The birds they sang
At the break of day
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what has passed away
Or what is yet to be
~Leonard Cohen, Anthem
I’ve been having a lot of lucid dreams lately. In most of them, I am wandering about some liminal space, those physical spaces that are transitory in nature. In one dream, I am driving around a parking lot looking for a space. In another I keep straightening the magazines in some fluorescent-lit waiting room. In yet another, I am running through an airport, endlessly late for a flight, proceeding all night from one long moving walkway to another. I dream I’m in a stairway. An elevator. A never-ending hallway with horrible shag carpeting. In each, time feels wonky, the space unsettling, my thoughts cracked.
My dreams are just a reflection of the emotional – and hormonal – struggles that I am experiencing in my waking life, mere brainstem activation as a means of making sense of my existence. I’m in a season between what was and what’s next, on the threshold of a new knowing. Everything feels a little wobbly these days. My mind. My body. I’m existing in this odd state of before and after, somewhere between public and private, between confusion and clarity, promise and devastation.
The global community seems to be in an in-between, my family included. David is finding his footing in a new career. Izzie is moving towards adulthood, toward whatever comes next for her, inching me ever closer to an empty nest. I am navigating the physical and psychological rite of passage (or possibly riot of passage) known as menopause. Adapting my business toward a post-pandemic, economic recession sort of landscape. Our beloved Cat Stevens just died. These evolutions – revolutions? – are affecting my way of seeing and my way of being, leaving me wobbly. Every time I feel like I’m gaining my emotional footing, I open the newspaper and some headline about Roe v. Wade or yet another mass shooting sends me reeling again.
I’ve decided to embrace the not quite, lean into the not knowing to witness the unfolding of the process. It’s neurologically necessary to take time to incubate the not quite, integrate shifts in mindset. Changes between stages don’t happen overnight. If we resist the liminality, it might not happen at all.
I’ve decided to take a writing sabbatical this summer, shift from output to allow more input. I have chosen eight of my favorite pieces from the last five years of weekly writing (more than 250 pieces in all) to post in June and July and then I plan to reassess.
Liminal spaces are places where transformation happens, where the bigger world can be revealed. But they require stillness, patience, and quiet. I’m feeling ever drawn away from the bad news flashlight of my phone, the anger and judgment of social media. I’m not sure what I’m being drawn towards yet, but that’s the journey I want to witness.
As I was thinking about those cracked-up dreams, I typed the word liminal into my entomology app. But in a cosmic breadcrumb on my path to what’s next, it autocorrected to luminal, or pertaining to the nature of light. It was validation, a light bulb ah-ha.
I might be feeling a little cracked right now, but as Leonard Cohen reminds us, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”