Create Space: Build Room for the New

It seems that as I age, I accumulate more projects, relationships, tasks, hobbies, and responsibilities. I suppose that is a component of growth – getting more. I work to be in a continuous state of gratitude for the things that I have. And consciously curate the people, places, and things that enter my life, in order to build a life aligned with my intentions.

For some reason (in the West) busy and more are the pillars for being “better”. Whether in business, relationships, athletics, spirituality, etc. We are DOers, accumulators, consumers.

It has only been recently that I have realized the importance of creating the void. The space where nothing lies. It is only in the space of nothing, that something can arise. If our lives are so full of the “somethings” from our life up until this point, where do we put the “somethings” for our life going forward? If my calendar is full of my current projects, training sessions, hobbies, and practices, where can I piece in the new ones I discover?

I used to view blank spaces in my calendar and unproductive, lazy, or unambitious. Now, I see them as the most disciplined block of my day. The time I consciously choose nothing. Where I listen to what’s “out there” or even “in here”.

 

I challenge those close to me to do the following:

  • Take a long car ride without a podcast, audiobook, or Spotify, just listen. Let your mind wander.
  • Remove the relationship that no longer serves you or those around you. Dating for the sake of dating only keeps you busy and creates a barrier between you and the one you are truly meant for. Create space for a new person, a new practice, or a new you.
  • Block a section of your day when the phone is off, your disconnected from WiFi, and create something.

It is impossible to fill a cup with something new until it has been emptied. Empty your cup.

The Obstacle is The Way (For The Most Part)

Obstacles and roadblocks in life are usually not enjoyable, but they help you grow and mature. Whether you’re going through physical strain of a 10 minute workout, spiritual instability of a 4 hour psychedelic journey, or emotional discomfort over 6 months of litigation, the result is more often than not a better, stronger, and more resilient person.

 

It’s commonly known that exercising the body will help you become a physically stronger person. However it’s less common to think about the mind as a muscle — something that needs obstacles to grow. And it’s even less common to think about the spirit in that way, too.

 

One of my mantras in life is to constantly grow so that I can remain healthy and at peace. Life tends to be easier and more enjoyable when I am resilient, and my most rewarding experiences usually come from hard work set forth to overcome obstacles.

 

For those reasons, I constantly train and challenge my mind, body, and spirit through conscious decisions to choose discomfort.

 

When you choose discomfort over and over again, you get more comfortable with being not comfortable – physically, mentally, and emotionally. You build thicker skin, a tougher personality, and gain a better perspective on the world.

 

A few examples on how I do this:

  • I train my body and mind with exercises that involve both physical and cognitive function. Those usually include strength, balance and accuracy.
  • I also train my body and mind with cold showers, saunas and cold plunges.
  • I train my spirit by being committed to my marriage, my business, and raising my child, and through shamanic journeys that involve plant medicine.

 

Please keep in my mind that I don’t recommend putting yourself in danger, but to consciously choose discomfort with clear intentions that help you grow.

 

Note: I have borrowed The Obstacle is The Way as a mantra from Ryan Holiday, author of The Obstacle is The Way. In this book, Ryan Holiday shows how some of the most successful people in history — from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs — turned new obstacles into opportunities to get better, stronger, and tougher.