In this fourth part of the Grok Tool series, lets talk about space. I am referring to your inner space and the slightly external space around you. The sanctity of the space around us is key to grokking in fullness.
We all need some form of space. The instinct is part of the primal code of our essence. Having our own space that we are able to control and influence is key to our sanity. Go without your own space for too long and you feel wound up, ready to snap, and maybe a little crazy. Taking space for yourself is important for one reason: to be the most fully you that you are meant to be, you must take care of yourself first. If you don’t, you will not have the stamina and endurance to go on as long as you need.
Why do we need space and how does it help us to grok more fully? What is space and what does it look like? These are simple questions that we all know the answer to. When you try to articulate the response though, the words become more nebulous and awkward to handle.
Space, The Final Frontier
We need space on two key levels – an instinctual/primal level, and on an emotional/mental level.
As mentioned, the first is hard coded into us. In the wild it is call territoriality. While we have risen above our animal nature, the patterns are still there. When someone invades your space, your gut says, “This is wrong.” Hair stands up on the back of your neck, muscles tense and the fight or flight mechanism is triggered.
The emotional space also comes from our anthropological history. Humans have always been social animals. We have not always been an animal that lived in a metropolis. The overcrowding of our cities is a phenomenon that was never accounted for in our evolutionary formula. On the high end, tribes of a few hundred were all that was needed for safety and sustenance. On the low end, a family works together to provide necessities for living and all of the “social” interaction needed. This is not to say that there are not benefits to massing in one area and collaborating on the large scale. Most of human achievement has come from this.
All of this proximity to leaves very little personal space. Once it was an incredibly simple matter to seek solitude and quiet in order to reflect. Now it is something that must be purposefully crafted and protected. You have to go out of your way to hear your own thoughts – meditation, outdoor activities, journaling, anything that requires a bit of uninterrupted time is harder to achieve today than it would have been in our collective history.
Let me repeat with emphasis – our personal space is, “now something that must be purposefully crafted and protected.” The true reason that this personal space is truly the final frontier is because it is often the final frontier that we protect. It takes so much for us to “protect” our space. When a family member or friend comes into our personal space, how often do you put yourself on hold to attend to them? Is it always necessary, or could you put yourself first? You’ve heard someone say, “I just need some space,” or, “I’m feeling smothered.” You may have even said it yourself. Those are examples of not taking space. This space is so important that when we are stressed out, space is often the first thing we seek. It exerts a more powerful effect over your life when sought outside of crises.
Your Space is Under Your Control
The bad news is that no one is going to let you have your space. You have to stake it out, protect it, keep others out, and generally act like the territorial beast that you evolved these instincts from. You have to take it. You must claim the first level of space – the primal and physical – in order to descend deeper into yourself and take care of the emotional/mental space that will keep you fresh.
We all have distractions that are important to us. Most of them can get to you in one way very easily – your cell phone. If you’re going to make space to be with yourself, turn your phone off for a little while. Addicted to email? Then close the browser window, shut down the software and don’t let anyone in. What do you do when someone tries to step into this space that you are creating for yourself? Kindly and politely explain what you are trying to do by creating space, and ask them to respect that.
In short – set clear boundaries. Your space can be anything from one inch outside your skin to an entire room, whatever you feel you need. Letting people intrude on your space chips away at the foundations of your strength. Setting your boundaries may cause conflict, but from experience, I can promise you that they will respect you for your clarity. Those used to having unlimited access to you may become upset. Let them – it is not your fault. You are taking care of you, the big #1 in your life, so that you can do what you must. Ask them why they are getting upset that you are taking time to care for yourself. The question may spark an important conversation or open their eyes.
What Do You Use Space For?
Meet the unmet needs in your life. The practical part of this article is the most simple:
- Experience the quiet.
- Feel your connection to the world.
- Write in a journal.
- Create something.
- Take a nap.
- Do anything that renews you.
Many of the other Grok Tools in this series are an excellent way to utilize your space. Taking and holding space for yourself, gives you an incredible opportunity to grok. In Stranger in a Strange Land, when Michael (the Man From Mars) needs to grok, he always removes himself from those around him, expands his time-sense (wouldn’t that be nice to do?), and reflects until he has come to an understanding of the subject he is trying to grok. He is an excellent example to follow
Your space is yours, to use as you see fit. What have you found to be the best ways to use your personal space? Has it helped you to grow?