The Japanese concept of ‘Ma’ means negative space, both in the physical and metaphysical forms. Negative space is the place in our minds where we turn experience in to story, it’s also the space between our desk and bed that defines work and relaxation, or the emptiness that sorts the focal point of an artwork into the rule of thirds.
Tips to open negative space in your life:
- Take a mental break: From whatever it is that is cluttering your mind. You can identify what is cluttering your mind by looking for your intuition. In Hawaiian culture the intuition can be defined as the ‘thoughts you keep returning to when you are relaxed’, and a feeling of discomfort roughly around your solar plexus. If you take a mental break by removing the sources of these thoughts and intuitive feelings from your life for a while, you can open space for something creative you are looking to work on. Whether the thing cluttering your mind is work, a boyfriend, or even a friend, choosing to let it go for a week or two can be extremely helpful in guiding you back to a creative space.
- Open physical spaces within your home: Remove unnecessary clothing from your wardrobe, or take all your art supplies off the surface of your desk and place them in shelves underneath. The physical manifestation of a clean slate can be just as effective as a closed door or a walk outdoors, bringing you a fresh slew of ideas to mold, and shapes to take out of the air.
- Take space away from your usual surroundings: A week off work the truly soak in the Ma and Hygge in your own home can often seem like a luxury. I recently took six weeks off work and it feels amazing. You know how a two week holiday never really seems like enough? It’s because it takes your brain a while to remove the stressful space in your mind designated for you work worries – from commuting to office gossip. I always feel so relaxed by week two of the holiday groove, but then it’s over! I’m currently halfway through a six week staycation and I’ve never cleaned, cooked or decluttered more!