tapping into the freedom of margin


The last time I really used that word often was when I was in grade school and I was learning how to write between margins on my [wide-ruled] paper.

But recently, I’ve been musing on the word margin more metaphorically and teaching quite a lot on it as well.

I’ve been imagining my life [and truthfully the clinical / / emotional state of my clients as a piece of paper and margin as the critical space between our load and our limits.

What an alien concept in this world obsessed with time, efficiency and productivity.

In taking time to really identify what margin is and isn’t, what I’ve landed on is this: when I feel my worst, and when I’m working with my sickest clients what I see is no white and only scribbles.

Here’s how no margin shows up:

• hurry
• anxiety
• reactivity
• lack of presence

And here are the “seeds” of margin [to be planted daily]:

• a set of practices and rhythms that create space in my life
• time to recalibrate [even if it’s just a minute]
• acknowledgement of my limits [reminding me I’m human and it’s ok to have limits]

Want more?

Of course you do.

Below, I’ve curated a list of ways expand into [and create] margin in your life:

  1. wake at the same time daily [enabling a similar bed time]
  2. commute in silence – just being present and unhurried
  3. show up 10 min early for appointments without your phone giving your mind time to transition
  4. get in the longest checkout line and don’t peek at your phone [just stand there and rest]
  5. parent your phone – putting it to bed and encouraging it to sleep in
  6. keep your phone off until after you’ve taken time to breathe, meditate, read or journal in the morning
  7. set times for email and social media barring them from encroaching on a few free moments of space
  8. single task [in full screen mode]
  9. walk slower
  10. take a regular day alone for silence and solitude
  11. take a 24 hour tech detox [everything in airplane mode]
  12. define an “appointment with margin” blocking it off in your calendar as though it is a meeting – and show up!

Aside from feeling like you can take on the challenges of the day with more grace and perspective, what you’ll also find is that within margin is where you heal.

Who’s ready to pull back out their [wide-ruled] “paper” and get to work writing between the lines and the margins!?

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