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September 2, 2022

The Space Between

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In life our focus often goes toward the main thing. It’s the lead singer of a band, the face in the picture, and the food on the plate. What often goes underappreciated is everything else that’s required to create something. What’s only partly understood is how that thing in front represents everything that had to happen in the background to make it all work. But not only that, a lot of the value actually lives in the spaces between the main pieces.

There are a few examples of this - Recently I was taught that “music is the space between the notes”. If there was no space, all the notes would make a chaotic sound being played all at once. It’s our ability to get creative with the spacing that is the real art of making music.

Another example is what we call “reading between the lines”. When someone tries to communicate, they choose their words carefully. But reading between the lines is knowing that you cannot accept the words at face value. The context gives more meaning to the words than the words itself. What recent events, tonality, motivations, emotions, and history are implied in the words. The body language and the energy of the delivery. That’s the space between, because as we know the same words can have very different meanings when said in different ways.

The space between is all about the unspoken, underrepresented truth that holds the majority of the meaning. There’s a process to everything that is carefully crafted to communicate something specific. The problem is, a lot of that space is subjective. It’s open to interpretation because it’s not overtly stated. So our mission then becomes to acquire as much data and context as possible so we can more correctly understand exactly what someone else is telling us. 

This involves being more observant of others. This involves putting our own biases aside so as to not muddy the details. Overall this involves us directing more of our attention to the spaces between so that we can be better informed about everything that’s happening in the periphery, that are implicitly bundled into the ‘main thing’.

So to integrate this for you today, reflect on this question and set the intention to really listen to the space between the music and to read between the lines - How can you be more aware of all the spaces between?

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