It’s not that most of us don’t have enough physical space to move around in. Many of us live in our own houses, within which we have our own rooms. We live in communities where we can walk outside and down the road to a nearby park, or drive to a nearby beach or forest walking track.
We can explore the cafes and shops near by, or visit the local library. And as we are increasingly able to re-enter the wider world, we can board planes to explore other states or countries.
So why do so many of us feel as if we don’t have enough space?
When the pandemic broke out, we were told to stay home. Home was the safest place to be. In the face of any type of perceived danger, our human nature tells us to trust in the consensus about where a safe space is and cling to them. This is a normal human reaction, and in the face of real threat it does keep us alive.
In many ways, external threats are simpler to us. We see the tiger, we run. We confirm the virus, we hide. But while we can hide from external danger, we can't hide from ourselves.
But we try. Oh boy do we try to run and hide from ourselves. That's what we are doing when we distract ourselves from the internal chaos we live with at every moment. We work. We eat. We drink. We stream. We scroll. We organise and exercise and grasp onto rituals for comfort. None of these things being necessarily bad or good, just distracting.
When we were no longer able to move around our wider spaces, the distractions we used in those areas were removed. We couldn’t go to the office, or the gym. We were allowed to go to the local park but with Big Brother watching our proximity to others. We were forced to stay home, with our families, flatmates, pets and screens. Many of the fun distractions were removed - no more barista coffees, cocktails at a bar, or community marathons. And in their place we got increasingly scary distractions in the news. Stay home. Stay safe.
In this situation and mindset it is impossible to feel content or happy, and is the true source of the ‘not having enough space’ feeling.
The pain of imperfection
Pandemic and lockdowns aside, in modern society we're not really encouraged to find space within ourselves. While there are increasing efforts to encourage people to do so, mainly as a result of more people suffering from anxiety and depression, the main messages we are given as we grow up in the 21st century are to look good and be successful.
So when we find ourselves without the perfect body, family, house or work, no matter our privilege, we can often feel as if we are just surviving. We lose sight of just how good we have it. But we know. We know deep down that we have it good. You don't have to look far to see just how much worse your life could be. So we feel guilty. We feel shame. And it closes in on us.
How can we find more space?
The truth is that no matter where or how you live in any moment, you have access to endless space within you. It doesn’t require an Instagram-worthy home, a perfectly groomed park, or a stunning beach on a tropical island.
To chart a course to this space is the same for everyone. Call it meditation, call it prayer. Call it whatever you like, it’s all the same. With an experienced person sitting with you, or on your own if you’re comfortable, you close your eyes and shut out all the world’s distractions. Notice your thoughts, flitting in and out of your mind. Wade into the chaotic but beautiful mess of your feelings and hug them one-by-one before moving on. Resist the urge to create more stories - just try to watch it all unfold.
At some point, you'll find a sense of openness. Endless, timeless openness. You may only get a glimpse, or you may remain for longer. It's a space you can never stay in forever, but one that’s always there. And then when you re-enter the world you'll be better at identifying the distractions that are keeping you from it.
Are you low on space? Or have you just not visited the space inside for a while? Maybe it’s a bit of both. Either way, finish reading these words, turn off your phone and shut your eyes.
A Found—Space infrared sauna can be the perfect space to unwind and go inwards. Speak with a Sauna Specialist to learn more here.