratitudes and there started to be quite a bit about space in there. So what does it mean for me?
Space – the final frontier
No matter how much change we try to effect change in our lives, space needs to exist for us to allow ourselves to shift something. It makes me think of those sliding puzzles where you have to shift pieces around to fit the others without being able to take one out. Know what I am talking about? That is how I have been operating in the last few years. There are a number of things that co-exist and that I keep shifting around, without taking anything out and with a limited ability to stack something in. After many feelings of suffocation, I realized I wanted to feel more like Zeze – limitless. So space is the limit.
With this in mind, I felt like I wanted to move away from shifting pieces in a puzzle to redesigning the whole thing. And for that, you need space. For the last few months, I have taken a step back to allow myself the space to breathe and slowly figure out what is important. What I miss, and what maybe does not have a place anymore, or right now. As a first step, I needed space.
Space to explore
I am committed to exploring more. Exploring what I feel and what I really want. Whilst I have had opportunities to do many things in life, I am not sure I ever approached them with a perspective of exploration. Yes, you guessed it right, explore was one of my alternative words of the year. I want to explore without an end in mind, with the opportunity to learn about myself and what surrounds me.
There is not much sense in exploration if it is in a closed space or with a fixed goal in mind. That would be more akin to a lab experience, an experiment. That is not what I am looking for. In fact, I know a bit too much about controlled environments. I want the space to explore without always being in control of all the variables. Or perhaps without thinking of the variables for one moment in time. I wonder how that will look like…
Space to think
This is one I have been missing more and more. I have missing it at work, at home, at charity, everywhere. One of the ways that this is visible is through reduced writing. Writing is how I think and I have not even allowed myself that. It got squeezed out of my schedule when I reached exhaustion at the end of the year. And I did miss it.
The other time I realized how much I lacked the space to think was in the first week of January. I went back to work and many people were still out so the calendar was not filled with meetings. I created in a week what I was not able to do in a full month last year. Not from a productivity stand point, but from a creative thought standpoint. I worked on foundation pieces, I drafted new structures, I defined my agenda of focus. Not that feels like a distant memory. However, I want to be intentional about it not being a memory but rather how I lead life. My ability to create and add value in all areas of my life is significantly increased with tiny bits of space.
Space to feel
According to Catia, I have a pretty strong auto-pilot. I just go into problem solving mode and good luck trying to stop me. It does not matter what the problem is. There is no space to connect to what is happening, that usually comes after. This year, I want to allow myself space to feel in the moment. Not to rationalize what I feel, not to justify it, not to try and work my way out of it like I usually do. But just feel.
Through my history, I have disconnected from discomfort by approaching it as a problem to solve or justifying why it was ok to be uncomfortable with certain decisions through endless hours of conversations inside my brain. I can’t begin to explain to you how many hours of brain power these conversations take. All with the purpose of just not being in the uncomfortable place.
This year, I am allowing myself to feel uncomfortable. What I am also hoping is that will also teach me how to feel comfortable. Good or bad, I am inviting feelings to hang around for a bit this year. They are welcome.
Space to be
Exploring and thinking can often lead to new ways of being. And I want to create space to be without apologising. Be without being guilty. Be with a sense of being that is here and now.
In fact, I want to use the space to discover what being means for me. And if you think I lost some marbles through my latest round of Covid (entirely possible), I thought that way even before Covid was in the house. A while back I read the book the “The Big Leap” and thought I was aware of my upper limits. Little did I know how big they were. I may just re-read the book as a reminder of all the boxes I have put around myself over the years.
In my year of exploration, I want to allow myself to find out what it really means to be me. Spooky.
Space is not a single event in time, it is something you continuously need to have. Space for clarity of thought, space to feel, space to wonder, space to be.