In Between Days

Some loose thoughts on dwelling in liminal states…

I’ve had a fascination with liminality — the state of being between one “thing” and another — for many years.

When I used to regularly carry a camera around with me for a bunch of years, what often found their way onto film were images that could be perceived as documenting liminal spaces. The images themselves weren’t liminal but I felt they might sometimes hint at those moments in-between — the spaces between the stories.

It’s that neither here nor there state that has both a discomfort and a thrill. There’s a push and a pull towards and away from the further unknown edge and the unavailable previous path.

The liminal state is to be at a threshold. To stand truly in the doorway but not enter or leave. There’s a safety and a fear there and a sense that we’re not meant to (or allowed to) dwell in that state for too long.

Like a cousin to mindful practice, we can think about nearly infinite liminal states throughout our lives. All of those micro moments between all of the befores and afters. In practicing an embodied “mindfulness” we can breathe through thoughts, anxieties, worries, patterns,… recognizing them without condemnation and possibly finding them in our bodies. We can live in liminal states in a similar way by pausing and feeling ourselves at that threshold — not as a decision making tool but to actually feel ourselves in that transitional state.

In my art making process in the last few years, I have placed more and more trust in working through whatever happens during a creative act — letting the actions and reactions be the goal and not the finished state. Between the start of the blank page and what we decide to call the finished art, there is a form of active evolving liminal experience.

Passing through liminal spaces / experiences can be contradictory — joyful and uneasy. What if we slow ourselves while making a transition and let ourselves understand that non-space between? What sort of view does it give us of where we have been and where we might go next?