There Is Something About Space

When we give attention to and enhance our awareness of the space everywhere and all around us, we open ourselves up to receive intelligence beyond the mind.

There Is Something About Space
There is something about space that slows the mind, since the mind has no way to understand it because it has no content and no container.
— Chris Niebauer, No Self, No Problem

My awareness of and relationship with space has emerged over a lifetime. I hope these examples from my own life will help you discover new ways to bring an increased awareness of space into your world.

When I was a young boy, I would climb to the top of a steep, rocky hill that overlooked the town where I grew up in western Pennsylvania with my Kodak Instamatic camera in hand. When I got to the top, I was mesmerized by the higher perspective as I overlooked the town where I lived. There was no path to this location, so it was inaccessible to most. People loved looking at my pictures because they had never seen the town from this point of view. I noticed it took them somewhere else.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

During my high school years, I was fortunate to attend an innovative technical high school where I majored in electronics. What I learned there fueled my interest and fascination with amateur radio. I was able to leverage what I learned there to build my own communications equipment that allowed me to communicate with people around the world using Morse Code. I still remember the suspense and excitement of sending out a message in Morse Code to let people know I was listening and then waiting for a response. In time, someone would magically respond out of the silence and listening.

My equipment looked similar to this. (Source: AI2Q)

When I was in the US Navy nuclear submarine service, we would silently lurk in the ocean depths hundreds and sometimes thousands of feet below the surface. Listening to the psychedelic space-rock music of Pink Floyd in the crew's recreation area was a favorite way to pass the time when we were off duty. It somehow connected us more deeply with where we were and what we were experiencing.

I was aboard the submarine operating the nuclear reactor when this picture was taken of the USS Pintado (Source: US Navy)

When I learned how to fly, I discovered a new way to see and experience the world. I was utterly fascinated by the expansive view that opened up in front of me from the cockpit. I took thousands of pictures and shared them widely so people could experience what I was experiencing. Soon co-workers asked me to share the pictures at the beginning of our weekly meetings. I observed how it opened them up, slowed them down, and allowed them to breathe more deeply.

Flying along the northern coast of Maui (Source: Bill Fox and Hillel Glazer)

When I started interviewing people and asking them new questions they hadn't been asked before and listening without judgment, I noticed the pause before they answered. Out of that pause came exciting and unexpected new answers.

​"Bill Fox has a gift for identifying, connecting with, and helping the rest of us understand the leaders of tomorrow, today. The wisdom of Bill Fox is the incredible ability to help others define their own wisdom." — Marc Hanlan, LLMC Partners​

When the pandemic caused the world to pause and slow down, I questioned and let go of everything I was doing. Out of that silence, Space Beyond Boundaries was created. Each week I come to this space saying to myself, "I have nothing to share this week. This is it. This run is over." Somehow this newsletter and the designs and ideas I feature in each issue come out of this space and nothingness.

A new vision emerges.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about vision. That is, a vision for SpaceB and where this work goes next. My work is constantly emerging and changing, so I allow it to lead me forward.

As a result, I never get to the point of writing a definitive vision statement as it's usually stated to guide me and help others see my goals for the future and why this work exists.

This past week, I enjoyed reading an article by one of my favorite bloggers whose work I admire at About:/blank. Maia Benaim is a like-minded soul who writes on topics that would resonate with readers of this blog. Maia describes herself as a designer, shapeshifter, and full-time nomad who loves experimenting with new practices that help her bring focus and intention into her work.

Given my attention to vision, I found her most recent post this week on vision particularly timely and of great interest.

Maia writes, "We need clarity in a world of noise where we are so disconnected from our WHY. Passion can only be fueled by purpose."

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges in creating a vision is eliciting it from yourself in the first place. In her post, Maia shared an exercise that I found particularly helpful:

Imagine five years from now we meet at a bar, and all your dreams have come true. You are living the life you envisioned, surrounded by freedom and abundance. Your project is exactly where you imagined it, you are completely at peace with your current reality. What would that conversation sound like?

Now, this was an exercise that got my mind going, and I immediately started writing down some of my thoughts.

Then within hours of reading Maia's post on vision, I received this surprising email from my good friend and colleague, John Ryskowski:

"HEY BILL, I AM AT CAMP. YOUR CARDS ARE IN SESSION IN 30 MINS. CAN YOU JOIN???"

John was attending the annual Consultant's Camp conference in California. I knew John would be presenting Space Beyond Boundaries designs at the meeting, but I had no idea what date and time, so the timing of the email caught me by surprise.

Fortunately, I could join the conference, which was a fascinating experience. John had a collection of almost 200 of my design images printed on individual cards. He placed them on a table and asked each of the 20 attendees to pick a card they found exciting or meaningful to them in some way.

Then John asked each attendee to stand and talk about what the card image and quote meant to them. What followed was an energized sharing and discussion of ideas. The creativity and ideas flowed like water. I never saw this coming. I never imagined that these simple cards I created spontaneously over the past two years could facilitate such discussion.

I'll have more to share about this experience in the coming weeks and months. A handful of consultants who attended the session are already interested in using the designs in their work. Discussions are already underway to use them in innovative new ways to enhance the lives and work of the people they serve.

Needless to say, my vision was greatly and unexpectedly influenced by John's session and Maia's post.

And of course, I noted the irony of both of these events occurring at nearly the same time. Should I define a vision for SpaceB or do I remain open to letting a greater intelligence lead it forward? For now, I believe the two approaches should inform each other to become one.

— Bill

Bill Fox|Forward Thinking Leadership
Reimagining you, leadership, and workplaces from the inside out to grow forward-thinking leaders and workplaces of the future — today.
I invite you to redirect awareness to the space between your hands, the space between you and the next person you see, the space between any objects in front of you now. There is so much space that there are infinite variations of this practice, and you don't have to leave Earth to experience it. One practice is to look outward into the night sky and focus on the space between things.
— Chris Niebauer, No Self, No Problem