Living in liminal spaces 🪐
I recently finished a week of vacation. It wasn't long enough. But it was just long enough to realize I need to give myself more time to decompress. More time to be present, to stop spinning, to ground myself, and build stronger roots.
There is constant uncontrollable change happening all around— this unyielding, and disturbing change manifests in all areas of life, like:
- Climate change.
- Getting older.
- Living with an aging pet.
- A surge in Covid cases.
- Other peoples bullsh!t projecting onto you.
All of this has compounded and reflected for me into a recurring dream series.
I'm in a familiar place, in most situations it's my own house, and I'll be walking around, I open a door or turn toward a hallway and discover a new area of the house I didn't know existed.
Sometimes the room is nicely designed, like a loft or lounge, other times it's chaotic and reminds me of a horders basement.
I worked with my therapist to explore what it means. We dove deep into how I tend to bucket my issues, and catalogue them away, not necessarily needing to open that door again. We identified these dreams as a projection of living in constant liminal spaces. These doors and hallways I'm going through are passing through in my subconscious are the ones I've avoided in my conscious mind.
“Limen” in Latin, means “threshold.” We experience liminal spaces every day of our lives — hallways, doors, stairs, and more.
It can be uncomfortable to pass through these doors, thresholds and other gateways where you're almost in a state of limbo, an abyss between final destinations — between present and future — between what is now and what is next.
As jarring and uncertain the feelings these liminal spaces can hold, for me, I found that I was almost seeking them out, because maybe I wasn't happy where I was in my current space.
Your anxiety is knocking on the door 🚪
I find that my anxiety can also live in liminal space — a tactic I've used to deal with crippling thoughts of anxiety is I invite her in for tea. She knocks on the door and bursts into my headspace screaming and shouting when I'm about to take off on a flight 'we're all going to die' or when my partner is running late 'he's clearly been in a horrific accident' or when someone asks for an impromptu meeting 'you're getting fired, it's obvious.'
I sit, I listen, I laugh, and then I ask her kindly to exit through the back door.
This has worked for me, sometimes, but the dreams have continued and I have to acknowledge that there are clearly some spaces and final destinations I've been fearful of traveling down.
Where to go next 🚀
There is something both comforting and horrifying about liminal spaces for me. It can be a space to linger, to live in a void of indecision, because if you don't open that door or head down those stairs, you'll never have to face what's on the other side.
But, they are also a terrifying and jarring experience when you're leaving a familiar place to see where your next step takes you.
What I've discovered, is the worst thing you can do for yourself is live in a perpetual liminal space.
These are meant to be transformational and transitional spaces — with an intentional end destination — not a space you can linger, hoping it will get better.
Be like Barbie. When you find yourself in a box that doesn't fit you anymore, head towards the next one, maybe even running, maybe not sure where you're going, but not fearing the final destination.