Some Thoughts About Liminal Space
Updated: Sep 15, 2020
Recently I've been thinking a lot about liminal spaces. I first heard about them from my brother, who works as a mechanical engineer.
Liminal spaces are transitional locations- a hallway, a parking garage, a stairwell. They exist to serve as a waiting room between one place in space and time and the next. Since the space is designed solely to facilitate transition, we as people are oftentimes uncomfortable in these spaces and feel anxious or uneasy if we stay in them for too long. Sometimes these spaces make us feel like we are on the verge of something. Liminal space makes someone hyper aware that they are supposed to be moving on.
As quarantine has become a normalized reality for all of us, I've found myself thinking about how liminal spaces can also be applied to our consciousness and mental state. Even while the outside world around me completely turned into a place I can't just be in- I can only be passing through- I am fortunate enough to be stuck riding out this storm in a physical space that is grounded, comfortable, and safe.
And yet still, I feel restless and fully out of control. No matter how many times I refresh the news and stay connected to friends and family, there are no answers on when all this will be over or what the world will possibly look like on the other side. As I sit in social isolation, my home has turned into a waiting room and all I can do is watch the minutes tick by as I wait for my name to be called out; it's my turn to go.
The world is undoubtedly tipping on the verge of its next chapter. While we wait for our time to flip the page, how can we train ourselves to embrace liminal states? Is leaning into uncertainty an act of being complacent? How can we stay angry and demand change but still be kind to ourselves and feel peace in a lack of control?
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