Making Space
Monday July 3, 2023

You have 5 free post views remaining this month.

Become a Member for as little as $3/mo and enjoy unlimited reading of TSLL blog.

A couple weeks ago I cleared out a garden bed that had become more than untidy – weeded, relocating the bird café that originally resided there and made space for a new climbing rose I wanted to add as well as creating empty space for a handful of new plants, even though at the time I wasn’t sure yet what those would be. However, what I did know was that what I had removed wasn’t working, thus it had to go. With this decision, I made space for the ideas that would be best for what would bring joy to my garden to come to the forefront and make themselves known when the time was right.

Part of what provided the impetus to clear out this garden bed was the beauty of one rose that I planted this past fall that was now blooming for the first time – the Lady of Shalott (shown above, or to the right). This particular garden bed sits visually directly outside of my dining room window and is the primary focal point when I sit on my garden porch. Having invested primarily in the front of my home and the boulevards, areas of the garden that the public see, it has become clear to me that it is now time to invest my attention in the part of my garden that is private and solely enjoyed by me or guests in my home.

At different times of the day, as the light shifts and changes, the Lady of Shalott rose, all three blooms thus far ☺️, appears in different hues of its deep peach, and each are equally exquisite. Each time I gaze upon it, it pulls me immediately to the present moment, and I am in awe. And so now, after three weeks of imagining what this space could be and how it would come to be, my discovery has been (and after nearly four years of living at Le Papillon) that I want to double down on the experience this rose is creating. More moments of being stopped in my tracks, of being slowed down to savor, to take in the awe simply gazing at the rose inspires. And so, over the coming year, a couple more Lady of Shalott roses (shrubs from David Austin, but available from many quality rose growers) will be permanently added to this garden bed, to hopefully over time create during the summer months of June, July and August and partly into September, a space of repeat flowering antique peach roses in abundance with the most awesome fragrance juxtaposed with deep purple hollyhocks standing tall behind them near the blackberry bush. The climbing rose that was added this year will pull the eye upward, creating a frame for the shrub rose that will be the star of this garden bed.

And while it will take time, having clarity, knowing what brings me delight and calm and inspiration has finally been discovered. But first I had to make space and not have expectations or rush to fill it immediately. Eventually, the idea became vividly clear.

The gift of making space.

The objective of making space is not to fill the void, but to give ourself, more specifically our mind, room to think, to ponder to wander and then, when the opportunity crosses its path, to discover.

The natural tendency, if we are not the master of our mind, is to ‘need’ to know exactly what will fill the void should we either choose to make a change or a change is thrust upon us. The void could be created after we leave a relationship, someone passes away, we relocate our lives to a new town or country, we step into a new career that is less steady, anything where we step away from something that already exists, is already known. Again, remember, the mind likes to ‘know’, and when it doesn’t, if we are not aware of how it functions, we fill the void with anything, and typically not what would support and provide nourishment to cultivate the life that would align with our true selves. Regular readers of TSLL may recall that this is where the self-sabotage cycle will jump in if we are unaware of how our mind works. The Lizard Mind likes to know, even if what we know is false, unhelpful or even detrimental. But when we know our mind and how it functions, we know this truth already. When we make space, we are actually giving ourself a wonderful gift if we have the discipline and the awareness to know why we have created the temporary space.

How can we begin making space for these ahas and opportunities that will best align with our true selves?

Begin by savoring the everyday moments (I have many posts on this topic here). This requires that you slow down and resembles on an everyday scale the space you will eventually make and temporarily hold available to expanding and deepening the quality of your life. When you slow down you are intentionally choosing to observe what is going on around you without demanding that it be anything other than what it is. Yes, you can cultivate many of the surroundings through the relationships you have built over time, the environment you have nurtured and chosen – interiors, people, job, neighborhood, your garden, etc. – but even if you do this, you still have to choose to slow down and savor the beauty it brings to your everydays.

Once you are regularly savoring your everydays, as I shared in yesterday’s July 2nd entry (see below) in my latest book The Road to Le Papillon: Daily Meditations on True Contentment, you begin to discover with grounded clarity what you are passionate about and you also discover that now, because you are slowing down, that you have the energy to invest in what you discover about what nourishes your true self.

