Think of that early morning time when you float between waking and sleeping. Images from your dreams merge with the reality of your day to day life, leaving you unsure what is real and whether you are sleeping or waking. The fluid extraordinary experiences of dream life become superimposed upon the structure of waking life until that moment your brain fully awakens and you are back into the structure and routine of life as you now it. This is an example of liminal space.
Liminal space refers to that transitional space where you are leaving one state behind yet have not fully crossed over to the next. It is the space where transformation occurs. Dawn and dusk are liminal states between night and day. For a brief period it is hard to say whether it is nighttime or daytime and the day transforms to night and vice versa. There is a sacredness here as it is in the in-between that we we are most likely to encounter the Divine.
Liminal space also occurs in our lives and our way of being in the world. Often people’s stories about turning points in their life involve a disruptive event. There is a moment where the old rules and ways of being are no longer tenable and ultimately a shift happens that changes the course of a person’s life. The disruptive event shifts one into liminal space where transformation can happen.
Transformation and Liminal Space
I often think of liminal space and transformation much like a trapeze act. You can’t move to the next way of being until you let go of your present self. But in order to do so, there is a period of being between. It takes a leap of faith, and sometimes trust in the safety net, to let go and grab for the next thing. It it that moment of suspension between realities or between truths that is sacred. It is a state of truly BEing.
We often avoid liminal space as it threatens our sense of safety and familiarity. The lack of control and shift in perspective can feel a bit crazy. Often the way people enter into liminal or transitional space is to be pushed by life events, that can’t be avoided.
There are ways we can choose attempt to put ourselves into liminal space. We can enter into contemplative practices like meditation that move us to a space of knowing the limitless of our soul while also experiencing the reality of human life on earth. Being in that space between two realities can be powerful and is transformative. It takes faith and trust to allow oneself to experience the mystical state of being.
There are smaller moments in our lives that also provide an experience of liminal space. The act of waiting rather than reacting can allow old patterns and ways of being to fall away as we consciously choose to act in a new way. In doing so we let the old world fall apart and a new world is possible.
Coaching can provide a powerful experience of transformative liminal space, particularly if you work with a coach that knows the value of fully holding space, sacred space. Holding space is often talked about but not always truly understood and honored. And it is not every coaching encounter that requires or will move into a place of deeply held space.
Holding space can at times require the ability and willingness to enter into liminal space with another. It means knowing as a guide or coach that you are likely to be changed as much as the client. It requires knowing yourself and your boundaries in order to provide a sense of safety for the client. It requires a willingness to encounter the Divine. For the client, it means resonating with a coach enough that there is trust and willingness to enter into the unknown with your coach.
It can take work to get to the point of being able to enter into sacred liminal space willingly and freely. It’s a gift to be able to do so without a push from disruptive life experiences. It takes focus and intention to enter into liminal space. Ritual and repetition can make it easier. Support from someone who understands holding sacred space can be useful.
As you learn to understand how it works and why it is necessary, you can learn to go with the flow and use sacred liminal space to allow yourself to expand and develop. It is here you are able to enhance your creativity and tap into Universal wisdom. It is here you begin to fully understand the ways in which you create the world in which you live. And it is here that magic happens.