Back in the fall (and if I’m being honest, a good chunk of winter too), I felt stuck. I couldn’t figure out why I was having such a hard time propelling myself forward on my new journey, a journey I consciously chose.
After waywardly drifting here and there, I stumbled on an article by Nicole Gulotta about planning for liminal space. Finally it dawned on me. I was in my own liminal space, a sort of life limbo, inching my way into a new season. According to Merriam-Webster, liminal is an intermediate state, phase or condition. (Fun fact: I was reading “Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders at the time and had to Google “bardo.” In Tibetan Buddhism, bardo is the liminal state between death and rebirth.) Liminality is what happens when the future outcomes you once taken for granted, dive into the Pool of Doubt (which presumably flows into the River of Denial). And that’s exactly where I was. For someone who likes to be in control, it’s uncomfortable not knowing what to expect every day.
Marriage, divorce, illness, starting a new job, ending a job, going to college, graduation, death, birth or moving to a new house – all of these things involve liminality. You experience a degree of in between, not knowing when or what things may shift and change. (For someone who ended a job, started a new one and moved in with my partner, I was all up in the in between.)
My previous job was safe and good and warm. I was comfortable there. I knew all the rules. Better yet, I knew my role in and out, and I was good at it. It’s not that I wanted to go back to my old job, but I found myself clinging to this old season. I was still trying to play by the same rules. I felt guilty not writing for exactly eight hours, for not making money or for taking the afternoon off when I had a migraine or when my brain felt fried.
We go through life attaching ourselves to things, wanting them to last forever. But nothing lasts forever, and this makes us sad, uncomfortable, angry, or worse, violent. My life was perfectly calibrated for the way things used to be. But if I want to move forward, I needed to “Let It Go.” I had to let go of my attachment of the ways things were. It was time to create a new way of doing things. Here, there are no guidelines, no map, no right answers. Instead, there are infinite possibilities.
It hasn’t fully formed yet, this new season. I badly want to hurry things along. I don’t like waiting. I want things figured out. But it’s slowly revealing itself, like snowdrops creeping up through a blanket of snow and heralding the new spring. I need to hang in there, do the best I can, continue to carve out my new creative routine and the rest will come.