The word ‘liminal’ comes from the Latin word limens, meaning literally, THRESHOLD ~ the place of transition, waiting, and not knowing.
In ancient times one of the most famous guardians of the THRESHOLD space was the Greek Sphinx and there was good reason for this. The Sphinx is said to have guarded the entrance to the Greek city of Thebes, and to have asked a riddle of travellers to allow them passage. Only those who had the tools, mindset, wit and courage could proceed.
And perhaps it is with this understanding, respect and awareness that we should navigate any threshold space we find ourselves in. Knowing that in the liminal space there is pure potentiality if we trust in the process and navigate with wisdom, patience, trust and care.
I am writing about this because I am THERE, in the threshold between one way of being and the next. Between one life and another. Having gone through an enormous process over the last four years of profound loss in my life, I have finally come through to the ‘other side’ and am looking over the horizon to see what is ‘out there’ and where I really want to BE in the world!
The old stories have been lived, healed, claimed and told and slowly a new myth is arising within ~ a myth of abundance, deep love, contribution, self-actualization, connection, community and compassion.
These thresholds of not knowing our “next step” are everywhere in life and they are inevitable. Each ushers in a new chapter or a new book! Whether it is a graduation, a new career, new cities, new countries, a marriage, a divorce, sickness, different life stages, changing friendships, births, deaths ~ all will disorient us for a while, regardless of how aware we are during the transition.
Most of us in the middle of a liminal space ask ‘NOW WHAT?”
Really, there are far better questions than “now what?” It carries with it the dangerous assumption that there is one clear answer, and it should have presented itself by now.
RARELY is this true or that simple.
And the main reason why there could never be just one clear answer to the “now what” questions? Because change never existed in a box, no matter how hard we might try to contain it. Change in one area of life always ripples into others disrupting the status quo there, because everything is interconnected.
When we believe that there is one clear answer or direction we often miss the real potential for our formation in the THRESHOLD spaces.
And when we become aware of our own liminality, most of us, if we’re honest, don’t know who to be or how to navigate it. And yet, we have developed ways of moving through transitions ~ patterns and behaviors which have either been regenerative or degenerative to our growth and to the formation of our future.
Regardless of the type of change, only we have a say in how we will ultimately transition. Those who move best through a transformative liminal space always have a deep trust and awareness that it is a transitional space and therefore it requires patience, nurturing and an allowing of the new space to reveal itself.
It really makes all the difference in having the right people around you to help you see what you can’t see, challenge preconceived assumptions and discover new truths, encourage, care and assist in any way possible to help get you through a THRESHOLD.
Being a shamanic practitioner and healer, one way in which I like to honor these transitions is through ceremony. Ceremonies and rituals are the ultimate LIMINAL SPACES.
Liminality is the space of TRANSITION that occurs in the middle stages of a ceremony, when participants no longer hold their pre-ceremony status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ceremony is complete.
In the middle of a ceremony at the liminal space, participants “stand at the threshold” between their previous life and the one yet to emerge.
So, here I am, trusting in the threshold.
Having moved through one state of being and finding myself not quite at the next.
One thing is for certain, I shall BE with this process and allow the next step to REVEAL itself to me ~ for just as the sun always rises to greet us, so will our path of destiny.