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Embracing the Void

Looking back, it was at Lake McCall in Idaho that I first became acquainted with the void. My 18-year-old, overly exuberant self lit from the Tahoe after a four-hour ride and headed straight for a dock that was center piece to six surrounding docks. Each was about 100 - 200 yards apart configured in a half spoke around a bay.

I told myself, “I can totally swim to the next dock.” Three seconds later I was stripped of my shirt and sandals and was in the water heading for my goal. There’s one catch. I was not a strong swimmer. I also made one big mistake. Nobody knew I had gone into the water.

I made it halfway between the two docks and found myself in deep, deep shit. I was spent and found myself equal distance from where I was going and where I had come from. I began to panic. My head even submerged and I was able to see through the clear water to the bottom of the lake where sunken boats and other debris made a new home.

I’m going to end up down there was my first thought.

Later in life, I came to realize I was in the void—the space between two points. The void is fleeting, and often uncomfortable as hell. The space between inhale and exhale; between trigger and reaction; between two thoughts; between revolving protons and electrons.

This is also the result of releasing things that no longer serve you. The vacuum created is a void that begs to be filled, begs to be completed.

I equate this to cleaning out your closet of clothes that don’t fit. With a closet reduced in half or more, it feels empty and that empty doesn’t always feel comfortable. As humans, I believe we have it in our nature to want to fill it, even compulsively.

I’ve spent the better part of 40 years unable to bear the void any better than I could stand listening to someone grind his or her teeth, or loud snoring when all I want is some sleep.

Here’s the thing: when we quickly fill that void, it’s done out of impulse, and often out of anxiety. It gets filled with stuff made of the same vibration as the stuff that filled it; like digging out a hole in dry sand, only to have the sand refill a portion of that hole.

The way I see it, we are going to expend energy while in the void one way or another. We can spend it filling the vacancy with the same vibrational stuff that once occupied the space, or we can spend energy holding the container open long enough to invite, attract, and welcome in the things we truly want to see there. This can be a versatile piece of clothing in a closet, a friend or potential partner that matches your energy and outlook, or a career opportunity that calls to the core of your being.

Stuck between two docks, I’m only here writing this because I embraced the void. I had enough wherewithal to turn on my back and float for a few seconds to regain my breath and recharge my stamina. I struggled to the other dock the way a soldier crawls under barbed wire, but I made it right before my strength felt like it didn’t have another ounce to give.

We embraced the void because we trust our maker and we trust the universe. We trust those spaces where we can’t see because they are much like our heart. From our birth, our heart has yet to fail us. Neither has the universe or the void. It might test us to our edge, but it never fails to give us what we need to push to the next level, even if the next level is repeating the past one until we learn that lesson well enough to elevate ourselves beyond it. For those who don’t embrace that void, it might be years, even a life time. For those who do, they experience the level-up effect.

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This lesson is a great one and this piece of writing is an exquisite container. I say submit this to something you respect.

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