liminal spaces

i thought that once i gave my notice at work, it would be easier to be there. that i would sail through the next few months, my days brightened by the light at the end of the tunnel. clearing out my inbox/sub-folders and de-cluttering might be kind of fun, and maybe i would even feel sad about leaving (or, at the very least, bittersweet).

but it hasn’t really been that way.

i have worked in administration for years. i’m good at it, and have been fortunate enough to always find employment. but two years have quickly turned to five, and then ten. and in the past few months, i have felt a strong, unavoidable calling to stop doing this kind of work for good. (you can read my post ‘the email from 2005‘ for more details on that stark realization.) not surprisingly, clerical work has never fulfilled me creatively, spiritually, or physically. but i was able to ignore all that for years and, for the most part, was pretty ho-hum about it. the pitfall, of course, is that i was never motivated to pursue anything else.


i recently told my boss over lunch that it would be my last few months at the job. i needed to have that conversation – to speak those words aloud, solidify them, make myself accountable. i had to show myself that i was listening and honoring what i was feeling. i had thoughts of quitting for years, but never did anything about it. i consequently got to the place where i didn’t take myself seriously and trust myself to do what was best for me to do. i also had to have this conversation without having a plan in place, because there was (is) no plan. only a strong intuition that i could no longer put off the inevitable – and i wanted to be the one in control of how that played out.

on the way back from lunch, i found a five dollar bill on the ground. i immediately viewed it as a sign; an affirmation that i had made the right decision and that i would be supported. i emailed a friend about the found money, and she brilliantly suggested i go to safeway and buy some food for the food bank, to keep the flow going. which i did, and it felt so right.

within days of lunch with my boss, i started my blog. i was feeling pretty euphoric by then. the creativity was flowing and i was receiving many ideas and inspirations. i felt excited and hopeful for the first time in years. it was as though that one conversation over lunch opened up a crack in my psyche, and whatever had been lying dormant for years surged through the crevice. it had been waiting so patiently, watching so vigilantly, and when it finally saw its chance, the floodgates opened.


at first i was enjoying feeling more balanced at work. it actually felt ok to have a job that had become routine, as i was now also engaging in that creative part of myself and feeding my soul in a new and profound (yet totally familiar) way.

but lately something interesting is happening. the pendulum keeps moving in one direction instead of coming back to balance. the more i engage my creative side, the more that part of me that’s not living this is struggling. i am living in two different worlds, and my body/psyche knows which one it wants to inhabit all the time. previously, it didn’t know what it was missing. now it has discovered a fine, delicious wine, and wants to be drunk all the time. it doesn’t want the boring routine anymore, and in fact can’t do the routine anymore. this puts the ‘bigger picture’ me in a very uncomfortable and somewhat surreal place. i could disconnect before, but now i feel fragmented. and my battery feels fast running out of juice.

i realize just how much i have been compromising for years, and this is painful.


i’m in the liminal space, the edgy place of transition. inevitable, exciting change is happening, but the road ahead is unclear. and that’s uncomfortable. the map is fuzzy. contradictions abound. i’m told i need to have a plan. but that i must trust and surrender. “don’t quit your day job.” but don’t waste another second in misery. i need to pay the rent. but i can’t sit at a desk in a windowless office all day for much longer. (just the thought of that leeches the life force out of me.)

the thing with the liminal space is that there’s no going back. i took a class years ago that discussed the liminal space in a ritualistic, spiritual context – that it is marks the transition from ‘old’ to ‘new’, a rite of passage of sorts. yes, i feel like i’ve wasted years in an office job, but for whatever reason(s), transition was not previously possible. now it’s here. and though there is discomfort, there is also perspective and a knowing that it couldn’t have happened a second sooner than it did. and a place of unknowing, surrender, and mystery is (for me) infinitely better than stagnation.

seth godin puts it this way: “the reason that art (writing, engaging, leading, all of it) is valuable is precisely why i can’t tell you how to do it. if there were a map, there’d be no art, because art is the act of navigating without a map” (‘linchpin’, p. 150).

i like looking at my life as my art, and that my process of clearing my canvas allows me to discover new colours.  i know i’m not alone in the liminal space; most conscious beings are feeling some sort of unrest at this time. though i am uncertain of what will transpire in my life and on the planet in the coming months and years, i am grateful to have the choice and freedom to paint my piece of the picture.