Blank Canvas


Here I am.

Kid’s at school: check.
Housework done: check.
Errands complete: check.
Meals prepped: check. (Who am I kidding?  I’m much more an ‘assemble’ food person than a cook, but you get my point!)
Bills paid: Check.
Dog fed: check.

Everything I needed to do, I’ve finally completed. And here I sit. Nestled on my couch. In the blank space. Metaphorical white canvas before me. I take a deep, long breath.

And ohmygoodness this is hard!!!

Empty space can be overwhelming.

Imagine having a job for the last eighteen years or so when suddenly, without cause from anything you’ve done, your job is taken away from you. Well, to be more accurate, your job has dramatically shifted in a way you hadn’t imagined, leaving you to bib and bob, adjust, adapt, and find a new way. A new way to be with yourself because life as you knew it has now changed.

In my silence, I can almost hear the collective weeping that’s occurring in so many cars, houses, and rooms, as we parents drop off our kids at college, high school, middle or even elementary school and come home to this empty space. I haven’t reached the dreaded college drop off yet, but it’s quickly approaching. So I watch my friends who have college age kids closely. Taking notes. Preparing.

Am I being a tad overdramatic? Possibly. But whether you’re a career mom or a mom who works outside the house, (or a Dad!) this change creates an open space, a void. And while I’m so incredibly grateful for the opportunities this newfound space will (ultimately) present me, this in between phase – read: TRANSITION- is really tough.

Sitting in the unknown has always been super challenging for me.

Some people thrive in uncertainty. They move through it with grace and an exuberance that I admire. But not me. Nope. I meet the unknown with a ton of reservation mixed in with a dash of fear. (Yeh, you’re right- there’s definitely more than a dash!) Lord knows we’ve all had plenty of opportunities to deal with uncertainty over the past couple years, but I still seem to struggle.

Just about now I’m hit with a wave of guilt around my privilege. I can’t ignore the gift of choice I have to stay home. The consequences for us are minimal: we live on a tight budget, in a small rental house. But I’m painfully aware that most of the world’s population doesn’t have nearly as much as we do. When I consider the numerous women who are fighting for their rights to education and freedom, I’m humbled. But I also have to recognize an old pattern present of ways I find to diminish and dismiss my own experience. So I acknowledge both the blessings available to me and my experience in relation to these opportunities.

And I sit in the quiet, empty, blank canvas space. It’s not long before I sense the need to get busy doing things. My natural inclination to get busy; it’s a pattern that allows me to avoid sitting in the discomfort of the unknown. It can show up in small ways like when I convince myself that the drawers (files, cabinets, oven, microwave or fill in the blank with anything in my house!) need to be organized or cleaned. Or in larger ways like when I’ve jumped into jobs that aren’t in alignment with my passion or purpose to assuage my money fears. The result is always the same, leading to frustration and dead ends. I see you, old friend, and this time I’m not going to cave to you. I’m going to ignore my urge to create busyness and instead, make myself just be.

I also notice a shift in my eating patterns. I’m turning to food to comfort me, fill me. That’s a tough one with a lot of history. For now, I’m choosing to be gentle with myself around the food stuff, acknowledging the challenge of this empty space and trusting that as I move through it and remain conscious, my eating will shift back to the balance I’ve experienced over the last several years. (Because in my mind, I’m on a slippery slope that’s going to lead to tremendous weight gain and I will return to the fat girl I was, oh so many years ago.) Guess there’s still some work to do around that, huh?

But for now, I’ll do my best to just hold in this empty space.

Use it to my benefit to begin to imagine and dream what the next chapter of my life will look like. History has shown me that as I gain clarity and really attune myself to aligning my will with Spirit’s, I can manifest the most wonderful miracles.

So one more deep breath. And release.

My next miracle awaits.

In loving,

Sarah


Sarah Altman worked in the entertainment industry before becoming a career mom. With a curiosity in the human inner experience, Sarah earned a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology and her writing has evolved as a way to share her learnings. When she’s not busy with her mom duties, you can find Sarah nestled up, writing on her computer or indulging in a British period piece on television. Sarah lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two boys, who bring her love, joy and laughter every day. Her book, My Breast Life, One Woman’s Journey Through Cancer Blog by Blog, is available on Amazon.

Image courtesy of Sam Lion.

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