The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes – ah, that is where the art resides. so wrote the Austrian pianist Artur Schnabel.

Shiny objects and unseen gifts

It is often the dominant and easily noticed items that capture our attention, that pull focus through a concept often referred to as the ‘shiny object syndrome’. And yet when we communicate with others, there is so much that takes place in the ‘spaces’ between these items … things we do not notice, the unheard voice communicating unwritten lines and unspoken words, the ‘music’ in the pauses between the notes.

Our relationship with these ‘unseen’ spaces can often reveal more of our character than the obvious ‘bits’. When the hestination in a person’s response is felt more than heard, when a thought is unsaid but communicated just the same. When a pause in our interactions to seek clarification might allow for a deeper and richer understanding.

Or when we reach out to those beyond the norm, beyond the cliques. When we see the person within regardless of their outer appearance and behaviour. When we see the individual beyond the job title.

There is also the beauty that comes from the serendipitous detour, and the wisdom gained from reflecting on these as well as planned experiences.

Perhaps, such moments might surprise and bring to light gems unseen … to borrow from the words of J.R.R. Tolkien ‘a light from the shadows shall spring‘.

Rhythms of understanding

A painting draws dimension from the use of chiaroscuro … from the composition and play between light and dark. A dancer’s choreography is framed through pauses in movement. A movie accentuated by the rhythms of tension and release. Such pulses of rhythms abound within our lives … and includes those that make up human culture, from those ‘shiny objects’ to moments which can go unnoticed, unseen, unheard and unspoken. Moments that can enhance and enrich with just a pause in pace, a refrain from judgement, asking a different question and / or a curious attitude – with a desire to empathise, understand and appreciate the person within their context as an individual.

Being of service to others and to ourselves

In being of service to others (as well as ourselves) perhaps we could also find gifts in the gaps by doing less of what we don’t do before we do more of what we already do.

A postscript note:

The following words from J.R.R. Tolkien (quoted above) are as relevant to our world as that of his fantastical Middle Earth.

All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring;