Why ‘the space in between’ brings clarity and progress

by Alice Johnsen.

Now is a favourite time of the year for many of us.
It is the calm between the rush and demands of summer and the dark of the coming winter months. The autumn sunlight is at its most noticeable as it shines through the gaps. The spaces in between. They are what highlight its strength.

The spaces in between, while in themselves amounting to nothing, bring the value. The sweet spot, not just in a garden but in our lives too, from relationships, to our output of effort – in whatever form that takes – and in learning – the space around all these things is what brings about clarity and progress. It is the pause around a conversation, a training session, a brainstorming session – that is where the magic happens.
We all need a lot of space. Space to think, to digest, to grow. To rest and recharge.
But it can be hard to find in our everyday lives. Sometimes we have to make space. We have to take a step off the treadmill in order to process what we are doing and let it all settle.
Photographers use negative space to work around their subject. They refer to the empty space around the subject and argue it is as important as the subject itself. I think that is a useful way to think of space in relation to our own lives.

Likewise, our brains need at night to process the events, traumas, memories and newly acquired knowledge that day.

That all happens in the pre-frontal cortex of our brains. The efficiency of that process is variable and one of the key factors is screens – phones, etc. The light from such screens prevents that part of our brains working to maximum efficiency so if we are looking at screens up to bedtime and even worse, in bed, our
initial hours of sleep are not as restful and restorative as they should be. While I’m on my phone soapbox, there is also scientific evidence telling us we should not reach for those screens as soon as we wake up – ideally we should be aiming for 20-30 minutes of phone-free time at the start of the day and 60 minutes at the end.
So as we move through autumn towards winter, I offer a suggestion for us all to take decisive steps to create space around the different parts of our lives to allow the full experience of everything we do to really filter down.

Alice Johnsen is a life coach. Phone 07961 080513; visit

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