The Spaces Between
When I was in high school, I had the best art teacher. He not only allowed us to explore and express our creativity in myriad ways, he also spent a good chunk of time talking to us about what art really is, and what to pay attention to in order to make our art better.
One day, as we were doing a class on drawing techniques, my teacher told us that “drawing is not about the lines and shapes you’re making. It’s about the spaces between the lines and shapes. If you pay attention to those spaces, you’ll be a better artist.”
Well, I never did get very good at drawing, but his lesson has certainly stuck with me.
Too often in life, we spend all of our time focused on the content of everything. We sit in a room full of people and focus more of our time on judging them than listening to what they have to say. We rush through our days from one thing to another without really noticing anything. Then we wonder why we don’t fit in, or why our life seems like a blur.
Try this: Look up from this screen and at something around you, preferably out a window. Instead of looking at the objects, (“I see a car”, “I see a man in a green jacket”), look at the space in between the objects. Do it now, for a few minutes. I’ll wait.
What do you notice? At first, you’ll probably see nothing. But keep looking. Just observe the space without judging. It’s hard, but eventually you’ll see it.
The space between is what connects everything.
And the minute you spend more time focusing on the space between things – whether physical objects, experiences or moments in time – things will no longer seem like such a blur. You will no longer habitually pass judgement. And many things will become much more sharply in focus.
Life is art, in more ways than we expect.