Nothing Negative About Negative Space



I have been extremely empathic my entire life. Perhaps that explains my calling into the healing arts. It’s a weekly, no, DAILY struggle to be in this body and mind sometimes. I don’t just feel for people, I feel DEEPLY for them. I suffer emotionally right along with people once I know their pains, their sorrows, their struggles. I don’t even have to know them personally. The child separated from her mother crushes me as much as the DV victim’s story I read or the hospice caregiver on my massage table. The upswing to this is that I also feel equally joyful for people when they celebrate something that touches them. All of this “feeling the feelings of others” can be exhausting, but I have never known any other way of being. I just know that being in proximity to people is a wild ride for me. Consequently, it can be a wild ride for the people who are close to ME, my family.


I say all that to say this…yesterday, I had an unexpected schedule change and a cancellation. All the sudden, I ended up with the afternoon off which NEVER happens. At first, I wanted to do a million things and then I just wanted to sleep. I became so aware of how physically exhausted I was. Instead of pushing through, I slept. First, in the lounge chair out back and then, later, sprawled across my bed. I obeyed my body for once.


When I woke from the second nap, I realized that I have been craving negative space. You know, that space that decorators leave blank, so the eyes can rest and aren’t busily flitting from one thing to the next. Negative space makes the spaces that are filled stand out at the same time it allows the eyes and the mind to rest. My life is sorely in need of negative space, as is just about ANY woman’s. We women go ALL IN. Women tend to everything: their jobs, their families, their homes, their friends. Always last on the list is the woman herself. Ironically, it’s the very thing I built my massage practice on: caring for women because they are caregivers and need to refuel, reset, refresh, rejuvenate. So why did I find myself sitting on the edge of the bed wishing for that very thing for myself?!


The other thing I realized in that moment is that to create negative space, decorators must either let something blank or take something away. It happens no other way. So, if you want time and space to yourself, you either get really, REALLY, good at saying no, or you do away with something in your schedule.


I remind myself that even the Lord rested. Although He made me a super Mom/wife/business owner, I am not God. It’s time to admit that I need a rest. Not a once-in-a-while rest, but a REGULAR rest. I need negative space.


This morning, I went to a sweet young therapist I met a few months ago. I got a massage as both a way of creating negative space for myself and helping her grow her new practice. Upon my return, I made a cup of tea and opened a box of ‘Nilla wafers to sit down and type this. I’ve decided I’m not done resting yet, and so today I will do more of the same. My floors are filthy and there is an inch of dust on everything, but I think I’m heading outside to that lounge chair with a stack of magazines and a bottle of water and my three faithful companions, Juno, Meg, and Sam. If anyone can teach me the art of afternoon napping, it’s those three dogs. They have it down!


Sorry for the ramble, but if you see yourself in any of this, do yourself a favor…put down whatever you’re doing and rest. Especially if you’re emotionally exhausted. Enjoy some negative space. Leave your devices and distractions behind and take some time to reset yourself. Visit with the Lord. Let Him know He’s got your full attention. There is nothing at all negative about creating negative space.


This blog post was contributed by Dawn Davis, a wonderful, compassionate, seeker of wisdom who gives the best massages in the world – ladies only! Here’s her contact info:


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