The change is within us. We bring that to the world and liminality is that process of revelation. What we do with our change is up to us.
Be the Change
Let me start with a quote so common as to have become a platitude about change:
Be the change you want to see in the worldcommonly attributed to Mahatma Gandhi
One of the dangers of platitudes is that we stop considering them. We take them at first glance and know their meaning from overuse. Everywhere I look I see people going ‘yada, yada, if you become the change, blah, blah’. Let’s look more closely for a minute at the first word. That first word is ‘be’, not ‘become’. We are the change already. Our challenge is to live it. The resonance of the quote is that we have power in change, if we acknowledge what’s already within.
The Limen Within
I was asked a powerful question on yesterday’s post on liminal spaces. The question paraphrased was “Is the liminal space external to us?’ You can already guess my answer.
We are that space. The sense of transition, transformation and unease comes from within. When you look at lists of liminal spaces they are so diverse that it is hard to find a common element. The commonality are that they are places of reflection and movement. They are places that give us pause to reflect. The transformation of the limen is a psychological call to agency.
In that reflection we are likely to discover the changes that have already happened in us without noticing. We are the change before we even know it. Liminality manifests from within. In our busyness, we are the last to know.
Liminality, like our personal purpose, creeps up on us as we go about life, until we must rush to catch up with our own new being. We have an inkling before we know in the form of yearning. We make efforts to reconcile our external reality to our inner feelings, even ones we fail to fully understand. Self-sabotage is the outcome of doubt, not the cause. Anger, fear, hesitancy and procrastination are the outcome of reluctance to move forward, not the cause. Surprising success is the outcome of blithe confidence, much to our chagrin. Impressive competence is the outcome of newly won capability. All we need do is put it into the world.
We can be the change, because we are already there and our challenge is to reconcile the world to that change. Liminal spaces are our place for this recognition and where the transformation begins. The other side of a boundary or threshold we can appear anew and start the work. We will not share our change with the world unless we do the work. Seeing what we are is the start. Where we go from there is only up to us.
3 thoughts on “The Limen Within”
Good morning, Simon.
Thank you for sharing — and yesterday’s post.
Not to be tendentious (but then I am a lawyer — for my deep, brooding sins) but do we will our will? To be more precise, where does the passion, desire or motivation come from? Our conditioning? Our culture? Or do have our hand completely on the tiller?
Julian. Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I’d love to say the hand is on the tiller and that we always will our will. Experience tells me our will is partly emotion, partly experience and partly conscious rational processes. It’s condtioning, culture, context, community and more. I’ve effectively said yes to all your questions but I suspect the root of passion, desire and motivation is neither simple nor universal. Understanding and Leveraging it for the value of agency and our work and life is the human condition.