Losing Your Spark and Finding It Again: Using the Negative as a Platform for Self Discovery


by Talmud Bah Cert Ed FRSA MInstLM MSET MAC

Head of Service Delivery, Smart Choices


We all have those days…


When you don’t want to get out of bed and the thought of going to work is painful…


We all have those days…


When you look out of the window and the grey clouds reflect your mood…


We all have those days…


When we feel depleted, defeated, with our energy and motivation at an all time low…


When we enter that 'negative' place and wonder if our spark will ever return…?


Here's the challenge…the more you search for it, the harder it is to find, like chasing your shadow as the sun goes down…


So let's let our spark find us, as we explore the 'negative' place…


The Negative Place


First let's look at what negative can normally mean to us…


  • adverse  

  • gloomy  

  • pessimistic  

  • unfavourable  

  • weak  

  • anti  

  • con  

  • contrary  


Now let's try a couple of different perspectives on the term negative.


Yin and Yang: definition


In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang are concepts used to describe how seemingly opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. Many tangible dualities (such as light and dark, hot and cold, fire and water, life and death, male and female, sun and moon, positive and negative are considered to be physical manifestations of the duality of yin and yang.

Negative Space


Negative space in art, is the space around and between the subject(s) of an image. Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, and not the subject itself, forms an interesting or artistically relevant shape and such space is occasionally used to artistic effect as the "real" subject of an image. The use of negative space is a key element of artistic composition.

The Importance of Losing Your Spark


Losing your spark is as natural as sunset and as the sun (our spark) departs taking with it, its blue skies, singing birds and sunshine, replaced by inky night, chilly wind and shadows, we can sometimes feel a sense of mourning for the loss of our beloved sun, especially in Autumn and Winter.


But night has its own qualities and when we feel, we are in a place to stop mourning the sun, we can begin to appreciate the darkness, embrace the unknown and be open to the emergence of the moon and the stars and the many wonders of the universe, only accessible through the night sky.


Losing your spark is like looking at a mound of clay, a blank canvas without having a sense of purpose, we just see nothing, but the 'nothing', the 'negative space' is important, without it nothing new can be formed, it’s the 'unknown', the potential for anything and everything.


We need the negative space of a door to enter a room, a larger negative space of a house to live in, the windows to the view the outside world, the negative spaces of glasses, jugs, bowls, baths, to drink water, eat, bath, etc.


I couldn't be writing this post without the negative space of this page, to give form to my letters.


Things to Consider


The challenge we face when existing in the negative space is that we can get caught up with being there and sometimes miss the opportunity when our 'spark' tries to show up - a bit like partying all night, then into the early hours, sleeping all day and waking up at night again-you've missed the day! And feel pretty rough too!


Once in a while is okay, but too often and your always on a low.


When your down in the dumps, let it come but try not to hang on to those negative feelings beyond their time or your spark won't have the space to return…


Also allow yourself to recognise the signs that you're getting your spark back, that song that makes you tap your feet, that thing that makes you laugh, the memory that makes you smile or the people that bring you joy…