Back to Normal

There is much talk about us getting back to normal. But what does that mean?

In the modern everyday sense it means conforming to a common standard, what is perceived to be conventional, what is expected and accepted. The word normal is derived from the Latin word “norma” which in Roman everyday language was a carpenter’s square. A simple 90 degree set square which meant the Roman’s built buildings that were straight, stable and strong. Liminal space invites us to recalibrate our set square not against what is considered common, accepted or conventional but against our core values. In liminal space we realise what we considered normal was not normal and was in fact bending us out of shape.

The gravitational pull of the old order of things and our ability to forget what we learned in the disorder of liminal space makes a new order hard to find or conform to. The cornerstones of a new normal are acts of intentionality and altars of remembrance. We have the opportunity to choose what we carry with us from liminal space into the next season by identifying those places and practices where we experienced grace and growth. We can choose to be intentional in protecting time and assigning energy for the continuation of these practices. Our journey out of the liminal space of lockdown along with our post pandemic lives will be shaped entirely by our yes and our no.

Seasoned with extraordinary courage liminal space allows us to transition from being driven in to lockdown to being led out of it. A life well lived is not a life well driven it’s a life well led. We likely would not have chosen the restrictions we have faced over the past year but we can embrace the opportunity to be honest with ourselves about who we’ve become and what we’ve been doing.  

Liminal space helps us to rediscover our right angle. As we observe the race to return to normal let’s resist the urge to conform and hold on to this right angle shaped by our core values.

Mark Lawrence is a leadership and culture consultant