This August heat. August 2016.
Ever since I returned from the magic and coolness of my nordic pilgrimage, to the 'heat' of my homeland - a heat that permeates everything: rocks, waters, buildings, politics, food, minds, bodies, souls...- I am sitting in a pile of disorientation, sense of loss and exhaustion. My body is resisting the heat, my heart the stories of death and decay and I just can't seem to find my grounding, my composure.
Something unnamable is occurring, I feel it in my bones, but cannot really put my finger on it.
It's like the walls that make up the physical world are melting everywhere I turn. Multitude of realities starting to show up behind veils of illusion I/we have been dwelling in.
Suddenly the other day, my subconscious or my soul or my writing muse brings forward the phrase I've been waiting for:
"I seek refuge somewhere liminal..." I look up at the meaning of liminal and voila! The meaning of liminality (from wikipedia) gives me an explanation that brings some breath and meaning to my experience (thank you language!):
"In anthropology, liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning "a threshold") is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete. During a ritual's liminal stage, participants "stand at the threshold" between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which the ritual establishes."
I have been here before, in this elusive, unlike-me, almost dream-like, what-the-fuck-is-happening state where I need to retreat from the world, where I stay away from socializing even with beloveds, where I don't want to move much, speak much, eat much, do much. It's more a state of being and witnessing, sensing and receiving and at times (non)sense making. And even though these are certainly more feminine qualities I intentionally cultivate in my life when they are so prominent and persistent, I start questioning my modes, moods and motives...reaching out for clarity and meaning, sometimes too soon.
As a woman it touches me somewhere not-easily-spoken kind of place to see the images of a child so traumatized by an inexplicable violence and I feel like retreating from the world in which children are blowing themselves up for ideologies they are not even able to understand...the familiar walls, structures, even natural-laws of the world I've been born into seem to be crumbling at an overwhelmingly fast pace. Nothing makes sense anymore.
"The concept of a liminal situation can also be applied to entire societies that are going through a crisis or a “collapse of order”. Philosopher Karl Jaspers made a significant contribution to this idea through his concept of the “axial age,” which was “an in-between period between two structured world-views and between two rounds of empire building; it was an age of creativity where ‘man asked radical questions’, and where the ‘unquestioned grasp on life is loosened’”. It was essentially a time of uncertainty which, most importantly, involved entire civilizations. Seeing as liminal periods are both destructive and constructive, the ideas and practices that emerge from these liminal historical periods are of extreme importance, as they will “tend to take on the quality of structure”. Events such as political or social revolutions (along with other periods of crisis) can thus be considered liminal, as they result in the complete collapse of order and can lead to significant social change." continues wikipedia.
Obviously this has been happening for a while but the intensity and the pace of disintegration right now is rightfully disorienting.
I remind myself.
This is where it gets really interesting:
"Jungians have often seen the individuation process of self-realization as taking place within a liminal space. 'Individuation begins with a withdrawal from normal modes of socialisation, epitomized by the breakdown of the persona ...liminality' Individuation can be seen as a "movement through liminal space and time, from disorientation to integration....What takes place in the dark phase of liminality is a process of breaking down...in the interest of "making whole" one's meaning, purpose and sense of relatedness once more""
When something is coming down externally, it has a counterpart internally - every drop of a structure, a definition, a shape, a pattern, a template breaks down something inside me, and so the persona shifts with the weather patterns. It's an ongoing process of birth/death/rebirth in an intimate dance between the individual and the collective.
Perhaps this is the essential process of evolution - allowing myself to be a 'soup' for a while like it happens to the imaginary cells of a caterpillar in her becoming of a butterfly. It's certainly uncomfortable, physically, mentally and emotionally, and exhausting and demanding, I give myself permission to be here and now,
no running away from this state,
I place myself deeper into it,
allowing myself to be carried to a place
beyond hope and despair,
beyond destruction and creation,
beyond right and wrong,
of dynamic consecration.