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December 8, 2017 by Mike Medeiros (California)

A piece of paper has taught me how to live my life.  It started in elementary school when I was able to use the paper the big kids had — college-ruled, lined paper.  It had defined margins on the top and left sections along with a faint view of the right margin seen through the back.  These became the writer’s guide and boundary.  Just like being told to color inside the lines, we were exhorted to keep within the margins.  Not paying attention to the margins made one’s work messy, overwhelming, and way too busy.  Margins are there for a reason.  Having some blank space around all that writing makes the paper look nicer.  Rather than being restrictive, they prove quite beneficial.  Both practically and aesthetically, margins provide a buffer and some breathing room – not only on a piece of paper, but in life.

Life is so busy and full.  It is easy to fill our days to the max and exceed our limits.  We routinely push past any margins in an effort to pack everything in.  We fool ourselves into thinking that multitasking and continuous activity are good things, not realizing the margins we erase or blow past are there to provide balance and pause for our benefit.  Yet just like margins on a sheet of paper, our lives need sacred space that protects against intrusion and acts as a buffer.  To respect the margins in our lives leads to better living, allowing us breathing room in the midst of frantic and full schedules.  It takes courage to mind the margins because we have become so accustomed to productivity that we dare not cut back.  As counterintuitive as it seems, to create and maintain margins make us more effective in whatever we do.  Rather than being legalistic, margins are liberating – we have clarity to see the important things while keeping room on the edges so we maintain a quality of life that is free and not frantic.  I only have to look at an old piece of paper to be reminded of my need to mind the margins in my life…

How about you?  Do you have clear margins in your life?  How do margins enable you to pause and rest from the busy pace of life?

Read more from Mike on his blog: https://mikemedeirosblog.wordp...

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