And it is because of the space you have opened up in your days that you gain intuitive guidance to proceed with honesty, clarity and confidence as you make the decisions of where you need to make space in your life. It can be something as simple as clearing out a garden bed as I shared above, or leaving an area in the house, possibly an entire room, empty until you know with confidence how you want to curate it. Making space may also appear in the form of not making certain decisions yet and just setting something aside until you feel more clear about how you will proceed.

To the latter point, my journey to finally finding the home I would buy in Bend (the house I fondly named Le Papillon) involved waiting four years until I first found it and then knew this would be my home, so proceeded to make an offer. It was not my intention to rent for four years, nor what I initially desired or imagined on my ‘life plan’ (which I have since long let go), but I finally did let go and set my dream of owning a home in Bend aside, never forgetting about it and got on with my life seizing the opportunities that presented themselves which were wildly beyond what I could have imagined. And that is what making space gifts us with: delightful surprises, life enriching experiences that deepen your clarity of how you want to live as you continue to travel forward on your life journey.

During those four years, I discovered and then honed my deep love for French cooking, attending two different cooking classes in France, creating the cooking show and ultimately, knowing for absolute certainty, that the home I purchased would need to be able to have a kitchen that enabled me to cook and share my cooking with you, the readers of TSLL. Case in point, I may have made this aha discovery about myself later in life, but it would have come with a much more expensive price tag (remodeling my kitchen today as opposed to 2020 when I did do so would have been cost prohibitive), or it may not have happened at all because I would have purchased a house too soon and strapping myself into mortgage payments when what I actually was able to do, solely being a renter, was travel to France and Britain multiple times during that four-year period which is what helped me become even more clear about the focus and direction of TSLL thus eventually giving me the confidence to step away from teaching permanently and fully focus on what is shared here on the blog and podcast as well as in books and online courses.

And it all begins with giving space, making space, because it does have to be a conscious choice, and you do have to consciously task yourself with being disciplined enough to sit with the unknown.

Screenshot 2023-07-02 at 11.12.18 AM

Let’s talk about sitting with the unknown for a moment because not making space is often because we are uncomfortable with this skill. Yep, sitting with the unknown, being able to let go of ‘knowing’ is a skill, and it is a priceless one if you have the trust in the universe to welcome it into your toolkit. I shared in episode #100 of the podcast 10 Things People Who Have Found Contentment Understand about Uncertainty, and I encourage your to explore it (read or listen) because as much as holding the space you have made open is about sitting comfortably with the unknown, it is also about knowing why it is important to do so. I want to talk about three of the points included in this episode. First, understand that growth can only occur when you let go, and in this case, let go of knowing immediately how you will fill the space you have created.

If you accept this truth, that the growth you say you want can only happen by not knowing how you will grow, meaning how it will unfold, what opportunities will be presented, then you are already significantly closer to discovering what you hope you will find when you began the journey of making space. The other important truth to know is in order to attain what you say you want, the universe wants to know if you actually want it. In other words, are you just talk, are you just wanting something ‘more comfortable’ or are you willing to struggle a bit, be uncomfortable for a while, so long as you are headed in the right direction, to eventually experience what you seek? And the final truth I want to point out is when we make space in our lives, we give ourselves the gift of getting to know our true selves. If we really pay attention, if we really engage with the present moment and refrain from bringing any ‘baggage’ with us, we will discover things, just as I discovered about myself regarding cooking and France and realizing that I needed to begin a new chapter in my life, that will lead us to decisions and choices that align with our true selves unlike anything has in the past.

So with all of that said, where in your life can you make space? What currently isn’t harmonious with your heart? Where or what do you need to remove, let go, step away from or change? Not changing toward a new way of doing something, but instead choosing to open your life up to a blank canvas, giving yourself time to ponder, experience and explore what the next best decision will be.

I have a feeling you already know, even if it is just a tickle of a thought at this moment. And I know that if you are brave enough, you will be giving yourself a priceless gift that will forever change and improve the quality of your life.

