The Liminal Era: A Survival Guide
(As published in Rebelle Society)
Some call these uncertain times.
You see, times really are changing. We can all feel it. We all feel the change deep within our bones … yes! We are living in interesting times. Things are moving from the collective unconscious to the conscious.
This is a liminal era.
Yet many fear it. For them change is an enemy. The enemy. People have become accustomed to their way of life, to the positions that they hold and the small powers that they grasp. Patterns are so deeply ingrained that they do not know how to cope with the shift. Change causes insecurity and anxiety. Suspicion and mistrust. Latent fear. And their fear may manifest in different ways.
Some speak of the change in hushed voices, fear dripping from each syllable as they shake their irresolute heads and click their wagging tongues. They wish to find somebody to blame for it. They finger-point and criticise, desperate for a scapegoat. Desperate to shift responsibility. To pass the buck. Adamant that they will not be answerable for the change. It was not their fault. They are not liable.
Many will lose themselves to a wealth of distractions in order to numb their feelings of fear. Anaesthetise themselves by any method possible. Divert and detach themselves from their gut instinct, which screams at them that the this change is imminent. They sedate themselves with their chosen form of distraction, becoming so mollified and comfortably numb that they are easy to control. They become submissive in the face of change because it easier to be passive and apathetic. They would rather succumb with indifference to the change – in whatever form it comes – than attempt to shape it. Willing and indifferent victims. They take the path of least resistance.
Some will become master manipulators. Exploiting the fear of change for their own gain. They make soundbites of it. They will twist it and contort it to meet their own agenda and then they will shout it from the rooftops, casting the curse of it down upon us all. They revel in their messages of doom – preaching in ecstatic fury of the tribulations and terrors that we all face; warning us that the change will come like a thief in the night to heap unknown horrors upon our heads. Fire and brimstone. Hell and purgatory. Shock and dread. They will bombard us with this message until we are saturated, until it soaks into our subconscious – delivering it to our doorsteps and transmitting it into our homes. Then they will sit back and bask in the ensuing panic – for there is power and profit behind fear. Fear sells. Fear controls.
And some try to fight it. Tooth and nail. They scream their indignant rage at those who advocate change. Because it threatens their privileged authority. The keyboard warriors who speak in a language of menacing aggression, spewing forth their tirades of expletive-filled bile. They are incensed by it and use intimidation tactics to silence those who speak out for change. They mark their disgust by marching through the streets, proudly wearing their rancour upon their sleeves as they furiously wave their sinister flags of contempt. Those who spray the bullets of their terror into a crowd of strangers. Those who strap their explosive fear onto their bodies to cause mass death and destruction. Those who would massacre and annihilate for the sake of eliminating the effects of change.
Yet others do not wish to engage in it at all. Although they have felt this change stirring within their blood, they choose to bury their vague heads in the dirt, even when they are knee-deep in the mire. They sidestep the complex mess and pain of reality in order to live in comfortable echo-chambers. Living in hope that any unpleasantness will all go away if they simply pretend it doesn’t exist. Naysayers to negativity. They wish for nothing more than to be wrapped within the complacent blanket of the status quo and fed upon the sweet nectar of false positivity. Addicted to the banal and the trite. The convenient and the pleasant. So they turn their eyes from the reality of change and the anguish that it can bring and resolutely reject their part in it.
Then there are those who deny the change. Try to discredit it. If they cannot be shown sufficient proof then they scoff at it. Scorn it. They turn their backs upon change. They keep calm and carry on with a stiff upper lip and a wilful but blind fortitude, for they truly believe that if they can push on through the ambivalence then everything will go back to normal. Back to the way it once was. Business as usual.
But these are liminal times. Threshold times. And we have moved too far beyond the status quo to go back. Far too many of us have woken up and are we are no longer willing to live in a state of suspended animation. The balance has tipped. We have crossed the boundary. Now is the time for us to hold liminal space.
We are face-to-face with transition. We are on the very cusp. So how do we navigate a liminal era?
We seem to have forgotten that change is natural. It is a part of the cycle of everything and – as uncomfortable as it may be – it should happen. Must happen! Or life becomes stagnant. Within the natural world liminality is necessary for transition – of the four seasons two are transitional. There can be no bright summer without the bursting forth of spring nor can there be a deep, restful winter without the halcyon breath of autumn. Dawn and dusk linger in the place betwixt light and dark. There would be no day and no night without those liminal moments, we would live in a single state of being – always light or always dark. Therefore, we too should recognise the power of the liminal times.
And so we should embrace them, these liminal times. We are on the cusp of something new. And this is a time to be courageous. Bold. Tenacious. We must become aware and knowledgeable. Emotionally literate. Consciously in-tune. We should learn to listen rather than locking ourselves within convenient spaces where our own beliefs are amplified and repeatedly reinforced and vilified. It is time to weed out the garden. To get our hands dirty. To work.
We must learn to self-reflect. To practise self-awareness, self-care and self-healing. We must understand that when we live in a liminal era we work within both the dark and the light; both states are necessary. Both are crucial. Whatever resides within the dark must be brought into the light. So it is time to dig deeply into those dark places and observe our own behaviours as well as the behaviour of other people. We should recognise our own triggers and how our triggered behaviour manifests. Do we act from a place of aggression or passive aggression? Do we fall into patterns of complacency or victimhood? Do we seek to control or to neglect? Do we attack or do we avoid? We must become fully mindful of ourselves. We must become intimate with our own patterns and cycles. Our own insecurities and pain and how they may interplay with that of others’.
It is important to reach into our own psyches in order to be truly honest with ourselves and accept our own raw imperfections. Because the beauty of our human complexity requires us to understand that we each have an active part to play in this coming change.
We need to learn how to discern the truth. Listening to our gut – discovering the language of intuition as well as the dialect of logic. Delving into the truth and sifting through the facts. Misinformation is rife, it is time to ask the right questions in order to find the relevant answers. We must make our mistakes in order to learn from them.
And it’s time to have courageous conversations with difficult people. Those people who hold such fundamentally different world views to our own. We should attempt to listen past our anger, past our prejudices and our disgust – listen deeply into the fear and pain of others, even when we cannot agree with them. We will only understand their behaviour by understanding the source of their fears. And it is only by finding some common ground – however minuscule – that we can start to build a shared platform from which we can launch forward into a strange new world, to seek out a new way of life and create a new civilization, to boldly go where no-one has gone before.