The Brief Blank Stillness

Plays have intermissions. Books have chapter breaks. Museums have white space between art. There is a blink of silence between songs on the radio.

These are architected reset points. The playwright, author, curator, composer wants the audience to take a breath, a pause. This brings the energy and the temperature down. The audience goes into the next stage with feet returned to solid ground and stopwatch returned to zero.

It’s an elegant way to get recentered.

Why not, then, bring the power of brief blank stillness into our day-to-day?

Between calls, we give ourselves a sliver of empty space on the calendar.

We take lunch away from the desk to zip up the morning and prepare to unzip the afternoon.

After crossing off one to-do, we sit at our desk listening to a sweet and mellow song before going onto the next to-do.

We cannot shed all that has been, nor would we want to. A playwright doesn’t want us to forget Act I, after all. With an intermission, though, we lower the volume of what was.

Any humdrum, ordinary day is studded with transition points. Blaze through them and we can smear the past’s residue onto the future’s possibility. Pause in them, and we can reset ourselves on the threshold of the upcoming moment.

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