the presence of emptiness

I know the title to this piece sounds like an oxymoron – if something is empty (if there is nothing) how can there be presence? Emptiness has a true presence – it is a vacancy ready for occupation. Emptiness fills the spot in a person’s absence. In letting go of the past, emptiness is what comes when the feeling that used to be present is gone. Emptiness is having a wordless place within the desire to write and express. Emptiness is looking for the person that I used to be and finding she no longer exists. My past selves are but a memory to me.

Where there is nothing, though, makes real the possibility of something. As I let go of anything, I become more available to other things in life. If I am not careful in my growing to fill myself with something vibrant, new, and colorful, emptiness will settle its placid self down in my life and occupy any available space. Then, I become vulnerable to the Law of Distraction.

The Law of Distraction is anything that will take my attention away from the fact that I am empty, and, generally, the Law of Distraction is attached to the Path of Least Resistance. Whatever is easily available in my life becomes my focus and distracts me from paying attention to my emptiness. I am still empty, but I have all of these distractions that require my energy, so emptiness sits back in the easy chair, with a beer in one hand and the television remote in the other, and makes itself at home.

At some point, I need to confront emptiness. In paying attention to what I think, do, and feel when I am empty, I come to know my default attitudes and ways of being. Not all of them serve me well but what becomes clear as I watch myself within my emptiness is that each and every one of them is a choice.

I appreciate all of them, especially the ones I am letting go of. They served a purpose in my life at some point, kept me alive, and got me to where I am today.

And I greet the empty spaces they leave behind with grateful anticipation and wonder at what I can create there now.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

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6 Responses to “the presence of emptiness”

  1. jeffstroud Says:


    I did not respond to this right a way because I was to close to the honesty of your words. I did not wish to admit I distract myself all too well. Yet I have been blogging about the distractions to being empty, being with myself, and still working through much of that.

    So thank you so much for walking the path with me, it allows us to know we are not alone, even when we feel alone…

    I am Love, Jeff

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Jeff — it is interesting how we walk parallel paths, encountering the same dilemmas and reaching for that next place of becoming. Like you, I often feel alone in this journey, even though I have people (like you, Laurie, and Sandi) who I can reach out to for support. To find people who think this existentially about our being is indeed a gift.

  2. holessence Says:

    Barbara – I have come back and read this post perhaps four times this morning. Why? I am a huge proponent of creating space for the purpose of unleashing joy — letting it expand, Expand, EXPAND!

  3. Barbara Kass Says:

    Hi, Laurie! I visited my closet this morning and it indicated that it, too, needs more space; however, it wants me to expand the empty spaces! While I get immense joy out of new and fancy clothes, I also enjoy the simplicity of emptiness.

  4. sandiwhite Says:

    Barbara, I, too, had to think on this awhile and come back to it. All the busyness of the World will not fill the empty spaces within. It might use up your time, tamper with your feelings and leave you with regrets for having indulged in frivolous activities when you might have done something “worthwhile”, but hey, we all have to have our unexplored attics to play in. Try on old things, break out new things, have room to play and learn and grow. We are none of us finished yet, there are plenty of places to explore and discover and you must find room for those experiences somewhere. Thank Goodness you are not totally filled up and full to bursting just yet.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Sandi — you are so right: I am very happy that I am not totally filled up. This emptiness presents opportunity. Letting go is not always easy. I love to cling to my melodrama, but that gets old after a day or two.

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