There is a nice saying in English: “Where there is a will, there is a way.”. Yes, it is nice, but it is not correct, at least not always.
The will is only one of the elements decisive for success – your intention, that which would you like to express, the movement that you would like to make? Another element decisive for success or failure is at least as important, and is so often totally underestimated in its significance: the space in which you want to realize your will.
What does “space” mean?
The space is where an action happens. In the sense of physical space, this is easily understood: the kitchen, the living room, the office, the club, the car, the bed… – they are all spaces. But in the sense of the definition, people are also spaces: families, communities and societies.Our own body can in this sense also be seen as a space. In addition, social media is a space.
We know how to handle the limitations of physical spaces. Nobody would have the idea to go to a club to meditate or to listen to classical music. However, tt becomes much more difficult, if we expand the meaning of “space” to also include people.
If we have an issue that is important to us, and that we need to, yes have to, discuss urgently with our partner – how do we proceed? Well, often we do a “surprise attack” on our partner – without even for a moment analyzing if our partner is really receptive for what is important to us. Our will is there, loud and strong, but maybe the space (in this case our partner) is not open. Then nothing constructive can come out of this.
This happens in partnerships, in work situations, actually in all kinds of communication.
Can I perceive if the space of my partner, of the person that I want to interact with, is receptive of my will, or is it too narrow, too limited? And if it is too limited, what does that mean? Should I give up in frustration? Or does the possibility exist to wait for a better situation when it is more fitting, when the space can carry more? Or can I do something in order to relax the space, to prepare it, in order to allow it to grow? Or – which is often the case – do I do the opposite, do I reduce the space?
What is the situation on my dance floor?
My earlier teacher used the beautiful metaphor of the dance floor: we all dream that we can dance through our lives, full of joy and ease. But are we conscious of the status of our dance floor? Please don’t get me wrong: I am not talking about withdrawing to the Canadian wilderness in order to dance without being disturbed (except maybe by grizzly bears). No, it is normal that there are other dancers on the dance floor, this is how it should be. The question is only: with our actions, our activities – are we also conscious of the dance floor, are we taking care that it does not get too full? Or do we on the one hand intend to dance freely, but on the other hand fill up the dance floor? To then wonder why we are getting more and more stressed? As already mentioned, a club is not the right place to listen to classical music.
We are also spaces.
Like the others are spaces, so are we. And we also have our limits, our boundaries, even if we often do not want to realize them.
An example from Ashtanga Yoga: let there be a certain pose, for instance the lotus, that I ABSOLUTELY MUST learn. Well, there are those who naturally have very open hips – for them, lotus is not a big thing. But there are many, especially in the West – and often already at a young age – whose hips are totally tight. What good is it in this case, to yank on the legs, to bend the feet – all just for a resemblance of lotus? Nothing. On the contrary, before long, an injury will present itself, as a way for the body to say “no”. The will is not sufficient – the space (in this case the body) needs to be ready, or, if it is not, get prepared over a long time of mindful, gentle practicing.
Yoga as a possibility to widen the space
This text is not meant as an advertisement for yoga – I only want to use yoga as an example; through regular practice and through regular practice at the same place, there is the chance to widen the space.
The surprising thing that many have already experienced is that when the physical space gets wider, the mental space also gets larger.
I’ll come back to this another time.
Always be mindful of the spaces
Maybe this blog can help make you more sensitive to the spaces in which you move.. It will not happen overnight, but it is possible. Learn over time to pay attention to the spaces where your project, your idea will appear. Then observe the space, feel it. Try to understand it – what does it need, what makes it more beautiful?
I am sure that you will experience many positive surprises (and waste less energy), when you answer this question first before tackling what your will considers correct.