Friday, August 30, 2013

Liminal Space

I ran across a phrase in"Strengthening the Soul of your Leadership"by Ruth Haley Barton, the book we are reading for our staff book study. The phrase is "liminal space". This was not the first time I saw it. I don't remember the source but I read it recently. In the book we are studying it said:

"Most of us have not had much training in waiting...Richard Rohr calls this waiting place "liminal space"; liminal comes from the Latin word limina, which means threshhold."

The author than quotes Richard Rohr:
"Liminal space, the place of waiting, is a unique spiritual position where human beings hate to be but where the Biblical God is always leading them. It is when you have left the tried and true, but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else. It is when you are finally out of the way. It is when you are between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer..."

For me, this new phrase required some digging; a need to know more about this thing that sounds vaguely familiar; this place that sounds like the place I am in again. This place of transition and transformation. This place doesn't seem quite so scary as it did earlier in my life. After 20+ years of walking with the Lord I've learned that if one keeps themselves open to God's transforming work in their life, then one will walk over many thresholds! When we stay open to God's transforming presence in our life He tends not to let us stay in comfort zones for long. We get too comfortable! When we are comfortable we don't grow much.

So, as is my fashion in recent years, I dig and research and read and ponder through art journaling:

Liminal space:
  • space between the "old" which may no longer work and the "new" which is not yet clear.
  • the space or place between states of existence or experience.
  • "betwixt and between"
  • a doorway; the small space you occupy when leaving one room yet not quite entering another.
  • liminality - the ambiguity or disorientation that occurs when you are in the middle of transforming.
Transformation is not easy. It stretches us out of our comfort zones. And it seems that our human nature is to be comfortable, thus it becomes a battle to keep ourselves open to God's transforming presence. Every fiber of our being fights to stay comfortable, but our soul, our spirit,  yearns to be transformed into all that God calls us to be. For me, once again, I see the great benefits of staying dedicated to practicing spiritual disciplines in order to stay connected to God and hear His voice.

The daughter is here. :) 
And we are off for a fun weekend of family time. 
Enjoy your long weekend!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ok, so another post about contemplation never happened last week. I had grand ideas about writing a few posts ahead of time in order to post on a more regular basis...but it just didn't happen. I dream of being a consistent daily or semi-daily blog poster. Maybe someday. :)

This week school began, my daughter is flying in tomorrow, we are heading to my sister's house in Michigan for my niece's couples bridal shower/family reunion...busy, busy, busy. I really did enjoy the slower, more relaxed pace of summer.

So today I'll just post some of the art that goes along with my pondering, reading and discoveries as I continue to explore spiritual disciplines connected with contemplation. I'll come back and write more about my thoughts at a later time...I promise.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Contemplation ~ a few definitions from various dictionary sources:
1. The act of looking thoughtfully at something for a long time.
2. Deep reflective thought.
3. Concentrating on spiritual things as a form of private devotion.
4. A state of mental awareness of God's being.

I've been in a dry spell lately. A time when it's been difficult to hear God's voice. When I face times like this I find it helpful to try different spiritual disciplines; different from the ones I generally fall back on. I think sometimes it helps to mix things up in order to hear from God in different ways. After all, all relationships go through times when we realize we've fallen into a rut of doing the same thing; times when comfort zones need to be stretched; times when we need to try new ways of connecting. I believe our relationship with God is no different.

"God asks us regularly to change, to grow, to step into something unexpected." Jeanette Baake

And so, I find that over the past few months I've been exploring spiritual disciplines that are more in line with contemplation ~ solitude, lectio divina, reading from the ancient authors of the faith...I don't abandon the practices that have been formative over the years ~ Bible study, journaling, prayer, and in recent years art journaling. But I have found it beneficial in dry seasons to try other practices along with my "daily" ones. And slowly the dry season experiences times of rain, times of nourishment, and I begin to hear God's voice again ~ though He has not been silent, rather I have not been listening in right ways. Is this perhaps what dry seasons really are? Times when we listen more to our own voice or to others' voices and drown out the voice of God and so it only seems that He is silent? That's worth pondering ...

Dry seasons, exploring spiritual disciplines, figuring out the hard stuff, discovering the things that make you who you are, and discovering more and more about who God is and how He relates to us, these are all a part of our journey. Our life journey, our spiritual growth journey, our growing into our true self journey. We must learn to embrace the journey.

I continue to art journal through our study of 1 John:

I have some more thoughts and art about my exploration in contemplation and will post again in the next few days. :) 

In what ways (practices/spiritual disciplines) do you find yourself connecting to God?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Little Bit of This and A Little Bit of That

The slow, easy, laid back days of summer are quickly speeding up. In a matter of a few short weeks school will start and life will fill up fast. It will be good to see all the kids and teachers and school staff again, but I will miss the slower pace and relaxed feel of summer.
Quite by accident the other day, I made an art discovery. I was putting gesso on some book pages to prepare them for making art and I didn't like the thickness of the gesso on one of the pages. So, I took an ungessoed page and put it on top of the gessoed page to "lift" some of the gesso off. I loved the result! I ended up with pages that had a distressed feel to them.

Art play is so much fun! And therapeutic! It is a mystery how playing with paint and paper and pens and glue can rejuvenate me and restore my energy and my outlook. No complaints though, I'm just going to keep going with the flow and enjoy my time art journaling.

Journaling with Hope Wallace Karney in her Layers of Thoughts course:

Some of a distressed gessoed page made its way under the letters. :)

Week 1: Inspiration and Wonder

The picture is a flap page with writing hidden underneath.