July 28, 2010

Free Space

I had a teacher in elementary school who always left a half of a page at the bottom of every test or worksheet blank. She called it free space. It definitely didn't cost her anything to leave that lovely white space for me. It did, however, make a big difference. It gave me a place that was mine. I could write anything I wanted. There was security and clarity in that space for me. The words white space and margin have become frequenters of my work dialogue lately.

Last week I went to a workshop called Less Clutter. Less Noise. hosted by Kem Meyer. She has some really great ideas about communications, especially as they pertain to the church, and we took away some great thoughts and tips from what she had to say. Above all the other things that she spoke about, one topic in particular has stuck with me:
...the barrage of data to which we are constantly exposed carries a cost - physically, mentally and financially...More isn't what people are looking for; relief from the pressure of more is what they're looking for.
This is so true for me. I don't want to know anything else sometimes. I don't want new information. I want help figuring out how to sort and prioritize all the information that I'm hit with every other minute of the day. That's why Mrs. Jung's white space was so important. I could sort there. I could dump out all the information that I'd been desperately trying to keep crammed in my head before the big test there. It helped me breathe and think easier.

The white space was oxygen. Where do you have oxygen in your life? Where is your white space? Sure this is a brilliant principle to remember in the professional communications realm, especially at my church, but I think it goes beyond that. Where do I find clarity and rest? How do I leave white space in my life. A pastor at my church recently posted on the Sabbath and I think the two are connected. If you have the time or energy, give it a read.

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