Liminal Space as a Magnifier

Liminal space is a magnifier, amplifier and accelerator of what was there before - the good, the bad and the ugly. This made lockdowns a huge challenge but also a massive opportunity - a kairos moment inviting us to number our days not count them.

In supporting individuals and organisations through the past year or so it’s clear that Covid restrictions, in particular the series of national and regional lockdowns have been a magnifier and an amplifier of everything that was therebefore. Ourselves, our families, our communities and the organisations we are apart of, all looming large in the confined space in which we found ourselves. Our strengths, our weaknesses, what we’re good at, what we struggle with are amplified in the soundproofed rooms of lockdown. The cracks open up, joints are overextended, and tensions increase. It doesn’t feel good or sound good. Lockdowns made things incredibly difficult. But in some ways they also made things easier. The bigger and louder things are the easier they are to see and to hear and to deal with. The harder they are to ignore. There’s also less wriggle room in a smaller space. Things are much easier to corner and less avoidable when they are bigger, more visible and have less room to hide.

So what to do when we are locked down with a magnifying glass and an amplifier? Be honest. We can’t change what we don’t acknowledge and accept. Now more than ever there is an opportunity to reverse the polarity of “don’t get better get busy”. Be brave. It takes courage to be honest. The opposite of honesty is often not dishonesty it’s fear. Feel the fear and push past it. Be wise. Don’t try and fix the whole world. Don’t try and learn to speak French, play the piano and knit all at the same time. Pick one thing and focus on that. The fullness of our individual and corporate lives is limited by the leak at the lowest point. Go after that. Be open. Invite someone you trust to join in the conversation you are having with yourself and to accompany you on your journey, being conscious that;

·        Liminal space offers us a timeout. It invites us to put down our relational rackets and reflect on the games we are playing

·        Liminal space is an exfoliator. It has the potential to strip away the layers of what we do to reveal the real reason why we do what we do. It turns out our motives are not always as healthy as we think they are.

·        Liminal space interrupts the masquerade ball that life can sometimes become and invites us to take off our masks, be ourselves, lay aside pretence and performance and dance without disguise even if everyone is watching.

We were not meant to be able to make it on our own and now more than ever we shouldn’t try.

Mark Lawrence is a leadership and culture consultant