What do I mean by White Space? Imagine an open, clear area where anything can grow and blossom. Where you get to choose what to plant and nurture into existence.
In this mural created at Georgetown University’s Formation by Design Symposium, they discussed White Space as the intersection between knowledge of self, knowledge of the world, and knowledge of a specific domain. In this open space, students are free to design their own personal experience of higher education based on their strengths and interests.
At Georgetown, they are actively engaged in re-designing higher education to provide their students with these types of unique opportunities. The purpose of this White Space is to allow for formation, transformation and development of the whole student.
An important part of each student’s time at Georgetown is meditation and quiet contemplation, the ultimate White Space where we quiet our minds and bodies and just be.
I wonder what would happen if each of us had a little more space in our lives. What would it feel like to have “a continuous area or expanse that is free, available, or unoccupied”?
Easier said than done, right? Most of us most of the time are moving very quickly from one activity to the next and do not have much (or any!) open space in our daily lives.
It may sound crazy, but I’ve an appointment in my calendar for an hour every day that’s called “unscheduled time” wherein I cannot plan anything specific ahead of time. At that time, I get to choose to do entirely nothing, or at the most to quietly meditate, take a walk outside, draw, listen to music, or some other restful activity where my mind and body have no specific end game or goal to achieve.
I don’t manage to carve out White Space every day, but when I do, it’s during these quiet episodes of aimless open space and time that new ideas, insights and observations may arise into my consciousness which would not have been admitted entrance if I was constantly busy. And at the very least, my brain gets a little mini-vacation and I return to my life and work refreshed.
So schedule yourself a little White Space today and let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear what – if anything – you choose to do during that time, how you feel, and what ideas or insights you receive!