‘Create the Space’

Written by Nurit Zubery – recipient of the 2019 FairWay Resolution Anne Scragg Scholarship

You may be familiar with the phenomenon of when you come across a truly worthy idea, it keeps popping up in various places in your life, in different and often non-related contexts, as if trying to draw your attention or ascertain its value. This happened to me over the last decade with the idea of ‘Create the Space’.

I first encountered it in my business studies, where Create the Space was preached as a tool to achieving business growth. The essence of it is that we must reduce the work-load and ‘busyness’ of the day-to-day work of business leaders in order to enable new ideas and new business opportunities to materialise. Delegate your work, clear your desk and be bored, say business coaches, and you’ll discover how new opportunities and creative business ideas miraculously emerge. Just like in the physical world, in nature, there are no voids, no vacuums, as they immediately fill up with substance; so it is in the metaphysical world – if you create space, it will fill up with new ideas, new opportunities.

A few months later, I came across this idea again in my mindfulness training. At the basis of mindful meditation is creating some space in your busy life to stop ‘doing’ and appreciate every experience mindfully. This slowing down and doing even mundane tasks mindfully reduces stress and improves wellbeing.

Last year, when I started studying mediation, I discovered that the idea of Create the Space is used to enable party self-determination – a core value in progressive mediation scholarship and practice. A mediator should make a conscious effort to not direct the parties towards a certain outcome but to only create a safe space for them to come up with their ideas and solutions. Creating the space starts with encouraging parties to tell their stories, may progress into moments of silence, where the mediator needs to practice active listening and fight the urge to provide direction, relief or solution. It is through this pause and space that we let the parties find their own solutions.

When I started investigating the concept more deeply, I found it is a major cornerstone of psychotherapy, where the therapist provides the patient with a quiet space, devoid of small talk or guidance, in an effort to encourage the patient to fill the space with whatever comes up for them.

Perhaps the most interesting place where Create the Space is used is in creativity research. Creativity is at the heart of most new things in our world, so it’s not surprising that the past few decades have seen a surge in creativity research. Numerous studies examined the question of what is at the heart of the creative process and how to encourage new and creative ideas. Some of the illustrations of the creative cycle include a stage called “letting go”, which to me translates into creating a space for the idea to materialise. I really like this “letting go” stage, so simple, and yet probably the hardest thing to intentionally do.

So why, you may be asking yourselves, do I think you should be interested in Create the Space? Well, our modern world gives us many things, but space is not one of them. Mobile phones, social media, internet, Netflix, they fill up every moment of our waking hours. There is no more being bored, sitting around, staring into nothing. Every inch of our day is filled with stuff. This relatively new and extremely busy world challenges our ability to create the space during our day, to do nothing, think of nothing, just be open to anything new that might come along. This space is the birthplace of good things, whatever ‘good’ may mean to you, so make it happen, create your space and who knows what will happen….

About the author

Nurit Zubery was the recipient of the 2019 FairWay Resolution Anne Scragg Scholarship in dispute resolution. She is currently an intern with FairWay.

Over the past 20 years, Nurit owned and managed two successful businesses in NZ. After selling her business last year, she turned to an area that had been a secret passion for some time, mediation. She studied at the Massey University Dispute Resolution Programme and is currently enrolled in a Master of Laws at the University of Auckland. Her empirical study aims to examine the question: How do men experience the FDR mediation process?