Map of Liminal Spaces

If Hollywood is to be believed, our ideal location on this planet is lying on a beach taking in the sun. It’s also easy to enjoy a view from a mountaintop, or cityscape at night. Being grateful for a warm home in a cold season is not a challenge.

But what about the places that are overlooked, the spaces that don’t seem to exist as anything but the connective stretches between other places we’d prefer to be? Places like parking lots, vacant lots, underpasses, office building corridors; what in the self-defense community we call ‘transitional spaces,’ or liminal spaces.

For my part, I’ve always taken to forgotten, ignored spots. I enjoy the spaces under bridges, paths that run along abandoned factories, alleyways: the in-between spots. Where I live, there is no shortage of liminal spaces. Networks of passages under the railway station, construction areas, and the connective space between bridges and parks.

There’s something subversive about enjoying spaces society tell us are better ignored. You’re still you in such spaces, still bring all the complexity of your personality, power of perception, stillness of being. The self can flourish in such spaces. Moreover, liminal spaces offer a physical manifestation of impermanence, a view of the change from one location to another.

So, next time you take a walk, bring awareness to the liminal spaces on your route. If you were writing a travel guide to transitional spaces in your area, what would you detail? What comfort or intrigue can be found in such places? What of our own projections do we bring to them?

Finally, what are the liminal spaces of our beings? The crepuscular space between thoughts that somehow don’t qualify as thinking. The amorphous, undefinable emotions. The vague, scarcely felt longings. Are there such things as transitional feelings?

For more mindfulness exercises and techniques, check here.

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