My friend Kenny first introduced me to the concept of “liminal space”. It is taken from the Latin word limen, which means “threshold”. Liminal space is the place of waiting, the place of not knowing, the in-between space where we are not where we used to be, but we have not arrived at where we are going. It is one of the hardest places to be and it is the place where many people find themselves when they come into therapy. In this space we feel the tension of longing to move forward as well as the longing to go back to another time or another place. The paradox of liminal space is that despite our extreme discomfort, it is always the place where we experience the most transformation and growth.
Liminal space is the place of waiting, the place of not knowing, the in-between space where we are not where we used to be, but we have not arrived at where we are going.
Liminal space is a place with more questions than answers. It can be the place where our illusions of control are exposed and we come face to face with our deepest longings and desires if we dare look close enough. It can be terrifying to confront our own powerlessness and lean into the unknown. In this season, grounding ourselves by getting in touch with our hearts and our feelings is crucial to unlocking who we are underneath all of our self-deceptions and coping mechanisms. We might not have control over our circumstances, but we can allow ourselves the dignity of feeling our feelings. It’s counter-intuitive, but tending to our hearts is it’s own way of moving forward. It keeps us from getting stuck or compulsively re-creating our past patterns. It is a way to stay human and awake in the midst of our suffering.
Liminal space is a place with more questions than answers.
It is never easy to endure liminal space and it doesn’t get easier over time. When I feel myself entering a new season of liminal space in some area of my life I always want to kick and scream against it. One consolation in the struggle is that we don’t have to walk through this season alone. Finding trusted companions for the journey is an essential part of staying connected to our hearts. Friends who can bear witness to our feelings and offer presence without judgment (or advice) are medicine to a weary soul.
Finding trusted companions for the journey is an essential part of staying connected to our hearts.
If you don’t have that in your life, we are here to help foster safe spaces for you to be who you are and feel what you feel. If you find yourself wrestling with what it means to live in liminal space today- welcome. You are not alone.