Liminality

“At first, you must be willing to enter a state of liminality. In other words, you must be willing to enter a state in which you stand on the threshold and are no longer grasping the worldviews and sense of yourself that you held in the past, nor yet completely ready to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. You stand on the threshold, the doorsill, neither in one world nor another. This can be a frightening place to be.”

I’m not a sci-fi guy. I’ve never been one of those people yearning to create or escape to other worlds. I’ve always been more interested in discovering truth about this world. But I’m feeling this quote this morning. It’s from a book by Laurence Galian called Alien Parasites: 40 Gnostic Truths to Defeat the Archon Invasion! No, I haven’t read it and I’m not going to read it. I am not going to break one of my life-long principles of never reading a book that uses an exclamation point in the subtitle. Also, it has only three rated reviews on Good Reads, and one is by the author.

Still, I’m resonating with Galian’s description of finding yourself in liminal space, “neither in one world nor another.” For me, it is not frightening as much as disorienting. I’m also reminded of the William Blake quote that gave Jim Morrison the name of his band: “In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between them, there are doors.”

The sale of our house closed over a week ago. In the meantime, we’ve been to Chicago and back to get Illinois apostilles on some legal documents. Now we sit in an Airbnb in Pittsburgh’s Strip District for 11 days (now only 7 days left), waiting to leave.

In hindsight, it might have been better to have scheduled our flight for today. But the timing of things has always been a moving target. We didn’t know when we’d be vaccinated until we suddenly got appointments in April. (Thanks, Emma!) That led to putting the house on the market. Then I had to book the flights not knowing when the house would sell and close. We also had the notion of taking a scouting trip to Costa Rica until we were talked out of that notion as a waste of money. So, we gave ourselves a little extra time in case something got delayed, but nothing did. Now, here we sit.

We are using the time to reconsider dropping some items to make our bags lighter. We are saying goodbye to friends. We are saying goodbye to Pittsburgh. But mostly, we are waiting. The Strip District is not the red-light area the name implies. It is a strip of land along the Allegheny River filled with wholesale food markets, specialty shops, and restaurants, all in walking distance, which is good because we sold our car today.

Still, it’s strangely difficult to be on pins and needles of anticipation about Costa Rica but having to cool your heels in a strange apartment for seven more days. For some, liminal space brings clarity. For others, it brings change. I’ve heard many spiritual teachers speak optimistically of the pandemic as a liminal time between a world that was and a world that is to come. We’ll have to wait and see if their optimism rings true.

Jim Morrison sang of Waiting for the Sun. That’s us. But while we wait, it’s our last chance to take in the Burgh. Did I mention we are waiting?

Published by Tom Cox

Tom & Jean, a couple of contemplative ex-pats from Pittsburgh, shed all their earthly belongings and move to Costa Rica. What could possibly go wrong?

2 thoughts on “Liminality

  1. Thanks for this update on your adventure. However, I simply must point out that your quote is misattributed. It probably comes from something Ray Manzarek said about where the Doors name came from, when he couldn’t remember the actual Blake quote. That is If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: infinite.” That is from his famous prose poem, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Plate 14.
    I was immediately skeptical because the syntax/vocab/feeling of the first quote is too modern for Blake, who died 200 yrs ago. It is true that certainbenighted net pages attribute “there are doors” to Blake, but they don’t give a more exact reference, probably because it can’t be found in Blake.
    But don’t let your low grade for this stop you from blogging on!
    Didactic Dave

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    1. Good point. It was just something I remember reading, probably from “Rock On: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock N’ Roll: The Modern Years,” which attributed the saying to Blake and to Morrison.

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