Thank you for choosing to stop by today and wishing you a wonderful week. Bonne journée.


13 thoughts on “Making Space

  1. Lovely post to read this morning. Making space as opposed to honing a plan for something very specific feels freeing, liberating – allowing space to respond to life’s offerings.

    I really can’t wait for your Intro to French Cooking! Any thoughts about an in-person gathering in the U.K.? 😀

    1. Thank you for stopping by and as you shared, liberating indeed. 😌 Great description.

      Thank you for sharing you are looking forward to the courses! I am excited to make them available.

      To answer your question, I actually already have an in-person gathering scheduled in the UK. It was announced during this most recent British Week. Learn more here –

      All in-person gatherings will be intimate (a small group of people, who have secured their spot) and special in their location. Future events will be announced directly to TOP Tier Members and typically during French and British Week. 😌

      1. I missed the date for the afternoon tea but hopefully another chance will come around again 😊

        1. I hope so too! This first gathering will be a trial, but I have a very good feeling, it will go well and there will be many more opportunities. 🙂 Thank you for expressing interest. If there is anywhere you in particular would enjoy seeing/dining at, etc., please do share. I hope to meet with readers both in the cities but also in the countrysides of both Britain and France as years unfold. 🙂

  2. Just wondering — are you ever concerned that the owner may suddenly need to sell one day, then all of your investment of time and money could potentially be lost?

    1. Joanne,

      I am not sure I understand your question. I am the owner 😌 I used to rent as I shared – for four years prior to finding my house in 2019, until I found Le Papillon. I own Le Papillon. 😌 You can read this post about finding Le Papillon and my entire most recent book – The Road to Le Papillon is about finding my house literally and figuratively (true contentment).

  3. It’s a lovely, freeing thought -to give yourself the gift of space. I love that you wrote that a person will discover new things about their true self. Feeling these feelings myself, I ventured out to creating a small shade garden in a wasted corner of my yard. My usual ways would be to purchase border bricks to frame the space, but for some reason I didn’t. I think it is going to expand more, and I want to be open to more ideas for that. This point of view is new to me, a definite “get it done and move on” person!

    Soooo excited about your upcoming online classes. You can bet I will be an active participant!

    1. Thank you for sharing an example in your own life where you are making space Victoria. I am excited for you as you see this corner of your garden mature. The patience will bring much beauty as you thoughtfully care, plant and cultivate it.

      Thank you for expressing interest in the courses. I too am looking forward to bringing them to readers ☺️ Wishing you a wonderful week!

  4. Shannon,
    Thank you for this essay, it is exactly what I needed to read this morning. (Although, I didn’t realize I needed it.) I have been experiencing some health issues that have slowed me down in a big way. I am use to busy days and often a full schedule. My “aha moment” this morning . . . . finding space to care more intentionally for my health/well being. To do that will mean clearing out some physical space in my home, and focusing on finishing those projects that will create not just space, but calm in my every days.
    You have said all this many times (and better written, too) yet today I was able to receive the message in a full and complete way. Grateful for your thoughtful words, Shannon.

    1. Agree Julia, this lovely message landed with me today. I have taken some time off work to create some space for self care and stress reduction. I recommend Jillian Pransky’s book “Deep Listening” if you enjoy yoga and mindful approaches to self care, her story is interesting and written beautifully. Best wishes to you x

      1. Erzsi,
        Thank you for your kind thoughts and the book recommendation. I have often thought if only self care was a manicure . . . but I have come to know it is so much more. Today the awakening from Shannon’s essay was for me that making space is indeed self care. I will definitely look for Deep Listening. Wishing you light and love on your journey.

  5. Bonjour, Shannon.
    Perfect reading for my first retirement Monday as I sit on the cobblestone patio, behind a 1929 cottage, surrounded by the bluestone terraces built by my husband, with David Austin roses on one side and laurel/japonica/maple/yew/hydrangea/agapanthus on the other.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

From TSLL Archives
Updated British Week 1.jpg
Updated French Week 2.jpg