Project: Inside Liminality
Inside Liminality is a project that explores liminal experiences and encounters from a variety of creative perspectives. This project presumes that creativity is an essential resource for finding our way through potent forms of ambiguity, confusion, uncertainty, risk, and vulnerability that threaten our well-being.
My interest in liminality is inspired by a variety of challenging personal experiences in my life that threatened my sense of well-being, and in one case, my survival. The most traumatic experience in my life remains a dark night of the soul. Although I wrote these articles as a way to try and help myself find a way back into life, they have resonated with a large number of my readers.
After thirty years of journal writing focused on personal transformation, I have only recently realized that the pattern which connects everything I had written was liminality. Had I been aware of the concept earlier in my life, I suspect that some of the more difficult and painful experiences I went through may have been reduced, shortened, and alleviated to some degree.
When we explore our personal experiences through the lens of liminality, we strengthen our capacity for reducing psychological and emotional disruption. Liminality is also an essential element within the creative process. More than a means to help alleviate internal pain and suffering; liminality is also the medium of artistic expression and innovation.
Project: The Liminal Frontiers of Aging
“The Liminal Frontiers of Aging” is about finding ways to rehabilitate and expand our understanding of aging. It seeks to broaden our language of aging by exploring various dimensions through the lens of creativity. Moreover, this project is about establishing aging as a source of universal belonging connection to an animate earth.
I became interested in aging during the struggles and painful experiences surrounding the loss of my parents. Some of these experiences included:
- Bearing witness to aging progressively causing increasing levels of normal aging;
- Using aging-in-place strategies to allow them to live at home as long as possible;
- Becoming a primary care giver;
- Navigating the shift from an independent to interdependent lifestyle;
- Advocating for their physical and financial wellbeing;
- Acting as Power of Attorney for health and financial;
- Navigating an increasing frequency of medical crises;
- Counterbalancing the clinical detachment of the medical establishment;
- Watching relationships with others become increasingly fragile;
- Witnessing dementia steal away aspects of the personality and memory;
- Suffering from care-giver burnout and emotional distress;
- Selling the family home and moving them into long-term care;
- Easing the burden of death and dying;
- Planning their funerals;
- Working as executor for their estate;
- Encountering unfamiliar and traumatic levels of grief, anxiety, and depression;
- Finding my way back into life after the death of my parents.
Aging is not just about becoming older; the essence of aging is about liminality, impermanence, and becoming more fully human across the entire arc of our lives. This project is organized around five main topics:
- An Aging Body: The aging experience means that in the normal course of life each one of us is destined to become older, increasingly frail until our body can no longer support life.
- Mindful Aging: From a psychological perspective, each one of us is required to navigate turbulent thoughts, feelings, and emotions generated by the experience of aging.
- A Spirituality of Aging: From a spiritual perspective, aging is the experience of belonging and an act of primal participation inside the natural flow of life.
- Society and Aging: From a cultural perspective, the experience of aging in the second half of life remains an uncharted phase of life.
- The Environment of Aging: From an environmental perspective, becoming older is a source of primal connection to nature and the great flow of life that animate our planet.