Navigating the Space Between the Known and the Unknown
"In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between them, there are doors." – William Blake
When was the last time you had to navigate through a significant personal change? It could have been a career transition, the death of a family member, a divorce, separation, or the birth of a child. All of these changes represent a shift from being in a place we know well to an unknown existence that often shakes us up and sometimes even disrupts and challenges our own sense of who we are; our identity.
Guiding people to navigate through change is something that I have come to specialize in over the years, and it is something that I see now as one of my gifts. One of the first steps in the process of going through a change is to Identify the Loss. Before we can move forward, it is essential to acknowledge what we are losing so we can choose to let go and accept the current reality. By acknowledging loss, we can move forward with optimism about the future, taking along the best of what we have learned from the past.
Once we have identified the loss, we can move into the next stage, which is the most challenging and essential part of the process. This stage is the space between the known and the unknown; it is sometimes called Liminal Space. Liminal Space, is defined by the telos Institute as a period of discontinuity that creates an openness to change. The word "liminal" comes from the Latin word "limen," which means threshold. To be in a liminal space means to be on the precipice of something new but not quite there yet. You can be in a liminal space physically, emotionally, or metaphorically. Being in a liminal space can be incredibly uncomfortable for most people. Think of it as the chrysalis stage between a caterpillar and a butterfly.
Here are some ideas to help you through the liminal space:
- Shift your mindset: shift from holding on and wallowing in the past, and prepare yourself for the future. The key is to create a positive future focus.
- Re-adjust your expectations: This is a time for you to regenerate and take care of yourself. Don't expect to be hyper-productive, so don't try to take on any massive projects during this time.
- Experience the emotional journey: It is okay to have some ups and downs during this time. It is entirely normal to be on an emotional rollercoaster. Reflect on your experience through journaling or seek out support from your community.
- Get creative: this time without much structure is an excellent opportunity to explore, take creative risks, and try out new things. Consider taking a retreat, an art class, or doing something else out of the norm for you.
Whether you embrace change or avoid it, finding a way to navigate it effectively can make a big difference!