Courage and curiosity in the void

I’ve never felt anything quite like these times, for all the oddities of the last decade. It’s a feeling of rocketing forwards at supersonic speed and yet, also, like a slow motion walk through glue. I can’t seem to put energy into any projects, or, if I do, I can’t seem to anchor them so I’m not even trying to…so its like running projects in a zero-gravity room, with all the materials I’m trying to work with floating around that room, and around me, just as soon as I let go of them and yet I can so easily catch them up if I really want to.

But what I’m also acutely conscious of is that there is a choice to reach out and reattach to those objects of attention…or not. I’m aware of being able to place my attention exactly wherever I want to place my attention in each moment, instead of being forced to hand it over here or there, as it used to feel like, subtle though that control often was. At last, that wholesale coercion is gone, you could say laughed out of the building, and I’m aware of the pure freedom of placement available; of both the responsibility and the possibility this imparts…hence the feeling of both eagerness or urgency and yet the need to go slowly, not to rush (lest I go back inside where I was stuck before).  At times, I feel as though no placement of focus is better than the wrong one. I’m certainly not putting it into the mire “out there” very much, which would be to waste the creative opportunity, like chasing away the muse by playing a blast of thrash metal in that moment of pregnant pause right before you lift your brush and start to paint a new picture.

The only things I seem to be able to get “done” right now, apart from breathe, meditate, move the body in helpful ways, eat (a little) and “be”, is the clearance of some very old stuff from my garage whereby its as though I “go in” to a sort of grave-yard battle-ground of life as it was before; yes, with those old-familiar touches of sentiment tucked in amongst all the cringeworthy crap that you wish-oh-wish you’d never accumulated because, now you’re Awake, you wonder how Mother Earth will ever re-swallow all those shabby objects fashioned in materials made to long-outlast their painfully brief use or shallow source of appeal. As those other, more tender, items resurface, I  sort of cradle the memories that come up for a few moments, or even on and off for hours, noticing in myself the old-familiar, childlike, tug to hang onto pointless things that once held the old constructs of my life together…and then I let them go anyway. I try very hard to imagine them floating off into that gravity-less space, back to their source-point, more so than being manhandled by licensed waste clearers to a tip…(*)

In some cases, tuning into them before that collection moment (which is imminent as I type), and still partially riddled with the learned guilt of over-attachment to these “things” I no longer want, its almost as if they are literally begging to be added to the pyre, to be allowed to deconstruct, released back to their essence and so I am facilitating that very thing, saving them…by unimprisoning memories, associations, expectations from old family possessions…just as much as I am saving myself and perhaps all of us (we each play our part) by liberating energetic space. I won’t pretend its always easy, but it feels necessary and I will sleep better for having done this to completion by the end of today, and then what?

What will fill the void…who knows yet? I don’t think we are even nearly ready to know, we just breathe and keep exploring this territory with courage and curiosity.

*The moment I pressed “publish” on this post, the waste collectors arrived…and, for the first time in my life, they were a team of 2 women; no hacking of furniture to pieces, with relishful whoops, to fit them on the van this time, as has happened before. I’ve never been so grateful for the care and dignity these women afforded my “waste” as they carefully sorted, packed and took it away.


Posting a brief version of this on social media elicited such a resonant response from some of the people that I know, who are apparently experiencing likewise, that I decided to share this here. It partly relates back to a post I shared recently on the subject of letting go of a certain piece of furniture that I will be saying goodbye to today. If that sounds trivial compared to “world events” then let me tell you that, in recent days, I have discovered that whole portions of myself, for which I was partially shunning responsibility (as in, not facing up to them, owning or reintegrating them to make myself more sovereign and whole…as we all must in order to reach our potential), that were, as it were, being “stored” in that cumbersome and now rather brittle and scuffed piece of heavy old wood.

