You’ve undoubtedly heard the saying, “when one door closes, another one opens”. But what’s not as talked about is the “dark hallway” in between these closing and opening doors.
When in the dark hallway, we can feel lost and scared and it’s very disorienting. How long until the next door opens? No one can say.
This idea that I call the “dark hallway” isn’t new. It’s been referred to as “liminal space”, which comes from the Latin word “limen” which means “threshold”. It’s a place of transition, a time between what was and what’s next. It can be a season of waiting, of not knowing.
We are in a liminal space right now. We know that the world we knew is gone but we don’t know what the next world is going to look like. And this brings us face to face with our deepest fears which arise amid such uncertainty. But that is precisely where it’s power and gifts are. Being in a liminal space breaks us out of our habitual ways of life. It gets us off of autopilot.
Previous guest of the show, Father Richard Rohr, says this about being in a liminal space:
“We have to allow ourselves to be drawn into sacred space, into liminality. All transformation takes place here. We have to allow ourselves to be drawn out of business as usual and remain patiently on the threshold 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. It’s the realm where God (or spirit or wisdom) can best get at us because our false certitudes are finally out of the way.”
Think of the metaphor of the caterpillar and the butterfly – the chrysalis stage is the liminal stage of transformation. It’s not really a caterpillar, it’s not really a butterfly yet – it waits as the transformation happens.
My own liminal spaces in my life, as uncomfortable as they have been, have taught me so much.
The key, though, is that in order for this liminal space to be transformational, we have to actually inhabit it. We have to allow ourselves to feel the fears, the doubts, the sadness – we have to pay attention to what’s going on inside of us.
If we’re willing to listen, sense, and feel into what’s waiting for us in this space, if we can let go of control a little bit and surrender to a greater potential, then the personal transformation can be enormous.
Guest of the show, Sue Monk Kidd, writes this about the liminal space:
“For in many ways waiting is the missing link in the transformation process. I’m not referring to waiting as we’re accustomed to it, but waiting as the passionate and contemplative crucible in which new life and spiritual wholeness can be birthed. We seem to have focused so much on exuberant beginnings and victorious endings that we’ve forgotten about the slow, sometimes tortuous, unraveling of God’s grace that takes place in the “middle places.” This is an important principle in waiting: coming to the enormous realization that there are seed forces within us. The potential for wholeness, Life with a capital L, is fully here. We don’t have to go out in conquest and make it happen. We can simply let it happen, consciously.”
The good news is that you don’t have to try harder, be more productive, or work harder to make the changes happen during this time. It’s not about effort, rather, it’s about opening and allowing.
In The 1-on-1 Spiritual Habits Program, I offer my clients certain reflection questions that they can spend time thinking and writing about in order to deepen their thoughtfulness about whatever they’re looking to explore. I’d like to offer one to you now – one that can help you deepen your contact with your own transformation during this liminal time:
What choice(s) do you want to make about how you are existing in this liminal space?
Often, the act of setting an intention becomes the catalyst that sets in motion the transformation and growth that are to follow.
You have a choice about how you co-exist with liminality. I’d encourage you – in whatever suffering you’re experiencing – to set your sights a little higher than just coping. There’s no pressure on you here. Remember, rather than doing, it’s about allowing and opening to what’s showing up for you right now.
The liminal space is about allowing yourself to inhabit what’s really uncomfortable and from there the transformation happens.
If you would like help, support, and guidance in moving through these struggles with skill, wisdom, mindfulness, and compassion (towards yourself and others) click here to book a free intro call with me to see if we’re a fit to work together.
I wish you well on your journey,