It is disquieting to wait. Sometimes, we want to get to the next thing, but we find ourselves delayed for a minute or two. Other times, we are long-stuck facing an undertaking. Moments might leave us held in place for reasons we don’t understand. Things seem off—something is not quite right while we wait. We might notice and odd quality of light, a strange smell, or still silence when we linger in some sort of passage from one place to the next. Places that come to mind are empty hospital rooms, the home of a deceased person, an airport, stairwell, or elevator: all liminal physical spaces. Empty houses are liminal spaces that I find most unsettling. I can almost feel that life is missing. I’m cold, the space feels lonely, and I want to leave. I want to open windows, let light in, play music, and invite people inside: anything to make the place move from stillness to life. I want to transform it before the space is ready to be transformed.
There are physical liminial spaces all around us. We also have spiritual and emotional liminal spaces. You can be affected by certain spaces while others may not influence you at all. In my experience, there is some kind of trigger that pulls the individual into the in-between. Certain songs stop me in my tracks and stir my spirit. No matter what I’m doing, I stop everything, close my eyes, and take it in. Five or ten minutes passes, though it seems like an hour, but in a good way. When I transition back to the moment at hand, I am restored. Certain smells wake up my emotions. Lilac brings me to a standstill. I breathe in and out deeply, pausing for a time to take in the scent. What was chaotic all around me is suddenly calm. I am drifting in a liminal space that heals and brings respite.
I don’t know how other people experience liminality. This is not a popular topic, and we all have trouble verbalizing liminal experiences. I do know that some people don’t connect liminal places with positive experience as I often do. The artist in me finds refuge in the echo of an empty space or in the strange and disquieting cessation of time. Painting serves as my portal into these spaces. I am suddenly not where I was five minutes ago, and I am not where I’ll be when I put my paintbrushes down. I am lost somewhere, and I do my best to seize and describe this “Somewhere” in my paintings. Even if you believe you lack all talent and skill, it does not matter. You can still seize these moments as I seize them. Find a creative channel that can quiet the disquieting “In-Betweens”: a channel that will offer you clarity in both the fleeting and unyielding moments anchored in time. Creative expression offers you calming, quieting, and soothing in the otherwise unsettling liminal spaces where we all find ourselves in waiting.