Stood there in my garage, there but not there because I didn’t have to see it every day, it had become like a rigid, obsolete and desperately out out-of-fashion “comforter” (our governments and figureheads, “the” establishment, those we traditionally trust with our decision-making, are no less than such a piece of furniture we have “just” grown “used to” being there…) that linked me back to the formation of all my childhood belief systems and young adulthood relationships with parents, peers and The World (it was always the very first thing I set eyes on when I came back to the nest), back to my grandparents, my inherited values and sense of who I am and what I am here to do. I had kept it for 24 years this very month out of familial duty and a deep reverence for the past but, in such a way, we preserve so many stuck-though-broken systems and false idols in our world and, the more I tuned in to its considerable yet nonsensical pull on my sentimental emotions, the more I realised how essential it was that I braved letting it go and be broken down into bits so its energy can fly free, perhaps on behalf of all my family members, and its parts upcycled into molecules. Though I no longer had use for it, I had kept it there out of sentiment and familiarity but it takes the kind of deep longing for (or at least absence of fear in the face of) void that this year has stirred up in so many people to say to such a piece of apparent permanence “thank you, it’s time for you to go now”.

Also on this theme, I refer you to an excellent summary of the current mood from Aluna Joy Yaxkin (in words more nail-on than I could summon but I feel every single one of them as though I had written it), entitled “In the Eye of the Storm“.

About Helen White

Helen White is a professional artist and published writer with two primary blogs to her name. Her themes pivot around health and wellbeing, expanded consciousness and ways of noticing how life is a constant dance between the deeply subjective and the collective-universal, all of which she explores with a daily hunger to get to know herself better. Her blog Living Whole shines a light on living with high sensitivity, dealing with trauma and healing from chronic health issues. Spinning the Light is an extremely broad-based platform where she elucidates the everyday alchemy of relentless self-exploration. A lifetime of "feeling like an outsider" slowly emerged as neurodivergence (being a Highly Sensitive Person with ADHD, synaesthesia, sensory processing challenges and other defecits overlapping with giftedness). All of these topics are covered in her blogs, written from two distinct vantage points so, if you have enjoyed one of them, you may wish to explore the other for a different, yet entirely complimentary, perspective.
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9 Responses to Courage and curiosity in the void

  1. Ashley says:

    We all use the expression ‘the void’ but I’m not sure there is such a thing! Something different, perhaps?


    • Helen White says:

      Oh, there is most certainly the possibility of “void” but we need to feel into the quantum layer to get even close to it….meditation helps enormously, allowing there to be potential for something new arising without allowing the mind to dictate what that might look like (which always comes from our pre-conceptions, prior experiences etc) gets us very close and its something you often learn to play with as an artist or creator…but then, we are all creators of our own experience. Its something William Blake tried to explore with his painting of the Vitruvian Man entitled “Glad Day”, in which the figure is set free from the constraining circle (familiar from Leonardo da Vinci’s portrayal) and has one foot up in the air, as yet undefined, going who-knows-where yet….like a joyful leap into the unknown. I think we are all so-poised at this unique moment in our “story”, now the old story is no longer holding water.


      • Ashley says:

        Helen, I’m sorry, but I may not have expressed myself fully. You asked ‘what will fill the void’. For me, there is always ‘something’! A glass may be empty but it is only empty of liquid; there is still air or an atmosphere within the confines of the glass. My house may void of any furniture but it is most definitely not empty.


      • Helen White says:

        At the quantum level, there is still void as it an undetermined part of that “something” at the minutest possible level of existence (the universe within all things…as in, the universe within a grain of sand) that can change frequency thus express in a surprising way (compared to other air or liquid etc”…) just as long as we are open to that surprise and dont always expect what we think we already know (that liquid is liquid, air is air) which determines the outcome. This is one of those mindbender discussions that can keep on going (there is no right or wrong) but you helped inspire another post as its worthy of playing with, which I always enjoy so Im grateful, as ever, for your comment. Have a lovely weekend and I hope you aren’t melting in this heat 🙂


  2. Pingback: One foot in the air | spinning the light

  3. Ashley says:

    Heat? Only warm here! I’m in Northern Ireland and whilst today was ‘warm’ it was also wet, again!


  4. This is a particularly challenging period I’m finding – I find it hard to do much of anything and yet I have a yearning to move on – everything feels like a battle at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen White says:

      I can so relate, and more so today as we plan to go “out” rather further than normal, I hadnt realised how much my calm relied on seclusion and the reliability of home and how contagious the fear is out there…one conversation with an obviously fearful person last night really threw me off my wagon…so, softly, softly, recalibrating my own inner harmony is the only way I can do this or anything right now, one gentle step at a time.

      Liked by 1 person

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