In the liminal space
You can listen to this essay as audio here
Happy Sunday, Soothers. This is normally the time I’d be sharing an intentional gift guide with you, or my process to reflect and plan an intentional year, but, uh… yeah. Don’t feel like those quite hit the right notes, right now. (Though you can still access past versions of those if they are something you need! Review process; how to give thoughtfully)
The topics and routines and end-of-year reflections I often write about or offer just seem a bit silly, given that we’re in this very strange liminal, in-between, turbulent and uncertain phase, a phase which has lasted the better part of an entire year.
Do you know the world liminal? I love it and all that it encompasses. Liminal is one of my favorite words and liminality is one of my favorite concepts. Some definitions:
- : of, relating to, or situated at a sensory threshold : barely perceptible or capable of eliciting a response
- : of, relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition : IN-BETWEEN, TRANSITIONAL
- It comes from the Latin līmen, meaning “threshold.” In its literal sense, a threshold is a doorway. Liminal is often used to describe the threshold, or gateway, between two stages. When used in a general way, liminal is often used to describe in-between spaces, places, and feelings.
- And my favorite, from Wikipedia: In anthropology, liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”) is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the rite is complete. During a rite’s liminal stage, participants “stand at the threshold” between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which completing the rite establishes.
I sometimes refer to a liminal moment in time like this, whether it’s 2020 itself, or another transitional moment in life, as a “snowglobe” moment; everything has been tossed, shaken, thrown up into the air, and we’re in that liminal space where it’s not quite sure how it will all land and…