Creating Space

27th May 2022

We recently received a fascinating email from Brené Brown. Titled ‘Creating Space’, its content was anything but what we were expecting.

We thought Brené might have included her thoughts on creating space within her physical environment, perhaps pointing us in the direction of a decluttering method or two. Instead, she took us on a journey to how she creates space in what is sometimes referred to as the sacred pause. 

‘Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.’

These words, most commonly attributed to Viktor Frankl, have become the sacred pause by which Brené now lives. If converted to a formula, Viktor’s quote might look something like S(    )R.

Growing up, Brené wasn’t aware of this space and would often find herself putting the R before the S was even complete! No space, no choosing a response.

As she became more aware of the power within these parentheses however, Brené employed the self-care rituals of sobriety, sleep, prayer, working out, practicing curiosity, therapy and intentional breathing to create a wide space, thus allowing her to choose her most appropriate response.

Both personally and professionally, Brené noticed that her ability to keep the space open between stimuli and response had been narrowing. As a result, and for the first time ever, Brené made the difficult decision to take a summer sabbatical. After a couple of challenging years, she’s creating the space to breathe again.

Her hope is that when she ‘returns’ to life, her capacity to maintain the sacred pause will be restored and her responses more aligned with who she wants to be.

As so often happens when we read something as thought provoking as Brené’s email, our thoughts turn to needle and thread.

At first, we found ourselves incredibly grateful that our time spent stitching is one of the many tools we have in our self-care ritual. A tool that helps us create the space we need mentally and emotionally to use our sacred pause well.

Then, however, we realised there are times we pick up needle and thread only to find how we feel in our ‘parentheses’ is anything but restorative and calming! It may be that ‘real’ life gets in our way as we struggle to disconnect and enjoy the stitching before us. Perhaps the project is far harder or taking longer to complete than we’d initially anticipated and our patience is running short. Possibly the tools we’re using or the threads we’ve gathered aren’t quite right for the task at hand and the stitching is now more difficult than it needs to be.

Whatever the reason, Brené’s email made us realise that sometimes there’s even wisdom in occasionally taking a short sabbatical from needle and thread. Doing so will ensure our response is always positive and we will continue to enjoy the calming, meditative and restorative push and pull of needle and thread through fabric.

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