September 13, 2014

The Need For Space by Molly Davis

Imagine a book in which the pages have no margins, or a photo where the image fills the frame with no space in which to sit.  The empty space is as important as the rest.  For it is the emptiness in which the words fill the page, the art the canvas, the photo the wall.  Without it the power of the words and beauty of the image is lost. Or at best, diminished. In order to be fully there, they have need of some  space.  So do we.  We have need of margins in which our lives can reside.

And yet.

The urge to fill my time with doing feels relentless, the willingness to simply stop and rest like a foreign language. Doing means I am getting somewhere. Doesn’t it?  Or in the constant going am I spinning my wheels, and in the doing am I coming undone. The ancient text says there is a time to work and a time to rest.

And yet.

How to find time in the midst of days that seem too short, calendars too full, the very real needs that press upon us, and the list that never ends? Like most things, it starts with one thing. Getting up thirty minutes earlier so as to linger over that first sacred sip of coffee.  (A no brainer.) Arranging my days more carefully. (Effort required) Shutting the door for thirty minutes of solitude in between meetings. (Often impossible)  Or maybe just five. (Usually doable)  Saying ‘no’ just once. (Scary at first, f-ing liberating as skill develops)  Not answering the phone just because it rings. (That’s an option?) Disconnecting from the internet so as to log on to my inner one. (Learning to surf all over again)

In order to write our stories well, to make something lovely of the lives we have, space is required. Margins can be as expansive as a silent retreat or sabbatical, as far away as a remote island, as close as a walk around the block, or as brief as a deep breath.

Where might a bit of space exist that is there for the taking?


With gratitude to my sister Margie who taught me about margins. 

Photo by Tom Pierson

4 Responses to “Margins”

  1. Jean Gale Says:

    How perfectly said. There’s always going to be full calendars, too many things to do – fun & hard, and………..solitude is essential.

  2. Carol Donohue Says:

    Here, hear! I concur.
    I reside in the laid back, Hawaiian shirts and flip flops (at Sunday morning services) Southern California, where drivers in jeans and Ugg boots are clenching their teeth along with the steering wheel as we navigate through the traffic and life. We all need to slow down. Use the pause in line at the market as a moment to breathe and strike up a conversation, the traffic slow down as a chance to count blessings. …finding the balance in the hummm….ahhhh.

    • Carol Donohue… of course you add your brilliant wisdom to Margins. Thank you for shining a light on more opportunities to benefit from the margins and space that are ours for the seeing (first) and then taking. Can’t wait to sit with our feet up over a cup of coffee.

      Sent from my iPad


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