In the margins

Image by Mediamodifier from Pixabay

If you call her with a question about work, she might be on a bike ride. You’ll apologize and tell her you’ll call her back later. She’ll insist, “no, it’s ok…I can talk now.” So you will, and you’ll get the answer to your question.

If you set up time to meet, you might join the web-conference and notice the backdrop is different than her home office. She’ll explain she’s at her daughter’s violin teacher’s home and move the meeting forward.

There will be deep conversations while she’s getting groceries.

Emails and instant messages at 5:30am before she fits in cross-fit or a run.

And, you will sit across the table at lunch with a co-worker marveling how she manages to get it all done.

“She works in the margins.”

“Wait. What did you say?”

“She works in the margins. You and I…we listen to podcasts, explore new ideas, sit in quiet…in our margins. She works.”

She was right. I use my margins to regroup. To listen to music that lifts my spirit. I use that time to simply observe. And…to write.

The concept of margins has been running around like a mosquito in my ear…buzzing everywhere I go. I’ve found myself across the conference room table from colleagues, looking like I’m paying attention to what they are saying but deep in thought challenging myself to diagnose what they do with their margins.

What do you do with your margins? The small bits of white space around the bigger chunks of life?

This week, try it:

  1. Notice the white space (this alone has the potential to rock your world…there’s more of it than you actually realize…)
  2. Observe your choices
  3. Observe the choices of others

A special thank you to the brilliant and perceptive Jen K. for the terminology ‘the margins’. And, thank you to Y. for being an inspiration of productivity and redefining the concept of workplace. You never cease to amaze me with what you get done in a day.


  1. Eckert Tolle talks about the “space” between thoughts when there is nothing going on, just you, in presence. The space is where we find our Real selves. “In the margins” for me is another metaphor word for finding the space.

    Sogyal Rinpoche writes about a master teacher who was asked how to meditate. His answer: “When the past thought has ceased, and the future thought has not yet risen, isn’t there a gap?” “Yes,” answered the student. “Well, prolong it: That is meditation.”

    Just something to think about…Namaste mary k.

    1. What a beautiful way to define meditation, Mary. Thank you. And, thank you for taking the time to add your wisdom about ‘the margins’. It’s so helpful to all who read this.

  2. First- I’m so honored that you liked this idea enough to include here. It totally made my Sunday. Second, this made me think about the magical synchronicity that happens when people with vastly different work styles and personalities bring out the best in each other instead of butting heads or creating friction. It takes some humility and open mindedness on both parts, but the result is so much better than the sum of its parts.
    Loved this Amy, thank you!!

    1. The ‘thanks’ belongs to you, Jen. And, I love your description of the magical synchronicity – when it’s all so easy and complementary. Thanks for letting me ride the wave of your insight on the world.

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