Saturday, April 06, 2013

Transitional Space

Winnicott's idea of a ``transitional space'' was initially quite abstract (in his ``Play and Reality'' book). Recently, I have felt it at a more intuitive level and realize its importance. But how?

In my previous post [Baby Questions], for example, I ask the question of how we want to treat the child inside. A child has to recognize and work with real world constraints and realities. At the same time, the encounter with harsh reality must be softened by the caregiver so that it would not destroy the child's creativity and playfulness. The reconciliation takes place in a safe space, the transitional space, between outside real world and inside world of fantasy and imagination.

What does this really mean? Here is the way I implement the idea. There are some harsh realities in life. There are opportunities, however, to be playful, to experiment, to make choices and to be alive. I want to be present and alive, be playful and creative, and have fun when such an opportunity presents itself. With practice, I believe, one can extend this idea to more and more situations: to areas that used to be in the realm of harsh realities. That's the greatest achievement in life, when we can transform a serious, morbid situation into an opportunity to have fun, be creative, and be alive.

I want to remember the story of people in concentration camps who created works of art and in the harshest possible circumstances could add an element of playfulness into their lives.

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