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The uncertainties of liminal space are challenging push you beyond yourself. One of the aspects of uncertainty is losing touch with your strengths, gifts, and talents. It can be such an untethered time that your connections to your skills and expertise seemingly disappear. 

For myself, this has felt like a loss of who I’ve been in the world. What contributions have I made? Where have I made a difference? What did I bring to those around me in work or in life? All these things can feel elusive in watershed seasons. 

In fact, I seem to develop an amnesia around what I’ve accomplished in the past. I forget that I have done hard things. That I’ve lived previous seasons of creative work life. That in all the roles I’ve had across my working life, I’ve touched the lives of others. That I’ve met people who have been important to me and I to them. 

Hidden in the illusiveness is an opportunity to take a personal inventory. Because, like it or not, liminal time can be a slow time. Unwanted sometimes and with pressures real or imagined, but a time to take advantage of as well. Perhaps you find yourself feeling that your life, work, relationships, or ways of being haven’t made a difference in the world. 

When you dig deeper and become honest with yourself you may come to realize that your life matters. 

It can be hard to remember what you’ve accomplished in the near or distant past.  The resilience, creativity, strength, courage, and all the other qualities that have brought you through difficult times seem to be far away. As if they never existed. 

David Whyte speaks of this in his poem “Just Beyond Yourself” where he invites the reader into looking beyond the present horizon. He suggests opening to the far horizon that stretches into the “deep foundations of your own heart.” He names this as the place to be. 

In fact, when I attended a walking tour with David Whyte in 2018, this was just how he welcomed participants. He suggested that our gathering was a time to be just beyond ourselves. This was an excellent invitation to lean into the uncertainties I and others brought with us.

It turns out that just beyond yourself is a great description of liminal space.

 Watershed moments open spaces in our lives where we arrive just beyond ourselves. In places, we haven’t been before. I had never had the experience of the death of one parent and then another. I was new to that type of loss. Little could I have imagined that the death of my father would prepare me for losses that were yet to come. I was beyond myself and in grief, searching the far horizon to remember the foundations of my own heart. 

There are many types of experiences that can take us beyond ourselves.

Not just death losses, but losses of all kinds can leave us searching a far horizon. It can also leave us unaware that we are searching in a way for ourselves. This liminal or watershed experience is an invitation to look deeply inside as well as toward the far horizon with hope.

Have you ever experienced a watershed moment that took you just beyond yourself? Whether it’s through loss, transition, or adventure, we are often called to step beyond our comfort zones and into the unknown. What experience has taken you just beyond yourself?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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