Third Space, Second Time Round

They say practice what you preach.
Do it. Just do it.

I know this week I am far from that goal. My intentions of writing here regularly have already been swamped by extra work and family demands. My commitment to writing and doing something I love seems to wane under external pressures. I am not fighting for the right to have me time and pursue something that I know is good for me.

Yet here I am in an awkward before school moment writing. I have been up since five this morning to assist Miss 15 get ready for a school excursion. My brain is on, I feel wired.

But here is the thing – there are competing ideas swirling in my brain and I feel like a kid running around with a net chasing butterflies that continue to escape. Each idea is elusive, close but not really in my grasp.

I am reminded of Dr Adam Fraser’s The Third Space. I have introduced this to my year 12 students and encouraged them to apply the idea. In fact I am sure I have blogged about this before.

Now it is time for me to find that third space.

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The Third Space

My first coffee after school drop off is more of a post mortem of the last 24 hours than a reset before the day begins. So much has usually happened in the hours before that I am need of a coffee and in need of some reflection time. But do I make the most of that transition?

I recently came across an idea that has challenged me. Dr Adam Fraser is an Australian who has developed the concept of the third space, using the transitions in life to find balance and happiness. He has a great 6 minute you tube clip that walks you through the basic premise of his idea. But I found the book, The Third Space a fabulous way of truly ascribing meaning to the idea and developing it further.

Life as we know it and observe it has reached unprecedented heights of crazy busy. And most of us are too overwhelmed to step of the treadmill. According to Fraser we find ourself in the first space. In order to move successfully from school drop off to work or job interview or visiting our sick elderly aunt, that is into the second space, we need to enter a third space. In that third space we are challenged to reflect on what went well on the first space, what story do I want to tell myself? We need to rest in the third space and actively try and rest, maybe for an hour or maybe for a moment. Finally, we need to reset my expectations and behaviour as I move into the second space. We have the opportunity to make sense of what went before and prepare ourself to show us in the next space, to do the next job well.

I am sure you are familiar with the parent who brings the stress and chaos of the work day with them as they enter the family home at night. Or you show up to yet another meeting reeling from the disappointment of the one before and cannot concentrate. Perhaps you allow the pressure of kid wrangling to dictate how you ‘love’ them for the rest of the day. If you are like me, you will fail at the transitions and frequently find yourself showing up badly for the next thing.

I have often written here about transitions. And I am aware of the way life takes us on a roller coaster of highs and lows. So it should be no surprise that someone has come up with a way of dealing with these transitions. The Third Space. Take a look at the you tube clip and read more about it.

I would love to know how women in particular deal with these ideas. Many would argue that women do well at multitasking. Does this mean the Third Space is more relevant to men? I think not. I am challenged to think about how I show up for the next thing. How do those of us who are juggling domestic life, family and work do that reflect, rest and reset thing? I would love to dialogue with you about this. Is there are third space for women?