Understanding Your Daily Focus
In anthropology, the concept of liminality refers to being on the threshold of something new, or in the middle of a significant rite of passage. In psychology, Carl Jung talks about liminality with regard to self realization. Jung argues that true growth happens in these liminal states, when the psyche is “broken down” and then rebuilt. When Jung talks about archetypes, he refers to the trickster as the master of liminal space. It is a time of confusion, unreality, and waiting.
One of my favorite examples of metaphysical liminality is an airport. Everyone at the airport is in a liminal space; they aren’t where they were, nor are they where they’re going. They’re suspended— waiting, and this abnormal state of being creates an odd sense within us.
Playgrounds at night, abandoned malls, empty schools, dark stairwells, empty elevators— and the week between Christmas and New Years Day. These are all prime examples of liminal spaces, and since we’re currently in one, I thought we’d look closer at what it means to be in this suspended state, and how we can view beginnings and endings as we wrap up 2020 in this week’s Daily Focus.
Saturday, December 26
“In the Universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between them, there are doors.” –William Blake
Liminal spaces are transitional periods, times when we have different pathways in front of us. I like to think of the unknown as doorways, and this quote by William Blake is special to me, as his poems were some of my first magical escapes. Today, and all week, ask yourself what has been hidden from you, and which is now coming into view as the year ends.
Sunday, December 27
“The line between insanity and mysticism is thin; the line between reality and unreality is thin. Liminality as a spiritual concept is all about the porousness of boundaries.” –Esmé Weijun Wang
Liminality is such a beautiful concept to me because it embodies my view of spirit’s cyclical nature. I have talked here at length about why Tarot is so vital to me, and how the myriad cycles within it offer an infinite number of possibilities. I wanted to write about beginnings and endings this week, and I am, but more than that I wanted to explore why these boundaries are so porous, and what that means. Beginnings and endings are entangled, you can’t have one without the other.
Monday, December 28
“Ends are not bad things, they just mean that something else is about to begin. And there are many things that don’t really end, anyway, they just begin again in a new way.” –C. JoyBell C.
Change is hard for us as a species. We live inside of delicate flesh prisons, which require warmth, food, safety, and love. When one or more of those things become threatened, even in small or insubstantial ways, we can feel threatened and scared. “Change is dangerous” our brains want to remind us, “the unknown is dangerous.” Today, and all week, stay open to changes. It’s easier to do this now, when our cultural perception of time’s passage is reaching its apex, and we’re collectively closing the book on this last trip around the sun in 2020.
Tuesday, December 29
“There’s a trick to the ‘graceful exit.’ It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over — and let it go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving up, rather than out.” –Ellen Goodman
What a year, right? I think it’s easy for us to think goodbye and good riddance to 2020, but today I challenge you to once again look at the growth that has occurred. How have you changed? If you were to write a letter to yourself a year ago, what would you want to say?
Wednesday, December 30
“Nothing is predestined. The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings.” –Ralph Blum
Building on what we looked at yesterday, what has happened in the last year that has led to new and unexpected opportunities? We all have a lot to be proud of for even just surviving the struggles of 2020, and it’s good to remember that the lessons we’ve been forced to learn are absolutely going to serve a higher purpose for us as we move forward into the 2020’s.
Thursday, December 31
“A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.” –Graham Greene
The truth is time is more of a social structure than a reality. Yes, we will continue to move forward, unable to take back or redo the moments behind us, aging as we go. There are permanent aspects to the passage of time, but the cycle itself is pretty much made up. You could go forth and change nothing, pay no attention to the ending of the year. In fact, for a lot of people, the Gregorian New Year is not the true marker of the new year. It is all about how you look at it. There are always cycles happening, and each is a chance to make a change: a New Moon, a new month, a birthday, an anniversary, even just a new day. If you want to make changes, this is the time to open the metaphorical door.
Friday, January 1
“I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end.” (Jo March) –Louisa May Alcott
Happy New Year! I hope this is a year of turning over new leaves, learning from mistakes, moving forward, and growing. May this change bring about the end of old beginnings, and endless new beginnings too. Be proud of the person you’ve hardened into over the last twelve months. One of my favorite Latin phrases is, ignis aurum probat, miseria fortes homines which translates to, as gold is tempered by fire, so strong men are tempered by suffering.
May we all be stronger as we move forward into 2021.
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