Again in liminal space

I’ve never been one to do a year-end review or set resolutions for the New Year. And I won’t be doing so now, in these first days of 2023.

Rather, I’ve long thought that each new day offers a new beginning. I declare my intentions, decide on my priorities, and take action accordingly.

More a plodder than a planner by nature, I typically take steady baby-steps towards my chosen goals.

If he give me credit for being a plodder he will describe me justly. Anything beyond that will be too much. I can plod. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.

William Carey

And yet, I do set general personal and business goals, for how else to know what to plod towards? If I didn’t know what I want, how would I know when I get it? It may be something as simple as telling the universe I wish to go on another road trip or as complex as setting a deadline for our big move across the big pond.

Yet as circumstances change, I feel free to adjust my aspirations, my direction… and I often do. Attached to the process; detached from the outcome. There’s room for creativity and inspired action. That has worked well for me.

Plodding (and planning!), however, feels problematic right now; now, when I find myself in liminal space.

Liminal space is a curious concept I explained in the context of war. But today I’m referring to my personal emotional liminal space as I face continued uncertainty about the state of my body, as well as to my physical liminal space as we prepare to leave a country we’ve called home for over three decades.

It’s interesting the way in which one has to balance life because you have to know when to let go and when to pull back … There’s always some liminal (as opposed to subliminal) space in between which is harder to inhabit because it never feels as safe as moving from one extreme to another.

Bell Hooks

The old is fading fast; the new still undiscovered. This year starts out with the specter of momentous transitions for me—and for my honey.

Ever since the last of my anti-cancer treatments in April, I believed—or wanted to believe—that I was done; done with cancer. My body just had to be nourished back to full strength. That fairy tale, of course, was busted a few weeks ago when the tumor in my eye was identified.

Because of the holiday pauses, it took a while to get the sonogram on my left eye done, to get the ocular oncologist to tell me his diagnosis, and then to connect with my general oncologist.

Not surprisingly, the ophthalmologist confirmed the initial findings. He wrote (in part) in our Viber chat, “Based on your ultrasound, which states that there are high amplitude spikes, it appears that the mass is solid. A solid mass is highly suggestive of metastasis compared to a melanoma (low amplitude spikes). My suggestion would be to seek consult with your medical oncologist for a whole body work up.” 

So that I did. My general oncologist still has his doubts about what’s going on and scrapped the series of tests he had prescribed before.

He wrote, “Maybe we should skip the above tests (if he is entertaining a metastasis from an unknown primary) and do a PetCt with contrast instead. That way we are able to look at your entire body from head to toe. Will be very surprised if this is a metastasis that it came from the breast given your favorable prognosis. Although possible, best to look into all possibilities.

Maybe after that if it still remains puzzling, we can always get a 2nd opinion from Dr. (Xyz). Two good minds are still better than one, especially if the story does not fit.”

Yes (underline mine), and add my mind to that, too, please.

I expect to get the PET-CT scan with contrast done this week.

Not knowing and waiting can feel discombobulating and distracting now and then… and that is the essence of liminal space.

The global visionary and humanitarian, Danaan Parry likened liminal space to “hurtling across space in between trapeze bars.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing and the bars are illusions we dream up to avoid the void where the real change, the real growth, occurs for us. Whether or not my hunch is true, it remains that the transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich places. They should be honored, even savored. Yes, with all the pain and fear and feelings of being out of control that can (but not necessarily) accompany transitions, they are still the most alive, most growth-filled, passionate, expansive moments in our lives.

Danaan John Raymond Parry

I continue to stay curious, accept, and surrender to what is and what is to be.

My consulting business is going well and growing, but this new startling event has once again led me to decide to put on hold my sharing of business thoughts on social media and marketing my offers. Letting go of my persona as a marketer comes easy when that never did define me.

My focus turns once again to self-care and downsizing all the stuff in our home to prepare for the major move. Hoping the path ahead will not be too bumpy for me and us, and that, by next year this time, we find ourselves healthy and well settled in a new home that is waiting for us. Are you listening, universe?

One last thought to share today. I was chatting with my dear friend Lable last week and we agreed we were past setting New Year’s resolutions based on a felt need for personal growth. He added that the more meaningful question for him was: “How do I want to feel?

And in a flash of insight, it occurred to me that mostly I am (and for quite some time have been) feeling exactly how I want to feel: at peace and with love in my heart.

So, 2023… bring it on!

How about you? How do you want to feel? What are your hopes and dreams for the year ahead?

14 comments

  • Francesca,
    You’re write with such beauty and clarity and give those of us without that talent a way to put what we are experiencing into a format that others can understand. I am so grateful to you for that.

    My only comment is that I am so glad that you are at peace with love in your heart. As for the test, the results are predetermined and your ability to move forward within that framework has already been established and proven. I know you will do so, with a certain sense of confidence and resolve. Please know that I am thinking of you, and sending all my very best wishes,

    Jane

  • You said it all, Cisca! Am sending positive energy your way – and sorry, I am not sad that you and Lordson are coming back to my side of the ocean!!!!! However, I know how it feels to leave a home and neighbourhood community of 30 years. And I can say that the human connections remain and the ‘stuff’ and locations gradually morph into the new ‘home’. It is evident to me that ‘home’ is wherever I can make a wonderful space for myself and my loved ones whenever they visit me…

    Love you muchly.
    Jenniekins

    • The wonderFULL thing about emotions is that we can feel more than one AT THE SAME TIME! 🤪😊 So I remain sad about leaving good friends here and also excited to get closer to soulmates like you, Jenniekins, and to other longtime cherished friends! Not at all worried about creating a new nest… that indeed is about making a space and have a lifetime of experience doing that. And you know I love you muchly, too. 🌸💜🌸

  • So glad to read that you are feeling “at peace with Love in my heart”, Francisca. May this feeling continue to comfort and support you as you continue to “Trust the Process” and discern your choices for response and action, day by day. I have Faith in your ability to meet circumstances and discern what is right and true for you and your Honey. I experience awe and respect when I read your postings. Sending Love, Hope, and Faith to you both in this time of transition.

  • Francisca, your blog is so inspiring. Thinking of you often. I’m a fan of your writing and will stay tuned. Prayers and positive thoughts will continue coming your way.

    • Thank you so much for all that, Lori. It fills my heart with joy to know you care! 🌸💜🌸 Happy New Year to you and yours!

  • I feel the same about the space between knowing one is better with a plan (and having something of one) and doing one’s best with the territory they’re in: go slow (plod) to go fast. That’s actually the science behind navigating: plan your passage to gain confidence that there are options, off-ramps…but travel at safe speed to diminish the (true and stupid) risk of scanty information. I see you knowing this brilliantly given the talks with yourself and the (very and most) wise ones around you.

    I know your friends and clients know this about how you do all you do: navigate 🗺️honestly and brightly, joyfully. The blips in your peace are just that: a chance to adjust given your planning (so you see the liminal space, the destination) and plodding/plotting.

    In sailing we’d say, “prepare to come about” to announce that space between thought and action…a moment of neutrality/peace before change/comprehension into new territory.

    How do I feel? How do I answer you and Lable in this moment? What a delight to be here on the map, plodding happily, joyfully, together with you.

  • Wow adventure ahead! Where are you moving to? Hope everything goes well. Fingers crossed for the Pet scan test results. 🙏 lots of love

  • Even in a year like this and all is going through- you inspire us so much! Everything will be great, has to!

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