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Lingering in liminal space


We are going into our 3rd year in the land of somewhere between what once was, and what will become. Daily life interactions have been tossed into uncertainty, and for many of us, the shape and course of our work is shaken and shifting. We have been thrust into "liminality".


Arthur Brooks in his book, 'From Strength to Strength' says,

“Psychologists have a special word for uncomfortable life transitions: “liminality.” It means the time between work roles, organizations, career paths, and relationship stages.”

The pandemic catapulted Patti and I out of in person spaces where we interacted with people in pursuit of meaning, creativity, and purpose, and into our comfortable offices and living room, where we see people in little boxes on screens, still trying to engage in these same pursuits.

Today my enthusiasm for relating in this way has waned. There is fatigue. I find myself sliding into familiar, and comfortable, space of being alone with Patti, with little desire of connecting beyond.

I stepped off of social media as away of relating and communicating with people at a distance. I lost interest. I watched how it was being used to infiltrate people’s thinking. I found myself uninterested in the rapid pace of twitter, and skimming surfaces on Facebook. Stepping off of social media leaves me with, how do I connect with people from a distance?

The pandemic leaves me with, 'what now?'. After 2 years that question remains, accompanied by a tiredness, and from day to day, an absence of vitality.

I have an active brain, and when with people I have lots of thoughts to share, but the truth is that I prefer less words, and more being with people, doing what is needed, whatever that may be. I bring my father’s lack of words, and his fix it capacity, doing whatever I can with whatever is available, imperfect, not polished or fine, but functional.

In this liminal period, I have gotten tired of my own thoughts and words. I am also tired of the noise that surrounds us, flooding the media, with acrimony, lies, division, and rage.

I find myself in isolated silence.

Arthur Brooks in "From Strength to Strength" poses questions to consider in this liminal space,

In this next phase of life: What activities will you keep? What activities will you evolve and do differently What activities will you let go of? What new activities will you learn?
And to start . . . What will you commit to doing in the next week to evolve into the new you? What will you commit to doing in the next month? What will you commit to doing within six months? In a year, what will be the first fruits to appear as a result of your commitments?”

I hold these questions. No immediate answers. Sitting in the space between.

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