Leaving Room For White Space

Monday, May 16, 2011

It’s no secret that I’m trying to balance a lot of things with only two hands: Mother, Wife, Writer, Journalist, Blogger, Runner, and—apparently—circus performer.

I’ve been operating at a pace that is not only unrelenting and exhausting, but also unhealthy. The thing is, I know it’s not a good way to work this life: always tired, overwhelmed, on the wire, dancing quickly, stacking up TO-DOs, rushing, checking the clock, speeding though Point A in order to careen past subsequent Points B through K. My shoulders have wedged themselves into my ears so much so that I need to remind myself to drop them—even in the shower. Anxiousness has leaked into my sleep, making it fitful and sometimes unpleasant. Waking up tired is never a good feeling.

It’s unsustainable, I’ve said. Yet here I am juggling it all anyway.

Multi-tasking is for fools, I’ve said. And I can’t think of a day in the last year where I haven’t been an utter fool.

Change must happen, I’ve said. So it will. Starting right now.

Today, I was talking to my little sister about this need to slow things down so that life has a chance to soak in. She came back with this: nothing.

“You need to create some white space,” she said. “Try doing nothing for one hour everyday.”

I may have stayed silent for a moment too long.

“You still there?” my sister asked, starting to giggle.

“Yeaaaah, I am, but …”

She laughed. “Your white space or ‘nothing’ could be anything that you’d really enjoy. Sleep,  a slow walk, talking on the phone with a friend.”

The more my sister talked about nothing, the more I started to feel a sense of relief trickling in. My shoulders relaxed. I closed the laptop (because I was—what?—multitasking when I called her) and sat back in my chair. I was nodding now.

We went on to map out a few ways for me to do nothing. Ridiculous, right? Why would someone need to plan how to do nothing? But it’s true! You try doing nothing. G’head. For two minutes, do absolutely nothing. Though it’s challenging, it’s so worth it. Refreshing, really.

I was feeling particular confident about my White Space plan. I decided to do something that I haven’t had “time” for lately: check out a few of my favorite blogs. First stop, Chookooloonks. And there, to my utter delight, I read Karen’s post about … the importance of doing nothing.

Clearly, nothing has got something going on, wouldn’t you say?


MMM Updates & News: Thanks for all of the comments on last week’s installment of The Confab. Today, we have ourselves a winner of The Style Checklist book giveaway. Drum roll, please. The winner is …. Barbara Brandon-Croft! Congratulations, BBC. We’ll email you next to find out where to send your prize.

Some other bits to update … We found our house in CT, folks. It was hectic and a bit nail-biting few weeks, but we got it. Now it’s about actually moving. The countdown clock just clicked on: T-minus 4 weeks!



  • 1
    Kristin says:

    It’s amazing how many times this has come up in my conversations lately. I think nothing does have something going on. One of my favorite places to help people do nothing is an aptly names website:


    I am trying, but I have not yet been able to accomplish it!

    • 1.1
      Ms. Mary Mack says:

      Hey, Kristin. Yes, I linked to that very site in the post. It’s harder than it sounds, right? I mean, it’s just two little ol’ minutes. :)