Being at the threshold is exhilarating. It is a mixture of excitement, fear, strength and letting go. It’s standing in a place of neither here nor there and both simultaneously.
It has an unreal or murky quality as if seeing through water into another space. It is the moment of change when you can feel the change is coming but may not have a clear picture of the outcome. Sometimes this is instantaneous and sometimes the space of the threshold is extended.
Most developmental tasks like starting a new job, creating your family, creating your career, and increasing your self-knowing, require this space, this time of being in-between, or being at the threshold of stepping off. They have the mixed experience of excitement, fear, the unknown and trust.
It’s a space of letting go and stepping forward, of risking change – it’s in the energy of the Fool card in the Tarot. When I first started my psychotherapy practice I used to spend a lot of time considering this space.
The process of psychotherapy is always moving away unwanted, unneeded garbage, – thinkings and feelings, undesirable or outdated habit reaction patterns, – and moving into a waiting space until new habits and patterns of being in the world are embraced.
Some of my more compelling paintings are of threshold spaces and themes, beautifully colored spirals, and doorways into more openings and pathways.
Being on the threshold is a space that I am drawn to experience. It is this ever-expanding sense of movement through space from a metaphorical perspective.
From a practical perspective it can feel unpleasant because it is an unknown space – a space of something that is to be revealed. Although some people are most comfortable in that space just before a decision is made, most people find the waiting, the space of unknowing or just before, to be uncomfortable and difficult to tolerate.
A threshold from a psychological perspective is a space between two different existential planes. A friend of mine, in her monthly spiritual newsletter at http://www.terrylamb.net, discusses the concept of the Jungian liminal space not infrequently. She integrates this concept with astrology.
A Jungian liminal space is a threshold space.
In Jungian theory the Individuation process of self-realization takes place within a liminal space. The process of Individuation happens typically in middle age, and it can be seen as a movement through liminal space and time, from disorientation or separation of themes to integration.
What takes place in the shadowy, murky phase of liminality is a process of breaking down and letting go and what I call breaking through or stepping through to the new, full, whole self; one is “Making whole” ones meaning, purpose and sense of relatedness in ones style of being in the world and relation to self.
Carl Rogers describes the client therapist relationship as having an “outside-of-this-world” quality. It has a sort of trance-like feeling. The client-therapist relationship, can be described as a liminal space, a threshold between two worlds of experience – that of the therapist and the client in the phenomenological space of the therapy room.
It is a space from which both client and therapist emerge at the end of the hour, as if from a deep well or tunnel or shared knowing/experiencing. It marks off the special kind of reality of a psychoanalytic or psychotherapy session, the different kind of reality that is within it.
Jungians, archetypal therapists, and Rogerian therapists describe the requirement or need to accord space, time and place for liminal feeling. It can be a bit exhilarating to be on that edge and as such it is important to honor also movement through the space and allow the opportunity for a new developmental threshold to present itself when appropriate.
Psychotherapy is not required to find yourself at the threshold in your life path or to even experience the exhilaration of moving through it.
Mindfulness is the most useful tool at this fascinating place.
Using your connection to yourself and placing yourself in the center of your world through present moment focus, compassion, acceptance, allowing and paradigm recognition and shifting allows for movement through the doorway, through the developmental task and doorway, into the enlightened place available to you at the other side of the threshold.
When you find yourself at the threshold remember to Breathe.
Embrace your whole self and Allow your inner sense of life to move you gently along your path.
Mindfulness will give you a focus and a sense of ritual and relief as you again re-member, re-connect, who you are and what is at your center, your heart center.
Being at the threshold can be like a playful and sacred space if you allow yourself to embrace your full whole mind, body, spirit self.
Think of the threshold between night and day, day and night, and how sunrising and sunsetting connects you to spiritual and material aspects of your environment.
These transitional times occur every day. Other transitional times occur weekly and throughout our lives. There are many types of transitional spaces that can offer opportunities to experience the space between two existential planes.
Keeping mindful about this in the daily function of your life will attune you to your inner self so that when a transitional developmental task presents itself for discovery you are able to fully apply your mindful present moment attention to the experience.
Acknowledging these and being in the moment at the threshold seems to offer opportunities to heal, release, grow, and transform at a quantum level.
The threshold offers us an opportunity to begin anew like caterpillars shedding cocoons and becoming butterflies.
See you tomorrow.
January 9, 2011 at 9:31 pm
Could you post some of your paintings on your blog sometime?