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Liminal Space, or Am I Just In A Midlife Fog?

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Liminal Space, or Am I Just In A Midlife Fog?

A picture of an Aspen tree in early fall that is already starting to change its colors from green to yellow.
Liminal Space defined: At the threshold or in-between conditions. Here’s the official definition: Liminal. Or maybe, I’m just in a midlife fog. Is there a difference? I’m not sure but I know both seem to feel true most of the time.

I’m definitely in a midlife fog. I frequently feel entirely lost and even confused as to my life’s meaning or goals. I can say I’m pretty sure I want to move in a specific direction in my career and then five minutes later, I can’t find a reason to do anything. I certainly feel lost a lot.
Yet, I also have a deep faith that this is not the defining episode of my life. I have greater things to accomplish than what I have so far. But, I can’t seem to move forward to those goals either. I feel stuck in a no man’s land of neither there nor here. I’m in between, but I don’t know what I’m moving toward! That’s a big part of the insecurity I feel about my life’s meaning.

So liminal may be the perfect adjective, especially as liminal has spiritual overtones to it.

Liminal Space and Wisdom

My favorite scripture is Psalm 27 verses 3 and 4. “I believe I will see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living. Take courage, be stout-hearted and wait on the Lord”. That waiting part sucks, though! When one is floating around in a midlife fog, the last thing one wants is to wait for clarity. My faith in the Universe honestly believes each of us has a deep-rooted dream we want to accomplish and maybe several of them. That faith means I have to be strong, have the courage to wait for it to unfold in my life.

Be ‘strong and wait’… sounds liminal to me.

What does that mean? I’m not sure, to be honest, but I can tell you what I think it means. I think it means that as I wander in this fog, in the featureless gray place of midlife, I’m learning things I can’t even fathom. This knowledge is needed to accomplish the goals for the next phase of life. I’m definitely in a liminal place! I’m between the reality I knew and believed in,  moving into the reality that I’m learning now exists and I know it is more authentic. This liminal thing takes faith, which to be honest, and with faith, I frequently struggle.

It takes faith in a Universe that somehow believes in me as much as I believe in it. Call it God, Source, the Universe, or dust bunnies. I don’t really care what name you give it; I just believe that I’m a product of it and somehow, I fit into its bigger picture in its own unique way.

My friend Robert Nichols says midlife is when we find out ‘how absolutely small and insignificant we are in the universe and how astoundingly important we are to that universe.’ I have found that to be true in hundreds of ways in the past five years. This Universe has somehow made sure my bills get paid even when I have no money (sometimes only minutes before the bill is due). It has taken care of my loved ones and me in ways I don’t understand. It has provided me with just what I need right when I need it. And, it has provided me with the people who are perfect for me during stressful situations. I can not deny the reality of this unknown mystery I call God or the Universe.

Yet, I can not explain it either. More liminal.

None of the events I’ve seen transpire in my life defy the laws of science. They are improbable but not impossible. In many ways, that takes even more faith than outright miracles. Way too many of these almost supernatural events have happened to me to rationalize them away as a pure probability. However, I’m a mere human. I can’t fathom all the ways all the threads of reality weave together to create the tapestry of our lives. I just believe there is some Ultimate Mystery that weaves it all together.

Maybe I’m weak-minded. I’m willing to accept I am. All I know is that it helps me feel a sense of value in a random world.

Now I understand – if you’ve read my other articles, you’ll know where this is coming from – that feeling a sense of self-approval is a feeling of which to be careful mainly because it’s “a sense of” not a positive thing. Thus, I don’t make decisions based on what I feel moment-to-moment. I live with my emotions and experience them, sit in them and just let them be. So far at least, most of them have percolated out to a preference on which I can move forward only after I’ve sat with them for a while, though. Some of them a long while! And that is the “wait on the Lord” part that sucks.

“I believe I will see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living. Be strong, be stout-hearted and wait on the Lord.” Not all of my confused feelings have filtered out to preferences, yet, that I can believe. I have faith they will, though. So when I’m feeling lost, confused, or liminal, the best thing I can do is recognize, I’m feeling. I don’t make decisions based solely on emotion. Then, wait on the learning process I’m in internally, even if I can’t see it day-to-day in my life. It’s a practice, this waiting. It’s not a magic pill but so far, it hasn’t let me down either.
Side note: Shameless commerce here. A year ago, I did an album based on my favorite wisdom scriptures. The album is called Reflections and you can listen to a sample here. After you listen to the sampler, please also buy it. It’s a great album if I don’t say so myself.
If you are feeling you're in a liminal space or phase in your life, please write to me. Allow me to introduce you to some tools that will help you navigate this time. Please contact me here.

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Posted May 13, 2014
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©2022 Broadlands Media, Inc
All rights reserved.
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