We’re all in a liminal space – so what do we do with it?

My wife introduced me some time ago to a great word: “liminal.” It means, according to my Oxford, “occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.”

In terms of the election, our nation, and perhaps even the world, we are definitely in a liminal space.

We are between Election Day (or Election Season) and the inauguration on January 20. We are between the initial reports of vote counts and the final certification of those counts. And, we are watching the Trump administration implement some last-gasp destruction, even as the Biden administration starts gearing up to repair things.

Forward Kentucky is also in a liminal space. When we started in 2016, I said my goal was to stay committed to the work through the 2020 election. We’ve done that. So, now what? Expand? Contract? Stay the same? Stop completely? That discussion and that thinking are going on right now, and will continue through the end of the year, at least.

The one thing I know is that when you are in a liminal space, one of the best things you can do is “possess your soul in calmness.” Wait. Listen. Don’t try to push; allow the next door, the next step to come to you. It will, in time.

In the meantime, we’re going to “keep on keeping on,” as my father used to say. And if you find what we do valuable, one way you can show that is to become a member, if you aren’t already. Every membership helps us to imagine the future with confidence, even as we wait in the liminal space.


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Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. He has been President, Vice-President, and Treasurer of the Metro Democratic Club, and has served on the Democratic Party Executive Committee in Louisville. He began blogging in 2004, and currently operates two personal blogs (BruceMaples.com and brucewriter.com). He founded Forward Kentucky in the wake of the state elections in 2015, and expanded it in the summer of 2016.
He has lived in Louisville since 1992 with his wife and two sons.

2 thoughts on “We’re all in a liminal space – so what do we do with it?”

  1. Anthropologist Victor Turner mapped out how various forms of community break out in liminal spaces when we revert from interacting with others as members of roles and statuses to interacting with each other as unique individuals outside of status. The pandemic itself is a liminal space between the before and after.

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