The Messy Middle


Can you think of a time in your life where you found yourself in the gap between something ending and something beginning? There is actually a name for this's called a liminal space. This is a curious transitional time because you know you are on the precipice of something new but you aren't quite there yet. It's an experience of being called to release what you thought you knew at the same time you are letting go of your desire to control what is to come. This creates vulnerability. Neuroscience tells us our minds like things to be regular and consistent and it craves and creates predictability. A liminal space is anything but!

Research tells us liminal spaces can be short or longer and can be physical, mental, emotional or metaphorical...but eventually have an endpoint. Arriving on our designated floor after walking up a flight of stairs is an example of a short physical liminal space.

When it seems there is no end to the liminal space it can be an incredibly scary, uncomfortable and uncertain time. As I listen to many people talk about the covid pandemic, their concerns of rising costs, the election outcome and world affairs...I know they are experiencing a liminal space.

During these longer transitions, people often become afraid they won't have the resources to cope with what is being asked of them. For some people this time of transition can be destabilizing especially when there is a history of trauma. Talking to a therapist when your functioning is impacted can be helpful.

While the reality is we'll all find ourselves in that messy middle space from time to time a liminal space is undeniably challenging for the mind/body/spirit to manage. To become more than your fear and turn these liminal spaces into growth opportunities use these tips:

Keep your heart open and your circle of friends close so you don't feel alone.
Use breathing, meditation, yoga, prayer, journaling (what is this experience teaching me about myself) and body work to stay grounded.
Slow down. Try new things. Take small steps because you are walking in the dark.
Give yourself permission to make a lot of mistakes as you are reorienting.


Boy, do I recognize this place you call "liminal space." It's probably very familiar territory for most of us. Your tips make a lot of sense and aren't difficult. I'll certainly refer to them to remind myself this is how I keep my sanity, and I'll pass them on to my fellow "travelers" 😊 Thanks so much!

Present Valley

I'm so happy that liminal spaces are relatable and recognizable!
Appreciate that you saw the tips as easy to integrate.
Thank you.

Wilsons Grave

Good tips. I've got a history of being in transitory spaces. Didn't know there was a name for it, just that I've felt restless and uncool and always wishing for the dust to settle. Not looking forward to the next "liminal space" but sure that when one comes, I'll remember your advice and follow it to the letter.
Appreciate your post!

Present Valley

Another person who recognizes the "liminal space" in life. Yes, unfortunately there will be another and yet another! A wise idea to keep the tips close by... along with your friends.

Thank you for your comment.


I'm pretty sure I live in this space full time now. Thank god for my friends, my tribe, and accepting that I'm learning a whole bunch of good stuff in the process. Well, I try to keep that in mind anyhow.

I appreciated the steps you offered for a more comfortable path forward while in that liminal space (which sometimes feels like quicksand). Thanks for posting!

Well Street

Your tips are beneficial in a host of ways, and knowing they can help ease the choppiness of liminal spaces makes them even more inviting to integrate.

Thanks very much!