Liminal Space is Where the Magic Happens

Have you ever been the only person in a parking lot at night? Or a hotel hallway after the elevator has stopped pinging and all of the guests are tucked up in their rooms asleep? Maybe you have descended to a subway platform moments after the train has left and you are alone on the platform for a minute or two. Each of these is an example of a liminal space.

The word ‘liminal’ comes from the Latin word ‘limen’, meaning threshold. A physical liminal space is a place where we feel hyper-aware and uncertain, sometimes uncomfortable or unsafe.

Physical liminal spaces are fascinating. Emotional liminal spaces are transformative. I’ve guest posted about liminal space this week on Smart Living 365. Please pop over there to read more.






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    1. Hi Leanne,
      Thanks so much for commenting both here and on Kathy’s site. I love your phrase “magical expectation”. That’s exactly the feeling I want to be embracing too.

    1. Hi Jacqui,
      You may not have heard of the term, but I’m very sure you’ve had the experience. And, given the fantasy writing that you enjoy, I’ll bet there have been more than a few liminal spaces featured in your books. They definitely have that ‘other-worldly’ feel.

  1. Hi Karen, I’ve read your post over at Kathy’s website and left you a comment. I have experienced this many times but have never heard of the term ‘liminal space’ before. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and I like the idea of accepting liminal space as something magical rather than to be feared. It would certainly help us cope with change and transition if we looked for the magic, wouldn’t it? Have a lovely weekend. xx

    1. I love that, Sue – looking for the magic. In fact I just finished an interesting book about finding the magic in everyday life. It’s called The Enchanted Life and it’s by Sharon Blackie. I love the idea of being enchanted by our world, and of embracing the liminal space as an opportunity for the magic. Thanks, Sue. I hope you have a lovely weekend too.

  2. Hi Karen,
    I really like how you have left us a teaser here on your blog and finish on Kathy’s blog. I have been over to Kathy’s blog to read the rest and comment there, as you know, but I wanted to mention here that I have noticed quite a few tribe members following you over there too. This blogging community is top notch! So many opinions and discussions and fellowship going on no matter where you go. I love all the mutual support happening too! 🙂

    1. Hi Susan,
      I so agree with your assessment of our community. What a wonderful tribe of women. When I started Profound Journey I wrote that I wanted to “find my tribe of women who want to live vibrant, creative, purpose-filled, passionate lives.” Done and done!!

  3. I love that photo, Karen. I can just imagine being at the end of the jetty, surrounded by the ocean with the waves crashing behind me. That would be a magical liminal space =)

  4. I hadn’t thought of liminal spaces as ‘magical’ but I see your point. In the discomfort of the chaos there is also boundless potential, limited only by our imagination. The magic is in harnessing it.

    You’ve given me reason now to take my time and enjoy this part of the journey.

    1. That’s interesting, Joanne. I’d thought of the magic as being the boundless potential. But I can see what you’re saying – the magic is in harnessing that boundless potential and allowing it to inform our lives.
      Either way, you’re right – a good reason to take our time and enjoy where we are right now, even when where we are is smack dab in the middle of the uncomfortable chaos.

  5. Hi Karen, I didn’t know that this period of time has an actual name. Fascinating that it has actually been identified and described. I also thought it was interesting the importance of not holding on to previous aspects of your past life. As you already know I am in Wilno this weekend. So far it has been nothing short of magical. Barry’s Bay and Wilno are small places but there is a wealth of family history there for me. I found a letter that my grandmother’s uncle wrote to his parents (my great grandparents) from overseas just around WW1 time frame. I got goosebumps reading it. It is our family’s history as it ties into world history. Never knew this stuff before. I waited until this point in my life to explore this stuff! I didn’t have time for it before.

    1. Hi Fran,
      I’m really happy for you. This memoir work has opened up an entire magical world for you and you have the time, as you say, to enter that world and embrace all that you find. It makes me think of Lucy going through the back of the closet into Narnia.

  6. Hi Karen. Years ago, I first learned about the concept of liminality when I was trying to describe the feeling I had as someone who wanted to become Catholic but couldn’t for a while. In that space, you can feel like you don’t really fit right, anywhere. OS I really appreciate your advice in the section “How to Survive and Thrive in a Liminal Space.” It is possible to thrive despite the feeling of not belonging. Have an awesome week!

    1. That’s a great example of a liminal space, Heather. I have another friend who wanted to become Catholic and she too found that for a period of time she belonged nowhere.
      I hope you have a wonderful week too, Heather. Warm thoughts winging your way.

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