Anna’s Story: Rhythms of Reflection

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Prior to working with Liminal Space, I was struggling with work/life balance at my job. Every day, I came home exhausted and was unable to fully engage in activities that were refreshing. It was difficult to imagine a different future. I found myself asking if there was a type of work that I could pursue that would allow me to exercise my creative side, while incorporating gifts of administration and leadership. I knew I had developed unhealthy patterns of serving others while neglecting my own needs and I deeply desired to carve a new legacy for myself. There were elements in my life that I needed help to discover a ‘way forward’. I had born witness to positive changes in a couple of my friend’s lives, as a result of walking through their own Liminal Space, and I knew that my next step was to reach out to Jon.

Knowing that I had some significant writing and reflecting to work on for a Liminal Space assignment, a friend of mine invited me to spend a rainy day on their cozy porch at their home in the country. The drive out there was symbolic of a part of my journey where I would leave some things behind.  As I was writing, the rain fell harder and harder. I was curled up in a heavy blanket. In the beauty of the silence, I came to the realization that there was a part of me that I hadn’t forgiven. That part told me I wasn’t worthy of love and manifested itself in a constant denial of my own needs, an incessant silencing of my desire, and a chronic quieting of my own voice.

I didn’t want to write those words because once I did, it felt like they were more real. And I didn’t want to acknowledge that a fairly positive person who is loved by many, didn’t love herself. Once I wrote those words I had to sit with the discomfort of the reality that I had been living a half-life. Not fully invested anywhere, but with a clever disguise of faithful loyalty and service.

‘I want to be someone who Loves Well’. This was my response to Jon’s question about how I wanted to live my life.  Little did I know that part of the journey to knowing a deeper love was experiencing a great weakness in the form of some health issues I would have never chosen, but continue to be grateful for.  My struggle with health invited me to ask loved ones for help, support and encouragement. This was a huge adjustment for a women who strove to be independent and self sufficient, so that she could help others. I had no idea how deeply I needed to know that ‘my people’ would rise to the occasion to meet my needs.

Despite encountering challenges with health during my Liminal Space Journey, I found encouragement, peace and comfort in the rhythm of reflection and writing Liminal Space invited me into.  I made the choice to consciously and intentionally invest in my future story, when my past and present seemed to be falling apart.

The hope that drove me forward was the belief, however frail at first, that my ‘ghosts’ could truly have less power over me. The more that I sought to identify and name the ghosts or barriers and patterns from my past, I was faced with the choice of whether or not I would continue to grant their voices power over my life.  I began to seek the voices that built me up, made me stronger, kinder and more able to receive love.

I have transitioned into a new career, embraced a praxis of sustainable leadership and, having experienced the vibrant joy to be gained from risking vulnerability, have learned that it’s possible to love myself without condition, and from that place, am able to love others more wholeheartedly. I now embrace a consistent practice of self-care and possess clarity regarding the strengths I bring to the table, with a deeper knowledge of the shadow sides of those strengths.

I have discovered that pride, fear and shame deserve no airtime in my life, except to point me back to the truth. I discovered that I am fiercely resilient and able to risk bold love.  My Liminal Space Journey afforded me the opportunity to narrow my focus on the few things I want to fight for during this one chance I get at life. It has given me the confidence to know when to say ‘no’ and has firmed up my ‘yes’.

Having been able to receive love and resurrect my voice, I have made space in my life for actively pursing my gifts of hospitality, administration, worship and encouragement.  I am now working at a job that encourages me to exercise my creative side, while incorporating gifts of administration and leadership. The work is challenging and rewarding.  And I have energy to invest in my personal life again!

My advice for someone engaging in a major life transition is to be selective with who you invite into your Liminal Space. I chose a few trusted loved ones. Let them know what you need. You might want them to simply sit with you in the tension of the in-between. You might need them as a sounding board. 
Go somewhere that reminds you that you are a part of a bigger story. I chose a location with an expansive view where I could see for miles.  Let yourself indulge in types of creativity that bring you joy and recognize that there is a special and unique purpose for your Liminal Space Journey. Give yourself a break!

As my Vocal Jazz Professor shared with me during college, ‘don’t be so proud that you won’t take a job cleaning toilets to put food on the table.’ This advice came in handy as I pursued a variety of part time jobs including a cleaning job that afforded me the mental head space to ponder my Liminal Space writing assignments.

Here are some questions that I regularly ask myself. Perhaps one will resonate with you as well.

– In what ways do I need to be poured into?

– What does rest look like for me?

For me, asking these questions honors the part of my soul that was created to wander and the part of my being that was designed for movement, the outdoors and fresh food.  You may be surprised by your answers to these questions. Or maybe you don’t know the answers yet, but just simply exercising the posture of humility it takes to ask these questions can prepare the seedbed of your heart to begin cultivating change.

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