Transitional Space

Istanbul: a child connects with her grandmother (Photo: Collin Key)

Every once in a while you find a post that says it just the way you would have. Here’s one at All Girls by Sally Reed, regular reader of Slow Muse, about so many themes and ideas that I find compelling—the work of D. W. Winnicott (a post about him here), the inestimable theatrical genius Patsy Rodenburg, the ineffable connection we can feel with certain people, the leaky margins of personal space—it’s all there, and so well written.

Here’s a sample, but stop in to read the entire post:

Winnicott posits that there is a private space (the psychic space within), and a public space, which is clearly outside us. And then, between us, is the place where we connect: the transitional space which is neither purely inside nor purely outside, but rather an enlivened between space. And according to Winnicott, this transitional space is the space of play and creativity — where our culture is created, where love can grow, where teaching and learning take place, where art is made, and where culture is created.

I have been aware on occasion of a friend or lover holding a space open for me … almost as one might hold up a tent or a canopy. It’s like a balm. You feel the welcome and readiness to connect when the transitional space is held open for you. And feel the sadness when that space collapses.

5 Replies to “Transitional Space”

  1. diana johnson says:

    So our transitional space is inversely proportional to our private/public space? This gives me a visual of growing from my private space to second circle or contracting from my public space to second circle, when I am open to receive.

  2. Diana, I never thought of it that way, a finite space in which more of one means less of the other. Interesting.

    And Deborah, thank you, I am honored to appear on Slow Muse. I take it as a great compliment.


  3. Lovely post. I left a comment there. Those words in the second paragraph you quote above seemed to me just so right.

    The notion of “transitional space” is deeply interesting to me. It could be said to apply to that interim time we spend on earth, after birth and before death when we return “home”.

    I also watched that TedTalk piece with Patsy Rodenberg this past weekend and singled it out for a forthcoming post.

  4. My likeminded friends…thanks for these comments, all.

  5. This post speaks to me, especially the sensitivities of a friend holding open that space and feeling myself expand in the giving of it.

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