The Space Between Worlds by Lisa Hunt-Wotton
Sometimes the best map will not guide you
You can’t see what’s round the bend,
Sometimes the road leads through dark places
Sometimes the darkness is your friend (1).
‘Liminality is where all transformation happens. It is when we are betwixt and between, and therefore by definition “not in control.” Nothing new happens as long as we are inside our self-constructed comfort zone. Much of our day to day effort at life is toward maintaining our personal little world.
Richard Rohr comments that,
“Nothing good or creative emerges from business as usual. This is why much of the work of God is to get people into liminal space, and to keep them there long enough so they can learn something essential. It is the ultimate teachable space.. maybe the only one. Most spiritual giants try to live lives of “chronic liminality” in some sense. They know it is the only position that insures ongoing wisdom, broader perspective and ever-deeper compassion”(2).
Few of us choose liminal space. Instead, God usually has to engineer the journey. When I think of liminal space I always think of the story of Jonah and the whale. Jonah was going one way, he got thrown overboard, swallowed and then spat up on a foreign shore.
Have you ever feel swallowed up, left in a dark place and then spat out. Welcome to liminal space.
This is a poem that I wrote about liminal space. For Mondays Meditation it would be good for you to spend 5 min with your eyes closed, meditating on this topic. Think about the times when you have been in the space between worlds. Maybe you are in that space now. Does it help to have language for how you are feeling?
The Space Between Worlds
Poem and Art by Lisa Hunt-Wotton
If there is water there is a boat
If there is an ocean there is a whale
If there is a storm there is darkness
Swallowed by grief
Left in the dark
Shipwrecked in the belly of a whale
Spit up on a foreign shore
Abandoned, desolate forsaken forlorn
Liminal space the space between worlds
A portal of pain beyond your control
No way to to back
No way to move forward
Until you drop the anchor of anger
Which tethers you to an impossible past
An umbilical chord of pain incapable of life
Drop the anchor
Cut the chord
Leave the whole bloody mess behind.
‘Friendship .. and community .. are critical pieces in the journey forward. In order to embrace the new we have to grieve the loss of the old. Few of us are capable of doing that work alone: grief requires community and friendship'(Leonard Hjalmarson).
1 Bruce Cockburn, “Pacing the Cage.” From The Charity of Night, 1995. Golden Mountain Music Corporation. BMI
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