Negative Spaces, Positive Thoughts

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An essential concept in design theory is the use of negative space: the area around and in between the subject matter.  Basically, the idea is that what you leave out is as important as what you put in.  For example, if I decided to paint a landscape, the spaces of sky and the deep shadows help support the shape of the trees.  Even though the object (the positive space) is what people tend to notice, the negative space is what keeps the eye moving through and around the painting.  The cooperation between the positive and negative spaces make the painting continually engaging.

The same can be said of the mind.

This past month, I found myself on an unexpected journey of fascinating concepts about the fundamentals of my beliefs.  As I struggled to examine my mindset about God, love, humility, relationships and suffering, I become acutely aware that I needed to challenge my every thought.  My mind moved through negative space where I struggled to write for I could not articulate the inner quest.  What I held as foundational was as important as what I did not hold as foundational.  The question What is left out? kept my mind engaged.  As I transitioned from being the object to being the space around the object, I found myself on the precipice of reorientation of assumptions and beliefs.

Those negative spaces in my mind helped to form positive thoughts:

  • Having a disease is just a physical condition under which I function.  My suffering is not the object in my life’s painting; it is the negative space which helps to frame my portrait.
  • My image is not only in the likeness of God, but I share that image with all of humankind.  When I suffer, others suffer; and, when others suffer, I suffer.  In our suffering, we share our humanity; just as in our joy, we share our humanity.
  • The negative space around each person paints a picture of how they are joined to the next person.  In return, they then become the negative space of the next person.  Each one of us is the object and the non-object.

Let us begin to experience the world through our neighbor’s eyes; let their sorrows be our sorrows and their joys our joys.

 

Published by

Rose Wolfe (Living Free with disAbilities)

Let's get to the elephant first: I have myotonic dystrophy which defines my physical limitations, but it does not define me. Without the distraction of physical activities, I have found my passions: (1) Encouraging others to live more fully with fun, faith, and hope; (2) finding freedom in oil painting; (3) writing about my experiences; and (4) encouraging others to live more passionately. It is my belief that every person lives with at least one disability - for impairments are not limited to those with chronic illnesses. Many neurotypical people are psychological architects who have constructed enclosures in which they trap themselves. Mindsets, attitudes, and perceptions are fluid realities. Many of us have forgotten that it is possible how to live beyond our disabilities. Life may have challenges but faith and hope are within reach. I have made my choice: I am LivingFreeWithdisAbilities.

18 thoughts on “Negative Spaces, Positive Thoughts”

  1. I love your metaphor as I contemplated it. A tree observed as positive space looks very different through the seasons, green and full in summer, brilliant in fall, skeletal in winter, yet the same tree seen from the negative space looks very much the same. The essence and identity of the tree doesn’t change, the impact it has on our senses runs the whole range of human experience. We present ourselves very different depending on our ‘season of life’, but the core of our identity remains.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. *Rose, excuse me.

      Let us begin to experience the world through our neighbor’s eyes; let their sorrows be our sorrows and their joys our joys.

      Also, I wish the world would take on that mantra…not an entirely new hope but always there.

      Have a good day, Mrs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A very thoughtful and intelligent post Rose πŸ™‚ But my main reason for leaving a comment was to say ‘Well Done’ for offering to support Tammy with her ‘Power of One’ vigil on Thursday, my thoughts and prayers will be with the two of you πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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