Breathing Space….Is that even a thing?!

My selected word/phrase for the year is Breathing Space. This idea of a word or phrase for your year, was part of the Juiced up Best Art Year 2020 discussions. You can see my plans for 2020 in my January blog here.  Now, for those of you that know me, it will probably make you laugh out loud!!  Because, I’m not that good at this ‘taking a breather’ notion.  In fact, I’m really hopeless at it.  So, why choose Breathing space and what do I think it’s going to mean for me this year-both in my life and my art?

Breathing space pembrokeshire

The Cambridge dictionary defines Breathing space as:

‘A period of rest in order to increase strength or give you more time to think about what to do next’.  

Now with that definition, I’m not sure why anyone wouldn’t want to take regular breathing space?  And it goes on, with some other related words: recharge then, (would you believe?): slob, moribund and dormancy.   The later, may of course be the reason why I am rubbish at this: I somehow give the notion a negative label.   I have somehow perceived it as ‘wasting time, and a lazy thing to do.  When I came up with the phrase for my 2020 word, I didn’t think about it, it just came into my head in a moment.  I think there is something important that I need to learn here about the value of recharging.  

Breathing Space (In life)

It is so easy, with the pace of life and everything 24/7, including social media, to forget to stop.  We are habitual creatures.  So once we establish a pattern, we tend to keep repeating it.  

breathing space Liz Ackerley Art

This weekend, for the first time this year, I didn’t spend Saturday working.  I went to a café, had a good chat, watched the world go by and went to the cinema.  But this breathing space didn’t come naturally.  If I am honest, the thought of doing this blog nudged me into doing some of that!  But I did it, and I felt better for it.  It somehow gave me space to think and to gain perspective on things.  When I go from one thing to another, always focusing on my endless list of tasks, I loose that perspective.  Anxiety and stress builds and I can’t see the wood for the trees!  Now when the weather improves it will more likely include going for walks, as well as reading a book, doing pilates, anything that breaks the cycle of work, even for a few hours.   From yesterday’s experience and other occasions, I am beginning to learn how much value this breathing space provides.  It makes me feel fresher, more able to deal with other pressures, and it restores me.  But breaking the cycle is hard.   I intend to incorporate breathing space time into my planner!! 

Breathing Space (In my art) 

This week, I have been following an excellent free online workshop called Art2Life.  It’s made me think about many things, in particular:

  • About the importance of contrasts in art (that’s essentially what the sessions have been about) and 
  • About whether to make my life even more busy by taking an intensive 12 week programme!

So what has this got to do with breathing space?  The contrasts idea is interesting.  So, in a busy life, we need  to contrast that with calm and quiet time (the opposite).  Similarly, in a painting, we can maximize the impact of the busy areas, by sitting next to quieter, calmer areas.  It makes perfect sense!

breathing space in a painting

Now, If I take this 12 week programme , I realize that my breathing space will be even more important.  So it’s not whether I am very busy that is the issue, it’s whether I balance that with some breathing space.  It must be possible for all of us to do that?

And as I type this, an email comes into my box from Etsy:  ‘Need a little breather…..’ Very topical!!  It’s a slow process, but I’m learning!  

How about you.  How do you ensure breathing space in your life?