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Leave Space

Have you experienced stumbling upon a sentence that resonates with you at a precise moment of your life? And then for some time hearing and seeing different manifestations of it? For me it was a short but clear - Leave Space. This advice was given by a famous trumpet player. It was about jazz and improvisation and how in order to swing you need to leave space in your own playing as only when there is space there can be proper listening, reacting and expressing. As jazz is life and life is jazz, I started thinking of how this idea of space applies more broadly in life.

Space for change

There is a story about a single man who wanted to be in a relationship. He was longing to find someone but for one reason or another it wasn't working out. One day his therapist asked him if he was sleeping on a single or double bed. It was a single bed. The therapist suggested that if the man wants change in his life, he has to start making a visible one first. A good place to start could be getting a double bed (I've heard worse dating advises). So, he got a new bed and found love (I might have missed a few details).

The point is - when we say we want change, do we leave any space for it to happen? Like when you're a teenager and you like someone, but deep inside you prefer for that crush to stay in your imagination than actually making a move and finding out who that person really is. Change is hard, change is out of our comfort. Change leads to the unknown. And change is always a gamble. To change jobs/apartments/cities, to start a relationship, to acquire a new skill. It's all a gamble of making 'the right' decision, trying to put a list of pro's and con's to eventually throw it away.

Just like a good conversation requires listening skills, our decision making does too. Often before we decide, we want to do a Sherlock Holmes kind of investigation - gather all the data, opinions, examples, make lists hoping that we will make 'the best' decision. But usually decisions aren't right or wrong, change isn't good or bad (unless you're starting to smoke or something), it's just different. And to make any decision, instead of clutter, we need space.

There are two ways for a change to happen - either you make space for it or life does it for you (this pandemic being a great example). Making space can mean letting go of people, of stories we tell ourselves or others, things and statuses we hold on to. And that's where it becomes tricky, because we believe our identity is built on some of that old crap. Letting go will leave us naked and vulnerable. For a while. Till we find new and maybe better fitting clothes instead of trying to squeeze into the ones we've outgrown. Realising we can fit in life in so many different ways.. Even if we end up '3000 miles away from our wildest predictions'.

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