I learned the word liminal recently. It was the perfect word, at the perfect time. Like most words, it can have a few definitions, but what resonated with me was its reference to the space between; a transitional time; a threshold. Between what was and what is. Or what is and what will be. The space where we are neither one thing nor another.
I think why I fell in love with this word recently is because it described, in one word no less, where I've been. And as difficult as that space was at times, it was also incredibly joyful.
Most everything in life is a process and often we are unaware of these transitional times. We move seamlessly from one thing to another. Like breathing. We inhale and we exhale, not often aware of the space between breathing in and breathing out. If we focus on that space, the experience becomes something new. Something else.
That leaving of the old to start something new. The space in between is liminal space. And that space can be all manner of things. It can be overwhelming because we are essentially in 'no man's land'. We are not our usual self. We are no longer connected to what was, nor yet present in what is to come. And that is the beauty of transition; of being on a threshold; of liminal space.
In that space, though, we can feel vulnerable, lost, anxious, depressed - it's not a space we are used to hanging out in. We go through transitions all the time, every day. Between sleep and wakefulness; between daily activities; between wakefulness and sleep. We are often not aware of them. And some of the transitions are easier than others. But what about the bigger transitions - changing jobs, partners, homes, towns? Those are all major changes. Do we give ourselves enough time to transition? To be present in liminal space? What would happen if we did?
I have recently been gifted 2 months of, essentially, liminal space. While I was in this space, I was uncomfortable. I couldn't understand what was going on. I was in incredible flow. Highly creative and happy. Yet giving my self such a hard time because I wasn't making money. It was such a fight between what I love doing versus mainstream money making employment. I feel like the space was a gift because it was a special time. And although the transition hasn't been something tangible, I feel like a completely different person; slightly askew from where I was. But totally taken with where I stand and the view around me. I feel like I have crossed a threshold.
I didn't know I was in transition - I just knew I was no longer where I was, yet not arrived at where I was going. Liminal space describes exactly where I was, the whole time. Who knew?! I am ever grateful and ready to step forward.
Are you where you want to be? Are you doing what you want to be doing? Are you living your truth? These questions often come up for me when I travel. And my last journey was no different. I am always questioning, it seems, if where I am is where I want to be. Quite often the answer is yes. But when I'm between places, having left one and not quite landed in the other, I wonder. I've been uneasy since returning to my home in Australia. Leaving summer and arriving in winter probably doesn't help. But there is something more, as well. Not really able to shift it, I asked the Ocean Oracle for some clarity around what's going on. And out came TRUTH. Which completely resonated with me. I'm not sure if where I am is where I want to be. But I know the only way through this is to remain present in my truth.
These creatures had not been seen in these waters for years. They had left long ago, driven out by the pollutants that people left behind. They needed clean water to thrive and the waters here became too murky and infested for them to live in a healthy way. So they chose to leave, find a place where they were part of a balanced ecosystem. They flourished for years but grew too many for their home to sustain them. Some migrated into new waters and some eventually ended up back in the place they had left long ago. But it was not the same place. Something had shifted. The things that had polluted the water were no longer there. There was more awareness of the way the oceans and ponds and tides worked. There was a place now for the urchins to thrive. They were able to expand and contribute to the ecosystem in a life enhancing way.
Your truth is your truth. Are you in a situation toxic to your truth? Do you need to re-assess your truth? Has a situation changed in which your truth can come forward again? Is your environment supporting you in your truth? To live in our truth and integrity, it may be that we have to move, and sometimes that means physically. Stand strong in your truth and respect your limits. Set your boundaries but know rigidity may not be the answer. An urchin’s spines protect it but if pushed too hard, or in the wrong way, the spines break.
I love the power of story and story telling and writing is an integral part of my healing journey. More about me here.