Do you feel stuck in neutral? You might actually be in liminal space. Liminal space is that space between spaces. It’s as if you are standing in a doorway, not yet in and not yet out. Another way to describe it comes from my friend, Bev Grall. She talks about “cell soup.” Cell soup is in reference to a caterpillar in the cocoon when it is simply a soup of cells prior to its transformation into a butterfly. Cell soup is that space of “no thing.”
Here’s the kicker. We often become very uncomfortable when we are in liminal space or “cell soup.” We don’t know what is next and fear pops up and sends us back to safety. Or, what I should say is, back to what we perceive as safety. It actually is what is known, thus feels comfortable. And, that isn’t even true anymore. It isn’t comfortable, it’s simply familiar.
This is a space of being unclear. You may have a few whispers about what is next. You might even acknowledge those whispers and then immediately say, “That’s not possible. I can’t do that!” When that happens you revert back to the old, familiar, the “should do.” The answers are not clear, they are a bit out of focus.
Begin to notice when you are in that place of not knowing what the next step is. Settle in with that not knowing and let it be. Let yourself be ok with not knowing the exact outcome you’re looking for. Liminal space and cell soup are not definitive. There aren’t clear answers. It’s a space of inquiry and curiosity.
How can you be more curious about this feeling of being unsettled without needing to know the entirety of what’s on the horizon? What questions can you ask to get to the layers underneath what is obvious about your discontent?
Liminal space and cell soup can feel very, very uncomfortable. You have a niggling feeling that something else is out there for you to do. Let yourself be the observer. Notice what is showing up in your life. What gives you that glimmer of interest? Who has circled into your life unexpectedly? Where are you bored? Those are all places to be curious and see what comes up.
Liminal space and cell soup are a way forward into a new chapter of your life. It could be changing your business. Maybe you will want to enlarge your circle of friends or become active in groups that you haven’t considered before. It might be time for you to step into being more fully you, the you who isn’t concerned any longer about how people might react if you said or did what you know to say or do.
Being in liminal space or cell soup are places of incubation, inquiry, and curiosity. It’s ok to be there, not knowing what’s next for you. It’s a signal that you are ready to take the next step and can be ok with not knowing exactly what that might look like. I don’t know about you, but when I learned about these two concepts it felt like I had permission to not know my plan and to be ok with that place of simply being.
What does liminal space or cell soup look like for you? What might be on your horizon if you let yourself embrace the space of “no thing” without feeling like you had to go back to what you already know?