Liminal and Beyond

“The Waiting Place . . . [a most useless place]

for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to come or go

or a bus to come, or a plane to go

or the mail to come, or the rain to go

or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow

or waiting around for a Yes or No

or waiting for their hair to grow.

Everyone is just waiting.


Waiting for the fish to bite

or waiting for wind to fly a kite

or waiting around for Friday night

or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake

or a pot to boil, or a Better Break

or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants

or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.

Everyone is just waiting.”

As I was waiting for the will to write a positive blog entry today, these lines from Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go rang through my head.

I’m waiting.  For the end of PMS.  For the washing machine to finish its cycle.  For an expected tradesperson to show up.  My husband to come home from work.  My children to stream up the stairs and into the corner in which I’m hiding (which took one more line of typing, by the way).  For this new place in life to feel ‘normal’, to reach some sort of stasis.

Well into On Moving by Louise DeSalvo now, I’ve read about “liminal life – the life that is neither here nor there . . . These difficult-to-live-through interstices, I’ve read, are necessary for growth: the psychic spaces where the old self is shed and the new one begins to develop (DeSalvo 72).

A few weeks ago, I said that I felt I could become my authentic self in this house.  I didn’t realize how much the move would shake things up though – both our physical possessions and my own psychological foundations.  Everything can’t feel just as it did in the other house, though, because then I’d fall into familiar routines and frustrating ways of being.  Now’s the chance to fix things that are broken.  Discard things that are hindrances.  Create new ways of living and doing and being that improve our life, not just get us through it.  I wouldn’t have done that in the comfortable nest of my other home.

On the flip side, I cannot ignore the pieces of myself that will remain no matter where I am, those rituals that will follow and sustain me wherever I go.  DeSalvo said, “I’ve been waiting to ‘settle in’ before I start writing.  But writing will help me ‘settle in’.” (DeSalvo 88)  Just as there are certain beloved objects that will travel from home to home and comfort with their mere presence, so must I make time to practice these rituals that will soothe me.

I cannot wait for everything in my home to be set up perfectly before I roll out the yoga mat.  I cannot avoid writing until the perfectly appointed writing desk sits in its nook.  I cannot avoid ‘living’ while I run through my unpacking/set-up list.  If I ignore those foundational elements of myself that will indeed make anywhere I live a home, the window of liminal time will close and this chaos will become my life.

No more waiting.

This is not ‘the waiting place’.  These are the living rooms.  This is home.  It’s time to start feeling it.

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  1. godanalytics

     /  January 23, 2014

    I love this post and know that a TON of women would relate. I say women, because JUST IN MY OBSERVATION OF MEN I KNOW….it seems like men (in terms of home life) are more likely to sit around and WAIT for those changes to be made for them while women feel the responsibility to affect the change themselves. I always feel like I’m “waiting” for that perfect mix of just how I need things in order to make the next move. Every once in a while, I get something right in its place….but those times are few and far between.


    • Jennifer Butler Basile

       /  January 23, 2014

      I don’t know what it is that makes us wait. Perhaps we’re waiting for the universe to give us its permission? Or perhaps it’s fear to enact the change, to put ourselves out there?

      Though it’s not necessarily advice I follow 😉 there is never a perfect time to act; conditions will never be perfect. We have to get however many pieces into place that we can and go for it. Or risk that window being shut forever.

      Thank you for subjecting yourself to my philosophical meanderings! I appreciate your comment.


      • godanalytics

         /  January 23, 2014

        I wish you the best in getting out your yoga mat! And would appreciate your positive vibes my way… I’m trying to STOP waiting and START doing.


      • Jennifer Butler Basile

         /  January 23, 2014

        Stretch those muscles! I should, too!


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