We are Always Falling.
One of Chip's favorite ideas is liminal space, between two states, betwixt and between worlds. It's the time when the old ways no longer serve, but the new spaces have yet to appear.
Spiritual director Margaret Guenther says, “no hint of exotic adventure here, just groping and grasping.” We see their limitations, we have outgrown them. But the ground no longer feels firm beneath our feet, and “everything is up for grabs.” We're at the threshold, and know we can't go back, but can't see beyond the edge.
Liminal spaces are transitional times. Creativity happens here. Often transformation. Rebirth, the miracle that opens up after the tight entrance.
MEA instructor Bruce Feiler, author of Life is in the Transitions, says the number of disruptors a person can expect to experience in an adult life is around three dozen. To put it another way, an average of one every twelve to eighteen months. Three to five of these disruptors will massive reorientations, "lifequakes" that average in duration five years. "When you do the math," he says, "that means nearly half our lives are spent responding to one of these episodes." When we consider our family and close friends, it is a near certainty that multiple people we love are going through one right now.
“The bad news is you're falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute. The good news is there's no ground.”
- Tibetan Buddhist meditation master Chögyam Trungpa
The thing is, we're always in liminal space. There's no "where" to go, no stable place to stay, and nothing to prove. Change and present are the same thing. Life is in the transitions. We are constantly being reborn.
Douglas Tsoi is a spiritual director and personal finance teacher. He is gratefully a three-time MEA alum.