Whitespace

Whitespace

Yesterday I closed my office door at 3:00, went home, insisted the dog get on the couch with me and pulled a blanket up to my chin. It was a beautiful day in Salmon, sunny and 50 degrees, the brown hills humming like spring. Friends were out fishing, boating and drinking beers on back porches. I paid my bills, read a magazine, streamed a TV show and pathetically convinced Casey to bring me back half his leftovers from dinner.

I was pretty sure I was coming down with the cold that's been going around (scratchy throat! muddled thoughts! tired!) but today I feel pretty good, which makes me wonder what was really going on. 

I'm telling you all this because the photos I had planned for this week would suggest otherwise. The last two weeks have taken me from Boise to Baja to the Bench Hut at the top of the Sawtooth Mountains. I loved it. There are so many juicy, pastel-colored images and memories I want to share:

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a dance/workout class in Boise I can't get enough of

pelicans diving into the water under rainbow sunrises

trying to learn how to SUP board on ocean waves

yoga with incredible teacher Sara Close

values work with nine other badass ladies

hiking to a freshwater plunge pool, two teenagers speaking a language I don't know - but so obviously in puppy love - playing under the waterfall

hikes in the Boise foothills

a Day of Remembrance for Idaho guides

soaking in a hot spring on Valley Creek as the snow raged outside

hip deep powder and bluebird mountain summit views

falling asleep with eleven of my favorite people nestled around me

the laughter, the airports and the long winding highway roads that got me from here to there.

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But I'm learning that it's okay to take some time to process. In this Baja Hello Soul retreat, this was labeled "whitespace". Which of course I couldn't take during my five days in Mexico because I was so busy drinking up all the sounds and views and feels of a new place. But now, I can feel my body craving it, insisting that I slow down.

Up until the last year or so, I've avoided whitespace as much as possible. A lot of guides and adventurers and type A ladies do this. I like plans, movement, work, creation and forward motion. But I also realize that when you don't process something, it doesn't just go away, it just gets procrastinated to a later date. The wise ones among you, or the ones who don't struggle with relaxing, are saying, "Yeah obviously, Emerald." But I'm guessing some of you are on my page too. This was a big aha for me.

Whitespace is a term at the core of what Sara does with her Hello Soul work, a concept developed by her to apply to our lives, inspired by the idea of whitespace in visual design. You can read more about her approach to whitespace here.

Whitespace is the idea that the blank or negative space in graphic design or art helps us focus and give meaning to what is there. I've always thought it was weird I sort of loved cleaning the house - but that was whitespace. Long showers? Whitespace too. Driving the long, cell-service-less roads around Idaho and Montana? Yup, just another call for whitespace. Not planning a weekend and just letting it happen? Critical whitespace. For me, whitespace happens in the routines and places I am most familiar. New places and experiences make me hungry, it's hard for me to relax in them. The places I already know are where I can wipe my dry erase board clean again. It's so welcome to finally have a word for something I've felt, but never been able to articulate.

I wanted to write something tighter and more concise for you about this - but I promised you I'd try to write these weekly journals from exactly where I was at, regardless of what came out. So know that I'm giving myself some time to let my canvas widen out so I can place these colors against their negative, the routines of home, in a way that feels right.

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