Create Abundance Through Negative Space

abundance, negative, space, schedule, overwhelm

abundance, negative, space, schedule, overwhelmI often feel like I’m up against the clock.  That I’m running to beat time, make time, or find time.  I’d throw away all my clocks if it would make any difference.  But it wouldn’t.  Time would just keep on ticking anyway.

We have a name for feeling like the clock is your enemy.  We call it Time Poverty.  The feeling that somehow we are lacking the time.  We imagine some people must have an abundance of time while we’re time poor.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, we all have the same amount of time in a day.

What’s the difference between having enough time or being time poor?

Negative space. 

Negative space is a term that artists use to describe the blank space that surrounds a picture or design.  It balances the positive space in the artwork.  Musicians use silence, or rests, as negative space in compositions.  Home decorators refer to negative space when talking about empty space left on a bookshelf or under a piece of furniture. The empty space creates balance, gives rest, and simulates openness. 

Negative space gives us feelings of abundance. It’s easier to feel gratitude and appreciation when you feel abundance in your life.  You feel like you have room to breathe and grow.

Conversely, abundance gives us the feeling of deficiency.  Too much stuff, too much on your to-do list, too much glut leave you with feelings of not enough space, not enough time, and not enough energy.

Being overwhelmed by too much clutter and too much to do often leads to inaction.  There is so much pulling on you that you become paralyzed.  You sit and do nothing because you know there isn’t enough time to do it all.  In the meantime, more stuff piles up due to neglect.  Dishes, laundry, errands, bills.

Feelings of deficiency zap all energy and motivation.  It leaves you feeling depressed and woeful and wishing for more.  What you’re really wanting more of is space.

Unfortunately, that feeling of wanting more often translates into accumulation.

  • You buy more stuff to add to your already crowded house.
  • You take on more projects thinking it will make you feel more fulfilled.
  • You eat more because you want to be satisfied.

When, in actuality, you’re just squeezing yourself into a tinier space and magnifying the deficient feelings.  So be very careful what you allow into your life when you feel like you’re lacking something.

Knowing that your feelings of deficiency come directly from your abundance lets you know that the opposite must also be true.  Negative space gives you the feeling of abundance.

The answer to time poverty?  

You need a schedule of abundance.  It has to have a lot of blank space in it.

Be in the business of dropping things off your plate. Enjoy the simple life and try not to get caught up in the frenzy so easily.  Scaling back and having some empty space in the house, on the schedule, in the calorie count will make you feel like you have more room.  An abundance of space and time.

Keep an abundant attitude by guarding the space in your schedule.  Say yes to the right things and no to the wrong things. Be very careful what you allow in your life and what you bring into your space.  Remember that feeling a lack of time in your life doesn’t mean you need something more fulfilling.  Often, it means you need less.

Abundance comes from negative space. 


10 Things Cover

If you need some help scheduling in that negative space and improving your life, check out 10 Things For 12 Months.  It’s a printable 12 month planner that will help you stay on top of your dreams and create some positive habits.

How can you create some negative space in your life?  Have you ever tried to soothe the feeling of deficiency by bringing more into your life?  Share how those decisions affected your life in the comments. 

If you’d like to keep up with Coffee and Confidence and get some more creative inspiration in your inbox, join my email list right now! 

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From Clutter to Compassion

From Clutter to CompassionIt hits me every spring.  The bug to clean out the stuff in my house and my life.  I start reading minimalism blogs and lusting after the pictures of peaceful living spaces.  Then I look around my house and see a whole lot of unnecessary junk.  I don’t know how we accumulate so much.

One such blog post I read talked about their journey to minimalism by removing the same number of things from their house as the number of the current year.  So in 2015, they will remove 2015 items from their house.  I’m always intrigued by such audacious challenges.

I mentioned the challenge out loud and my kids got this nervous look in their eyes.  They told me I was crazy, but I can see this being an extremely easy challenge to complete.  They know me.  I go on cleaning binges every few months.  Sometimes they help and other times they hide.  The verdict is still out on this one.

I cleaned out my closet and started weeding out my books.  I probably have close to 500 items pulled out already.  I figure if I can get my kids to go through their clothes and books, we can hit 2015 items in two days.

Having too much is overwhelming.  There’s too much to clean, organize and store.  It’s way to easy to make a mess and way too hard to pick it up.  We don’t live extravagantly by any means but we really have more than we can adequately appreciate.

Yesterday, I made a quick run to the store to pick up a few grocery items we had run out of.  Milk and cereal.  Staples in our house.  As an impulse buy, I picked up a large bag of M&Ms to share with the kids.

When we were leaving the parking lot, I saw a man with a cardboard sign standing at the traffic light.  His hair was gray and long and it mingled with his long beard.  I’ve never stopped to give money to beggars before, but I had $3 tucked in the door of my car.  The change from the $25 I had just spent on chocolate marshmallow cereal and M&Ms.

I recently read in the Bible where God told his people to be generous to the poor.  Not to deal harshly or be tightfisted with them.  God promised a blessing to those who gave freely to people in need.  (Deut. 15:7-11)

I rolled my window down as I pulled up next to the man.  I held out the bills to him.  He stepped off the curb to reach for the money and his eyes met mine.  He didn’t say anything, but I could tell he was humbled and ashamed to be standing there.  There was sadness and long stories in those eyes.  All I could say was, “God bless you” before I drove through the intersection.

When I pulled up to the man at the traffic light, I had my blessing in mind.  But as I drove away, my mind was frantically challenging me.  What did this man think of me?  Here I was, driving my paid for car, leaving a store where I had just impulsed on M&Ms, handing him $3 and driving off to visit a friend to laugh and complain about our hard lives.

Of course, he didn’t know what I bought or where I was going, but I did.  He didn’t know that I had just been complaining about having too much, while everything he owned was in the knapsack at his feet.  I had worried aloud about the cost of groceries, yet I had enough money to buy candy.

I feel like my cleaning binge has just become a crusade.  I wish I had gotten that man’s name.  I’d name it after him.  I wish I had given him the M&Ms or bought him a meal.  His simple existence made my abundance look vulgar.  I wish I didn’t have so much useless stuff.

I’m getting rid of it.  All the useless, boxed up accumulations of trivial, meaningless junk.  I probably will never be a minimalist.  I love books too much to let them go.  But if I can empty out enough stuff from my life, maybe I’ll have more room in my heart.  Maybe I’ll fill it up with things that matter like compassion and love in action.


What experiences have you had that drastically changed your perspective and put you on a crusade of love and compassion?  Comment here.

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