The White Space

“Stillness is the white sheet of paper upon which the story of your life is written.” ~ Thomas Hubl

I received a free calendar from a Christmas purchase I made for a friend. At first glance it looked a bit cheesy, and seeing as it was free, I was doubtful as to whether it was even worth keeping. Each month features a photo from nature and an inspirational quote. Which still sounds cheesy, doesn’t it? But the quotes in this calendar are quite something. The January quote, the very first one, is the stop-flipping-through-the-calendar-and-think-about-this quote bolded above.

 I’d never read or heard this quote before. It really struck me. As truth. It’s such an effective way to visualize the stillness that underlies it all. And by all, I mean Everything. All of this crazy movement and chaotic noise and bristling life that surrounds us. It’s the holding place upon which every thought, every passing emotion and every single experience is overlaid. It’s the constant that is always there, just waiting to be rediscovered. To be leaned into. To be recognized and remembered. We can, at any moment, dive into stillness, or at least into the subtle breath of our own bodies, or our own heartbeat. This stillness is always right behind the chaos. Right behind the anger, jealousy, joy or overwhelm. It’s holding us all, all the time. Why don’t we remember this more often? Yoga helps, surely it does. Especially a class that has a long, slow ending, one that allows for an extended savasana, for a time to just be. Not do, just be. Meditation helps even more so.

We fill our sheet of paper with so many things, so many ‘lines’ of text. And we almost always put our focus on the always-evolving story. We look at the ‘words,’ not really noticing how there is actually more white space on the page than anything else. That the white space is holding all the words, all the lines, all the pages — every single  one. That the white space is completely necessary for the words and lines and story to come into being. Even if we never remember it. Even if we never pay any attention to it at all. And many people don’t. Many people simply strive to pile one experience on top of the other. To add one task after the next, after the next, after the next. All with no regard for what holds it all.

It’s really quite amazing when you think about it. No wonder mediation is so powerful and can cause such major life shifts. Meditation lets the stillness in. It let’s the thoughts and emotions and energy settle. It’s a fading back into the white space of the page. We are so busy, so connected, and so often “behind” in our to-do list — struggling to catch up with even more doing, that we’re forgetting the white sheet of paper. We’re forgetting to settle down. We’re forgetting to rest, to revel in the blank page, to just be still and leave the story behind.

Beth Purcell is a freelance writer, yogini, bioenergetics practitioner & member of The House of Yogi family. She finds the oft repeated routine of yoga – from asana to breathwork to meditation – allows her to navigate the organic chaos of everyday life and stay connected to the inspiration & creativity innate in us all.

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