How to get through a liminal space (oh and what one is, if you didn’t know)
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The theologian and author Richard Rohr describes a liminal space as:
'...where we are betwixt and between the familiar and the completely unknown. There alone is our old world left behind, while we are not yet sure of the new existence. That’s a good space where genuine newness can begin. Get there often and stay as long as you can by whatever means possible…This is the sacred space where the old world is able to fall apart, and a bigger world is revealed...'
– Richard Rohr
Have you ever felt that you are trapped, you keep doing everything that you can to move forward, yet circumstances, or other people, or the situation, or time – well just about everything pushes the pause button. You are waiting for a train that has been delayed.
Delay means that we are possibly in a liminal space – a liminal space is a place of transition between the life you currently have and what is going to manifest next. In this space we need to wait, we do not know what is going to happen next.
When we are willing to give into this space, slowly life will begin to take form around us. The thing with a space like this, is that it can be hard to cope with. We live in a culture that is results orientated and when nothing seems to be taking form through our actions, it can make us crave the next phase and push for it.
Wikipedia states that a liminal space comes from the latin word limen which means threshold. It is likened to the ambiguity felt in the middle stages of a rite of passage.
These areas of life – let’s call them the waiting phases, happen often, they will bring in a newness to our existence and chaos and crazy with it. Be aware this chaos and crazy may fire up the need to run away.
We may try to hide from it, yet change will come whether we want it to or not and often but not always, it will affect all our life areas in a big way.
If we are aware of a liminal space it can give us the opportunity to use it in a positive way. Although to be honest often most of us just want to invoke one of the three stress responses, fight, flight or freeze ( I will call these the (3) f's from here one). This is sad because we may miss what is being offered to us if we give in to panic.
The best route to take is probably to approach the change with love, to move through it with support and with help from others. It’s about being confident, making inroads with regard to change and ensuring that we are not giving in to any of the 3 f’s.
Of course, if you do enact the stress response and things start to boil over it is important to be gentle and loving to yourself. This means lots of self love and care, early nights, eat well, warm baths, reward yourself for the steps that you are taking…
Reward helps your inner self to know that despite how bleak it may appear there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It also creates a type of normalcy that we all crave when a change is levelled at us, especially a big change that we feel we're unqualified and unprepared for.
I am currently in a liminal space myself, my old life is about to make way for my new life. I feel as if I have one foot in my old life and my other foot in the new life. This stance feels unbalanced and I do feel as if I am a fish that has been thrown out of water. A lot of stuff that I have read about these spaces, say that when the space that we’re in replicates, or enacts the grieving process, it’s important to ensure that we have support from people that can help us to get through the challenges.
I have some support, however oftentimes it feels as if there is no one there, as if I am moving forward and jumping without a parachute and all the necessary gear that would make the dive safe. I understand how easy it is to invoke the 3 f’s and in some way, maybe I have invoked some of them because everything seems impossible.
I tend to fall on the freeze stress response, I am like a deer in headlights when I think that I am out of my depth.
Then I remember that safety just means what is familiar, I remember that I can do this and that there is nothing that can stop me making the changes that are going to be beneficial to me in the long run. I want the changes, I need the changes. They will bring forth great opportunity and a new life for me.
This is where the liminal space can test us, as there may be some type of mourning that takes place for the old life. I will allow that for a moment, knowing that in the end once I understand all will be well.
The truth is that a liminal space usually signifies a step up in a person’s life, even if at the outset it looks as if it is an upheaval. This can be the reason that we fight against it, the reason that we believe that it may not be good for us.
In some ways these spaces may present themselves to us through loss, or letting go of something. We stand wondering what is next in our lives, we wonder how we will make it through the transition.
The truth is that we have all experienced change, some good, some bad and we get through it. Things get back to normal and we carry on, until the next opportunity for growth, change and renewal presents itself and it all starts again.
Embrace those inbetween places and know that they are a chance for you to birth something new. To create a new life, a new beginning and when the realisation happens and you step out of the space where you were and into the new life, you will know that it was worth it.
Lots Love Me xxxxxX