Liminal Space – that Space Between

Well, friends — here we are — together inside a capsule of


What am I talking about?

I’m glad you asked and the teacher of language arts in me jumps up, excited to give you the answer.

Let me break it down for you.

“Liminality” defined by Wikipedia, is the “quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage.  Participants stand at the threshold between their previous way of structuring their identity, time or community and a new way.  Continuity of tradition may become uncertain, and future outcomes once taken for granted may be thrown into doubt.”

“The word “liminal” comes from the Latin word ‘limen’ meaning ‘threshold’ – any point or place of entering or beginning.”


Liminal Space refers to a specific space, a threshold, possibly a precipice and the space where you or I reside for a period of time. 

Ahhh …. think on this:

“… It is when you have left the tried and true, but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else.  It is when you are between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer.  If you are not trained in how to hold anxiety, how to live with ambiguity, how to entrust and wait you will run … [and do] anything to flee this terrible cloud of unknowing.”

Richard Rohr Psychology Today

My dear friends — where we ALL ARE  in this particular moment in time, in history.

There are some other words that come to mind as we experience this space of liminality.

How about


*DOUBT.    *FEAR.   






I don’t know about you, but during this time of mandatory isolation and a complete halt to “normal” schedules, work, play, socialization, entertainment, and even just the normal day-to-day that I do without giving it much thought, I have found myself in a stall pattern.

Do you feel this way too?

I don’t know what to do with the sudden increase of time that I have on my hands.

Sure, there’s plenty to do and, to be honest, I have been dabbling in a lot of projects.  But, none of those projects have come to completion.

Is it just me or do you feel the same way?

Why is it that we as humans find ourselves stalled in such a manner when our world’s are turned on end?  It’s like that “Who Moved My Cheese” syndrome?

My cheese was right here … It was Swiss Cheese.  It was on a small white plate, had a napkin sitting right there tucked in beside the plate with a salad fork and a cheese cutting knife on top.  I had the above the counter lights turned on, some Johnny Cash playing on the radio and a tall glass of cold milk just waiting for me to take a drink.  The clock registered 1:27pm and at the last minute I reached for some grapes to enjoy with my plate of cheese.  I walked into the other room to turn down the music and when I returned my cheese was GONE, the milk was spilled and instead of grapes there was an apple on my plate!   




Isn’t that where we find ourselves?

Perhaps it isn’t best that I speak for you, so I’ll re-phrase…

Isn’t that where I find myself these days?

I am actually ashamed to admit the flaw in my character that seems to put me in a holding pattern, or worse  -a spiral downward into a world of depression or anxiety- due to a turning over of my little world over here.

What about the fact that I am HEALTHY, that my children have a place to lay their heads at night, safe and in my care? 

What of the fact that my family and extended family are not in the hospital right now? 

Or that I can work from home?  Sure, business has decreased, but what about the gift of time to work on further business development?  

What about the blessing of having a roof over my head and food on my table?

What if I considered the fact that I have a very unique opportunity to improve on things in my life that I haven’t had time to focus on previously?

And what about the much needed rest I’ve been granted?

What if there are new and improved ways of living this life?  What if I let go of some of that old cheese and discover new cheeses to enjoy?



What if this LIMINAL SPACE is just the place I need to be, right here, right now.  Forced upon me because Lord knows I wouldn’t have put myself here on my own accord.

Sometimes I allow myself to be in a stall pattern because I need a moment in time to think, to figure out where my next step is going to lead me.  To plot out my next move.

But remaining in a stall pattern – sitting on the edge of a scary precipice within this liminal space – contemplating giving up just because someone moved my cheese – giving myself the right to throw myself over the edge of a cliff shows a weakness in my character.  It reveals my inability to be pliable and creative, to find solutions, to engineer and implement change so that I can create an even better plate of cheese than I had in the first place.


Are you hung up by the loss of your cheese?  Are you sitting in the liminal space, stalled, not realizing that a new way of thinking is just around the bend?  Have you given in to negativity and hopelessness, forgetting about the blessings that still swirl around you every day?

There’s a song lyric that I love …

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”




is providing us opportunities if we can just get past the stall and take the leap required to move beyond the precipice, the ledge, the threshold and swing ourselves into a new beginning.

Sure – the other way of doing life, the schedules, the plans, the work, the “other cheese” had it’s beginning at one time in our lives.  But now, that beginning has come to an end and a new beginning awaits.

Just think of the possibilities!!

New cheese means new textures, new consistencies, new aromas — a brand new slice of heaven on our plates — rich and savory, exceptionally palatable.  Maybe a tall glass of WHOLE MILK rather than Skim.  Perhaps there’s fine china and silver simply for our pleasure along with a soft napkin made of silk and the smooth tones of Frank Sinatra in the background.


We have to stop feeling sorry for ourselves.  And stop complaining.  We have to RISE UP and instead of facing this storm with rigidity, we must learn the art of flexibility — flexible hearts, flexible minds, flexible schedules, flexible management of time.  We must bend so that we won’t break.  It’s an art.  It is learned.  It doesn’t come naturally.  It is controlled — by YOU,  by me,  by US!

I believe it is up to us to define our LIMINAL SPACE.

My space, your space could become our prison if we allow it.  Ahhhh–that’s the key.  Allowing it.


I want my LIMINAL SPACE to be a place of unforeseen opportunity.

A Kindness that is pushing me toward greater things that I would have not foreseen had I not been forced to stop and take notice.

I would like my LIMINAL SPACE to be an antechamber that points toward an open door of a place filled from floor to ceiling with all kinds of cheese for the tasting!

And I want to be so incredibly busy inside my LIMINAL SPACE, using my talents and my skills, tending to the needs of others, rising up a better person for having lept, counting all the bountiful blessings in my life that I have zero knowledge or concern if anyone has picked up a piece of cheese and moved it.


From my LIMINAL SPACE over here to your LIMINAL SPACE over there — with a respectful 6 feet of difference between us – I remain respectfully yours,




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