How do those two words make you feel?
I’ll bet that if you really think about it there’s some level of discomfort . We’re not programmed, at least in modern western society, to be comfortable with open space. Open space in our diaries, open space in our homes, open space in our heads, hearts and minds.
I remember the last home I moved into, I had this radical idea that in my lounge I would have no TV (that one stuck) and at least for a while, no sofa. I loved the idea that I would have this lovely open space just for me, to meditate, practice yoga, stretch, just be. No crap in the way.
My parents were appalled. They offered to buy me a sofa. Like most people they thought I was trying to mask the fact that I couldn’t afford furniture with some kind of puritan wish for open space. But honestly, at that time in my life, I just so desperately needed the physical and psychic space a chronic lack of seating would have given me.
So often we are working to fill up our lives with stuff. Physical stuff, emotional stuff, doing doing doing, filling, filling, filling. As a society we are so uncomfortable with the possibility of open space. Time booked out in our diaries to do sweet FA. Being single. A bare kitchen cupboard. A lounge with no sofa or TV. We’ve been conditioned to think that more is good. More stuff equals a status of riches and sates deeper desires for meaningful connection. More events in our diaries equal popularity and an easy Band-Aid to the modern epidemic of loneliness.
But what I have discovered through my own experience, and the experience of my clients, is that open space is where opportunity, success and happiness really live. Open space is where creativity thrives. Open space is where stuff has the room to grow and evolve. Open space is where thoughts and emotions have room to work themselves out.
Often I hear people (myself included) talking about how much clarity and healing has been gained around a situation when there is some space, some perspective, some physical and psychic distance. Imagine if, instead of having to wait and be six months out from a situation before we could see what had really happened, we could enter into situations from and with that clear open space, mentally and emotionally. I’m not saying nothing would go pear shaped ever again but I do know that when we can do this, when we can step into that seemingly scary place of open space and handle whatever comes our way from that place, life gets a lot easier, a lot more fun, and opportunities open up like never before.
So I hope it’s obvious by this point that open space is pretty darn essential if you want to have a thriving business that supports your dreams. Daring to create, allow and then step into that open space really is the key to getting clear, having the physical, mental and emotional energy to take inspired action and the room to manoeuver when a one track plan just won’t cut it.
But, nevermind leaping gaily into the abyss, what can you do to open up this space in the first place?
1. Some form of quietness very first thing in the morning. Meditation. Morning silence before 8am. Whatever takes your fancy but make it NOT the TV news, Facebook or your emails.
2. Clear some space in your diary.
3. Leave it clear. Dare to see what may or may not happen in a time when nothing is planned. Maybe you’ll start writing that book. Maybe you’ll take a 3 hour soak in the bath. Maybe you’ll lie still, quiet and conscious for the first time you can remember in your waking adult memory and have that brainwave you were so desperately trying to journal out of yourself.
4. Clear your workspace. Paperwork: filed. Desktop: tidied. Noticeboard: ruthlessly reorganised. General crap: recycled where possible, binned otherwise. Bin: emptied.
5. Deal with one emotional or financial situation that is hanging over you. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in months. I don’t care who called last. Pay an outstanding bill. I don’t care what a pain in the ass their customer service department is. Say sorry if you need to. Just tick something off your sub conscious list.
Doing any one of these things will open up a significant amount of space for you, but doing all of them on a consistent basis will help to really anchor in the practice and the visceral experience of what it feels like to live in space, instead of living in a cramped in a world of thoughts and things, stress and nonsense.
So now you know how, but the question remains… Are you “Open” for business?