The Right Space

Today was a milestone for me, signing off from a listserv about writing that I have followed and often engaged in for thirty years. In my last post, I said I was on the porch, waiting for the taxi. Today the taxi came. More than getting in a taxi, it was like packing up and moving from a home I had grown to love.

I am still concerned with writing instruction, but I am more focused in my life with working for inner balance while living alone. I am thinking of Zen—the art of not being elsewhere. I think unease is mostly culturally inscribed, certainly part of the capitalist project, almost like a ghoul eating part of our insides, making us yearn to consume to fill that unfillable space. Buying one thing, which feels good, makes us want to buy more, recreate that sense of having something new, like a present. We are early in our lives programmed to want more. It’s difficult to deprogram ourselves from wanting more, from wanting to be elsewhere, kind of like kicking drinking. It is not easy to find peace in being alone. 

I am thinking about the paintings I have been hanging in my house. I wait for the paintings to find places for themselves, a preferred practice to hanging them right away. I place them on the floor beneath the wall space we might agree on. After a few days, I know whether it’s the right space.

3 Replies to “The Right Space”

  1. Not resisting the space that arrived when I became single or when I retired was a challenge for me. Somehow I knew that it was wise not to fill it; I knew I might make a mistake if I tried to fill it up with something, someone or some busyness. I stayed still somewhat out of fear. Then the space widened and deepened and so did my raison d’etre. It’s a nice practice just to live peacefully with the space. By the way, I have 2 pictures still sitting on the floor, and today, just an hour ago, they themselves chose the wall where they wanted to be hung, next to each other. They told me not to overthink their placement—I didn’t and now it’s done, and it is good. Not wanting to be elsewhere opens up a space that settles me down; I want to practice it more and more, so I can be more aware of who I am, so that I can love myself and others.
    Thanks for sharing that you waited on the porch, and then took the taxi. So brave of you, Irvin Peckham. You are spacious!

    1. Love your thoughts, Diana. I actually hadn’t connected (at least consciously) the space for my pictures with that space both you and I are dealing with. I was thinking of it more generally. I loved your pictures!

      Remind me: I’m going to start posting on another blog about spaces and not drinking. I pick up this theme more consciously there.

  2. Space is possibility (architectural theory + Ricoeur); there is no right space, so you always are just “there”…which is kind of cool, I think ;). Please email me the link to the blog about space’ I’m intrigued

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