If you’re doing consistent shadow work, the day will come when you are launched into liminal space. When that happens, it helps to have a plan for navigating liminal space.
Liminal space is a place in between “this” and “that.” You’re not who or where you were, but you aren’t who or where you will be either.
When we say we are “going through changes” or are “in transition,” we’re talking about being in liminal space.
Doorways, the shoreline, and bridges are liminal spaces. Dawn and dusk are liminal times. Separation from a marriage is a liminal state where you’re neither married nor divorced. Being in between jobs can also be a liminal state.
Liminal space can be incredibly uncomfortable. It can feel like a free fall because you’re not grounded. Nothing is solid or settled. It’s a space of becoming without boundaries, and most of us like to be somewhere with a name, a title, and a value.
Am I Patricia or Joseph? Am I the secretary or the janitor? Is my work worth $10 or $10,000? We all want to know. We crave certainty.
Unfortunately, liminal space lasts as long as it lasts. It helps to have a plan for navigating liminal space to increase your comfort with the process. Here are some suggestions:
In my opinion, the best use of your time here is to practice Radical Acceptance. It is what it is. Release the need to evaluate it or change it. Accepting things as they are removes the angst of this moment not being something solid and definable.
Meditation is the practice of doing nothing. When your mind is still, you release all thoughts, feelings, doing, supposed tos, and everything else. If you can do that, you’re actually in liminal space.
Liminal space is a space of potential. The more familiar anything is, the less scary it becomes. So practice mindful being in liminal space through meditation.
Talk About It
Navigating liminal space is easier when you talk about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences with someone who has gone through it and can understand. It will help you to feel that you aren’t alone and to know that everything ends.
Trying to hold on to what was prolongs the pain. It’s like seeing a 40 year old woman who still dresses and acts like a 20 year old girl. Everyone else knows she’s 40, and her desire to stay youthful isn’t making her any younger. Things are as they are. Be here in this moment. It’s less painful.
Create New Boundaries
If you are growing into someone new, create new boundaries. For example, if you are transitioning from being a heavy drinker to a nondrinker, perhaps that includes finding new friends and new activities that don’t involve drinking. If you are transitioning from having children at home to being the parent of grown children, perhaps this means you stop telling your kids what to do, paying their expenses, and contacting them every day.
Integrate New Information
What creates spiritual or emotional awakenings is a profound shift in consciousness. Lots of new information upsets the known reality. The person experiencing this has to figure out how to integrate this new information into their reality paradigm. For example, I think my father was a great man, then I realize that he molested a bunch of kids in the neighborhood. Or I think that I have a great future ahead of me, then I find out I have a rare disease that puts me at risk for dying suddenly without warning.
Those are rather extreme examples, but being thrown into liminal space can sometimes be that dramatic. It makes us question everything.
Make Liminality Your New Normal
As I grow, I am noticing that the desire to classify and separate is what kicks me out of liminal space and into a new experience. On the flip side, the more I time I spend in liminal space, the less I need for things to be settled or defined. It’s a space of everything and nothing. And that’s fine, too.
So, if you are good with that, make liminal space your new normal.