The Liminal Space – The Art of Transition

“The very vulnerability and openness of liminal space allows room for something genuinely new to happen.”

Richard Rohr

Good Morning on this beautiful… um… what day is it today..? No idea, but it doesn’t matter. We are here and now.

Over the course of the last week or so I have come across many conversations happening [at least in Canada] about the game plan to open up the economy and get people back to work. There seems to be a lot of stress on the populace due to, I imagine, not knowing when this shutdown is going to end or what life is going to look like on the other side of this.

I have engaged in some of these conversations in the hopes of offering a point of view that perhaps has not been considered. One that involves being patient and open to the possibility that life will not go back to the way it was before all of this started [and that it may be wise to not go back to the ‘old’ normal]. Most of the time, however, the old normal is preferred.

Why?

Well because its familiar territory. We have mapped it and walked its terrain; we can assume with some degree of certainty the bumps and curves in our lives and can manage the elements we don’t directly control.

First its important to note [and really let this sink in] that we are in this predicament due mainly in part to the way we operate in society and the degree of responsibility we take as individuals. From the federal government right down to the single agent, our modus operandi has been wanting. This is clear because with almost a flick of a switch, everything is beginning to break down.

I don’t want to bore with an assessment of our governments failure [incompetence?] or discuss the varied conspiracies circling the information trough. Instead, I want to zero in on the practical and individual and then bring us up to the meta-cosmology of Conscious Evolution to see where we can land if we play our cards right.

Process and Transition

“We do not “come into” this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean “waves,” the universe “peoples.” Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.” – Alan Watts

Everything in the cosmos is currently in process. The gears have been churning for billions of years and from it we have emerged. And just like the cosmos, we too are in process. Every day, as individuals, we are traversing a cyclic continuum of potential and emergence. The person we were a year ago has died, to give birth to the person we are today.

This is an incredible point to remember whenever we find ourselves in challenging circumstances. We tend to set ourselves against a static rubric, under the false presupposition that we are in someway complete and this imagined finished work we call ‘me’ is simply unable to cope or navigate the crises we have entered into. It is no wonder we meet these challenges with anxiety, stress, and even hopelessness.

Instead, we can embrace these challenges as the needed catalyst to propel us into our next yet to be which will be equipped with the tools required to traverse the events and conditions we previously believed to be outside our capacity to overcome. There is a space, however, in this process that feels a lot like being lost; it is the liminal space.

If our process of becoming were to be seen as a play, then the transition from one scene to the next, when the curtains fall and the lights dim, and the audience is left in the dark, would mark that point where the greatest potential exists. We face these moments individually all the time but the challenge we face today is we are currently in this space collectively. We can manage the rules changing slightly in our own lives, but the current global crises may be forcing us to change the rules and procedures for the whole game we are playing.

And the bigger the change, the scarier it can be.

The Tea in China

I think many of us have been in the dark when it comes to the idea of globalization. The fact that we are now connected on some many levels and that events that happen in one part of the earth can have direct [and sometimes immediate] effect in another place in the world is a concept that has not been internalized for many people. We still think of ourselves as isolated to our cities or communities, with no real tether linking us to the rest of the world. The COVID crises, I would hope, is waking us up from that delusion.

So the level of complexity has been shot up a notch. The human being needs to start accepting that they are a member of a large collective, capable through their own agency to affect change in the lives of those they may never directly meet. What does this mean? It means that the breadth of our individual responsibility has increased, exponentially. Are we ready and prepared for this ‘cross to bear’? Well, that has yet to be seen.

During this time of quarantine, or what I am thinking of as this liminal space, there is an opportunity to take stock of our situations and assess what fragilities may exist in how we have structured our lives. This should include not just our daily routines and habits but also a deep dive into the domain of our interiority. How well do we mitigate stress and anxiety? How competent are we with seeing the blind spots of our ideologies? How inclusive and wide do we consider our field of being?

If we want to emerge on the other side of this space more human, which is to say more aware, connected, and responsible, then we need to take this time afforded us as an opportunity to take inventory of what it means to be a citizen of the Earth.

A Universal Human

“Our media, which are like a planetary nervous system, are far more sensitive to breakdowns than to breakthroughs. They filter out our creativity and successes, considering them less newsworthy than violence, war, and dissent. When we read newspapers and watch television news, we feel closer to a death in the social body than to an awakening. Yes, something is dying; however, the media do not recognize that something is also being born.”

― Barbara Marx Hubbard

In my eBook Emergence”, I propose an idea that the human race is currently at the precipice of a moment in history where many novel capacities and powers are going to begin coming online. This emergent principal is set into motion in the face of crises or challenges that focus a large portion of a population towards discovering a solution, especially one that has yet to be created, that without it will lead to a self-termination of life. Single-celled organisms did it; so can we.

One element of this challenge before us is that we don’t do to well with not knowing. The liminal space is all about not knowing, so times like these bring with them a great deal of fear. However if we are to successfully navigate this crises [and the many more to come], then we will need to learn how to cope with that fear while maintaining a trajectory of co-creative, conscious evolution. It begins with how we organize our own lives and in what manner we interface with others and the world.

The Universal Human is not a pseudo-spiritual concept; its a reality which is literally being birthed as I am writing this. Our potential is near infinite and just as a fish will only grow to the size of its tank [and if its a bigger fish species, then well it dies in a small tank], we need to start building a world that gives us the room to stretch our wings and allow for this emergence to flourish.

Or, we die.

Blessings.

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