Have you ever experienced a time where you felt “between” things? Perhaps, between this phase of your life and the next? A time when there is no movement and no clarity on which way to go in your life, or no way to get where you think you should be. If so, you are in the liminal space, the threshold; the place where you wait. This place can be frustrating, disorienting, and scary, and can make you feel impatient to know what’s going to happen next, but there is a beauty to the emptiness of this space as well. It is the place where all possibilities live. From this spot, there are many potential roads and paths leading to all sorts of future moments.
“But, Nicole,” you may say, “I want to know where I will land next! I want to know where I will live, what I will be doing for work, what my life will look like going forward.” I get it. I’m in it with you. The place of liminality can create an anxiety that arises because we are not in control of what happens next. That can definitely be unsettling. We like to think that we can make a decision, make a plan to get it, and boom, it all unfolds exactly how we expected. But life is seldom like that. We have things we can control (to a point), by making certain choices and holding intentions for behavior and hopes, but life unfolds as it unfolds. It doesn’t always listen to our hopes and wishes, our commands, if it were.
The liminal space is clouded over with the haze of unseen paths.
Being in the liminal space where you’ve put out there what you hope for and then sit and wait to see what unfolds is an amazing challenge. It is the challenge of a surrender to your storyline. A surrender to the power of life to weave our story with or without our help. If you look back on your life as a story that has unfolded, where were those previous liminal spaces? What happened before them, and after them? How did you respond to life while you were in that space? It is an interesting exercise to see how our response affected what happened next…or didn’t. Or maybe, to see how our emotional reactivity and mental health was affected by how we responded in those moments. Right now, I am in between…in between the life I have and the life I feel is unfolding; unsure how to step from one to the other. How to make it happen. Can I actually make it happen? Or is it in the process of happening, and I’m just too blinded by impatience to see that it is? The liminal space is clouded over with the haze of unseen paths. We either run in one direction, risking the crash into the hidden brick wall, or we anxiously demand that the haze be lifted, so we can see what’s to be next. Or, and this is the really challenging courageous move, we wait, and breathe, and trust that we have put in motion all that is needed to move us along our paths, and carry on with our normal activities, allowing the path to clear when IT is ready to, and then move forward into the next space.
Right now, my liminal space looks like a concrete sidewalk with a concrete path leading forward off into the fog. There are flowers and birds chirping in my immediate surroundings at the center part of the space, but no matter how much I try to squint and see into the fog, I can’t. I pick up my phone and my computer and contact people and places, making calls and emails to connect to that next place, but each leads to a dead end, or…a “not yet.” If you are in this liminal space too, let me know what yours looks like, and we can breathe through it together.