Over the past few months, I have found myself traveling to London often, seeking a break from my Lisbon life. Craving a change, more excitement, and a chance to shake things up, I felt the need to step out of my comfort zone. Though I had spent the past six months traveling often within Portugal, I had the feeling that I needed something different. London, with its big city energy, terrible weather compared to Lisbon, and relentless pace, was the change that fed and energized me in ways that I needed.
However, it was not until last week that I began to truly miss Lisbon and the lifestyle it affords me. I realized I had to take some space from my daily life to appreciate it fully. While deeply immersed in it, I had started to not appreciate it.
This experience prompted me to reflect further on the value of taking space in various aspects of life.
The other night, I found myself at a lovely dinner with a Portuguese family at an Italian vegan restaurant. The couple, long-married with four school-aged children and thriving careers, had an intriguing dynamic. They joked that their relationship has worked and stayed strong for so long because one of them has been traveling a few times per month for business, for the past 20 years, allowing them space to grow closer and appreciate one another more.
Taking space in relationships can lead to a greater understanding of each other's individuality and aspirations. It fosters a sense of trust and independence, ultimately nurturing a healthier connection between two people. It is as if the space created allows each person to breathe and stretch, providing the room needed to flourish.
I am reminded of how my personal trainer continues to emphasize the importance of taking space between workouts, an initially counterintuitive idea to me. However, the science behind muscle strengthening reveals that space is indeed a crucial ingredient. Muscles require time to recover and rebuild, and it is during these periods of rest that they grow stronger.
The same principle applies to my mind; creating space helps me rejuvenate and refocus my energy.
For most people, incorporating space during the workday, whether through coffee breaks, meal breaks, or the daily commute, actually enhances productivity. The mind needs space to process information and make sense of it. Without space, avoidable mistakes are made, and creativity becomes stifled.
As an entrepreneur, I have learned that giving space to my team members leads to more creativity and innovation. They feel empowered to explore new ideas, experiment, and discover better solutions when not constrained by micromanagement or constant oversight.
I have often found that my best business insights have come when I am on vacation, disconnected from the day-to-day and taking space from my regular routines. My mind is finally free to wander and explore new ideas, unencumbered by the constraints of daily responsibilities.
Meditation serves as a tool to create space daily for me. It allows me to pause and observe my thoughts, feelings, and connect with what is inspiring to me. Regular meditation practice has helped me cultivate a greater sense of self-awareness and empathy, enabling me to approach my relationships and work with more clarity and understanding.
The more I appreciate the value of space, the more I understand its necessity in moving through life. There is a momentum in my world that pushes me to fill every available moment with something, which I am learning to counter.
Nature is an excellent reminder of the power of space. The vastness of the sky, the silence of the trees, and the stillness of a mountain all remind me that space is an integral part of our existence.
Giving space to my friends and loved ones allows them to grow as individuals, fostering a more profound connection when we come back together. It is in these moments of solitude that I can truly appreciate the value of my relationships and the unique qualities each person brings to my life.
Space also extends to my physical surroundings. When my apartment is cluttered, I feel stifled and stuck. Taking time to organize my environment leads to increased focus, productivity, and a sense of calm for me.
The value of space can be found in the practice of listening. In conversations, leaving space for others to share their thoughts and feelings without interruption or judgment fosters deeper understanding and empathy. It is in these moments of silence that I can truly hear what others are saying.
Space permeates every aspect of my life, if I allow it to. It can feel risky to give space to people, places, and projects. As a result, I can end up clinging to and constraining what it is I care about most deeply, fearing the unknown.
I have come to understand that it is even riskier not to give space to what I hold most dear. By providing space, I can truly appreciate what I have, allowing it to grow and flourish in ways I may not have ever imagined.