Now don’t go looking “liminal” up on dictionary.com quite yet, because it’s not very helpful. If you do go there, you’ll find this – liminal: of, pertaining to, or situated at the limen.
Helpful, right? Not really. But with a bit more research (scrolling, really), you’ll find that limen means “threshold” – in other words, “any place or point of entering or beginning,” which, of course, assumes that something has come to an end, with something new yet to come.
In an earlier post, “10 Types of Pilgrimage,” one of the types of pilgrimage that I name is the Walkabout. Here’s a little refresher:
“[I use the term walkabout to refer to] the journeys we are invited to take which are brought forth by the unpredictability of our lives… [In these seasons] we can choose to deny the invitation to journey that is handed to us, or we can courageously surrender to the season at hand, facing its challenges head on and receiving its blessings in full… If we see the invitation as serendipitous and divine, the journey on which we embark can be life-altering.”
We all are faced with thresholds in life – seasons of change, moments when the future is unknown, and times where we just feel stuck in the in-between. However, with awareness and intentionality – signature practices of the pilgrim – we can even make meaning out of the seasons of our life in which it seems like all meaning has been stripped away.
Jon DeWaal of Liminal Space assists people in doing just that, helping people to “[find] life between chapters.” Jon serves as a guide for people who want to navigate places of transition or seasons in-between with intention, and recently I had a chance to sit down with him and ask him about his work, what it means to be in a liminal space, and how to make meaning out of a time that can be filled with so many unknowns.
WATCH THE INTERVIEW BELOW
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RESOURCES FROM JON
Click here to take the free Liminal Space “Transition Strengths Assessment” Jon mentioned in the interview. Some thoughts from Jon about the Assessment:
“Forces of change are everywhere: relationship losses, vocational quagmires, dead-end careers, health problems, educational precipices, retirement, divorce, etc. – change erodes what is known and familiar and replaces it with uncertainty and ambiguity. And often, these are the moments in life we avoid and prepare for the least.
Prepared or not, by our own choosing or otherwise, change thrusts us into an ‘in-between’ place. No one would argue that places of ‘in-between’ are a routine part of life. If we’re honest, we’d all admit to how hard we work to avoid them. We see them as bad. Even good ones. They are uncomfortable.They are painful. They make us stretch. They force our faith to widen. In short, they require suffering. And while no one of even moderate wisdom would argue the character-building, compassion-inducing, wisdom-developing aspects of suffering, let’s face it. We hate it.
There are predictable requirements of transition regardless of its type. This self-assessment looks at your predisposition during major life transitions. By studying past transitions, a good deal will be offered about where you navigate transitions well, and where you may struggle.”
Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity, by David Whyte
Let Your Life Speak: Listening to the Voice of Vocation, by Parker J. Palmer
To Be Told: God Invites You to Co-Author Your Future, by Dan B. Allender
And finally, Learn more about Jon’s work at his website, inaliminalspace.com, and don’t forget to ponder Jon’s question, listed in the “Go Further” section below.
From Jon: As you slow the narrative down and study the transition that you’re currently in, as well as the transitions in the past, and come to learn insights from those, the question is:
All things left the same, how will this transition go?