The Value Of A Third Place For Your Creativity And Mental Health

Your options are limitless

Vivian Nunez


I learned early on with my anxiety that sometimes my mind, my body, and even my immediate surroundings weren’t the safest, closest place for me. When the thoughts are spiraling too quickly, I’ve found a lot of comfort in going to a third place that has zero expectations for who I need to be and simply allows me to exist.

When we lived in Portland, Oregon, that place was Sauvie Island. A few miles from Downtown Portland, the island’s narrow road was lined with boathouses on one side and farms on the other. Wherever you looked, you saw a postcard-worthy image and wherever you stood, you felt the ground hold you up. I search for those places often because to not have one is to voluntarily walk through the quicksand of life sometimes without any solid ground to run towards.

Recently, I found my Sauvie Island equivalent in our Connecticut town. It’s a small garden where the bees and butterflies are the gatekeepers. I’m in their territory when I walk through the stone entrance, but they let me coexist.

The value of that third place isn’t just in how beautiful and picturesque it may be, but in how it makes you feel. The shift in energy is what you’re looking for. You want a place that will take you from undercover pessimist to screaming at the wind pessimist, or from brokenhearted creative to open hearted creative. You want a place that allows you to see the possibility of feeling your feelings, no matter what those feelings are.

A third place is beautiful, generous, and unencumbered, so that you can be too.

I write about creativity, mental health, grief, and how to cope with life’s everyday challenges on Listen to my weekly podcast, Happy To Be Here.

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