Noodlings

I don't blog.

I know a lot of people who do and do a really great job at it, seeing it as a vital part of sharing their work. But I just can't. Writing simply brings out my perfectionist tendencies and leads to fretting and freezing over each sentence and paragraph. The thought of creating blog post after blog post sounds like purgatory to me. But sometimes - just sometimes, I want to take what is running around in my head and put it on paper - so I can see my thoughts and have a place to remember them.

So this space is for noodling; putting to words the thoughts and ideas that mean something to me and my work. There may be definitions of concepts I use, insights I learn from my clients or something from my own experience. Whatever ends up here - a lot or a little - it will be imperfect and in process.

Liminal Space

Liminal space is the in-between time, the space between one season and the next, between one job and the next, between the decision to dream and the reality of that dream - you get the idea.

Sometimes it starts with an inciting incident. It may be a decision to leave a job, change your career, end a relationship, try something new or let go of a way of being that isn't serving you well anymore. Sometimes it's something that happens TO you without your permission - like getting fired or the death of a loved one or the loss of identity as your children leave home. Sometimes you choose it by taking a risk to reach for something you really want. And once in a while, it sneaks up on you subtly and you realize something has changed over time; the circumstances you're in now don't match the inner landscape of your heart and mind and values.

When you're approaching a shift, an ending or a major change - it can feel like you're standing on a cliff and you don't want to get too close. Or for others it feels like standing at the shore and looking out to the vast sea; not really know what's out there. Yet, there is a compelling sense that's inviting you to head towards what's "out there".

Both the cliff and the shore are called EDGES. They symbolize the start of liminal space, the commitment to move toward something new and they are disconcerting places in and of themselves. When we approach an EDGE it's very common to have edgy behavior - This behavior is different in different personalities but it's basically how we operate under stress. We may be anxious, short tempered, resistant, heroic. We may numb out, over plan, over analyze or throw caution to the wind. We may snap at people, go into hiding or keep really busy with non-essential things.

It takes courage to cross an edge. When you do, it can feel really empowering and exhilarating - at least initially. Then you start to realize that solid ground doesn't immediately appear. This is when liminal space is in full swing. It is often a period of discomfort, of disorientation, of waiting, yet it's also of time of transformation.

Here are some really normal feelings and thoughts when you are in a season of liminality (out there on the sea or between the two cliffs of a canyon).

  • I’m stuck. I can’t or don’t want to go back, yet I have no idea how to move towards.
  • What if this is reckless and not wise?
  • I’m not comfortable in my own skin
  • I’m excited but not yet clear on what’s next
  • I’m confused about what I want
  • I’ve taken a risk and now what?! I feel like I’m in a bit of a free fall.
  • I'm so uncomfortable with how long this is taking
  • I'm bored
  • I feel incredibly sad (You may or may not know why)
  • I feel free
  • This is exhilarating
  • This is terrifying
  • What if I can't do it?

If this is what's involved, why would anyone want to voluntarily do it? Because whether we know it right away or not, staying the same comes with a price too and its one that makes us smaller and more fearful. Liminal space is a really normal human experience. In fact, it's a necessary experience for growth and for living a wholehearted life. When you're in one of these seasons, it's so important to have people around you who can support you, speak into your life, remind you of who you are and what's important to you, distract you with fun occasionally and generally cheer you on.

You will get to the other side. I promise. And you will be so glad to have made the journey.