The other day I was working with a coaching client. She’s an artist, writer, graphic designer, workshop leader, creativity coach, and I’m sure I’ve missed something. I’ve always been impressed by her—she’s very talented and accomplished in so many ways and somehow, she brings all these talents and passions together as one person. Her current goal is to get more of her art out into local art galleries, and so we started by working on her artist statement and vita. I noticed that she kept mentioning how “professional artists” do this process—what their materials and website look like. It was important for her to “fit in.” I finally said, “You know Mary (not her real name), it’s not going to work for you to try to fit what you do into some sort of standard model of ‘how it’s done in the field.’ You’re a complex person, and what you’re contributing is unique. Rather than focus on how other people do it, or how you think it’s supposed to be done, I believe it would serve you better to listen to your own voice. What feels like the next most energizing step for you to take now?” Mary is a pioneer. I received an image of her using a scythe to cut a swath of wheat in a wheat field–in other words, she is forging her own path in life. Listening to her inner voice is really the only option, because her path isn’t going to look like other people’s. That’s a good thing.
In my new book Getting Messy, I write about Third Space. Third Space is a place where polarities are bridged; it’s that place of wise inner knowing. In my work with Mary, there was a clear polarity: On one side of the polarity is Mary’s conception of what her work is “supposed” to look like in order to be accepted and recognized. On the other side is Mary’s inner voice, resisting the conventional path. The Third Space in this case is Mary’s acceptance within herself that she is offering something complex and unique. Third Space is that place of inner wisdom that will tell her what the right next step is for her.
My story about Mary leads me to explain why I changed my blog banner. My blog was birthed a year ago as Aesthetic Space, and Aesthetic Space is still my muse. Recently, a marketing expert suggested that I change the banner to Getting Messy, to support my book (which is coming very soon) and to start promoting Getting Messy as a brand. I tried this for a week or so, but it never felt right. I love my book and I’m very proud of it. It is 100% in integrity with who I am, and it’s truly what my heart wanted to say about the teaching/learning/creative process. It also brings together over ten years of work on adult learning, beginning with my Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Chicago on adult learning in everyday life. But the book itself isn’t Third Space for me. To keep my creativity alive, I need something to grow into. Like my client Mary, I myself am the connecting thread that brings my distinct interests together. This blog is Third Space for me, and I’m excited about what’s next.
Drawing on the concepts in my book, Getting Messy: A Guide to Taking Risks and Opening the Imagination, for Teachers, Trainers, Coaches and Mentors, I’ve started working individually with people. If you teach, train, consult, facilitate, coach, or mentor, and want to create space to explore the higher vision for your work, send me an email. Being connected with your own inner wisdom and higher vision (your Third Space) helps immensely when you encounter difficulties, issues, and problems. This connection to what I also sometimes call imaginal space, is a continual source of renewal and inspiration.
I’m also excited to announce that I’ll be teaching at Esalen Institute next March. See my Events page to read the description.