Strength from the Void

It is the silence between the notes that makes the music.

Jokulsarlon glacial lake ice, Iceland. Photo: John Heino Photography. Used with Permission.

What is it that gives a bowl its usefulness? It’s the vacant space where there is no bowl, no substance. That’s where you pour the cereal or the milk, or whatever.

What makes the wheel useful? The vacant space where the axle goes through.

A room is essentially a vacant area within a building. Imagine a doll house that was a solid block of wood with no spaces within the exterior walls. Kind of a strange picture, but you can probably grasp it. The vacant spaces enable a child to put doll furniture in place, and re-enact imaginary scenes.

Whenever I spend a day in New York City, I think, “What a bundle of energy!” I have to believe that to survive in such a place one needs to create voids, spaces to close oneself off from all that frenzy of human interaction.

In the business world we’ve become increasingly aware that computers and technology are not lightening our workload to give us more time. Instead, we have more connections, more emails, voice mails, tisks and tasks and tusks twisting our time into a torrent of energy-draining output.

In order to survive, we need to create voids, little spaces where we can hibernate, even briefly, to recharge our emotional batteries.

Let’s not be deceived into thinking that doing more and more is the way to accomplish more. The truth is sometimes counterintuitive. By doing less we may accomplish more because we are not just busy, but busy doing the right things.

Make sure you carve some space for yourself today. You’ll be a better person for it, and will likely enjoy a longer, fuller life.

This blog entry has been recycled from March 2008.
Originally published at

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon

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