We shake with joy, we shake with grief.
What a time they have, these two
housed as they are in the same body.
Being human is complex—especially being human in a body. There are moments in life when the tensions we hold are simply overwhelming, disorienting, and beyond language, like losing someone we love. But there are also moments when this tension, while still powerful and tangible, is somewhat elusive—like the uncertain times in our lives when we stand in the threshold between the familiar and the unknown, or the thinly known. Many of you find yourselves in a threshold moment, a liminal space, as you anticipate studying at The Seattle School in a little under two months.
Some of you will be relocating to a new city, leaving home, families, friends, and jobs. To add to the feelings of disorientation, a pandemic has blurred clear timelines and plans and the necessary distancing has greatly narrowed options for physical connection for new-found friends and fellow students. You will all be reorienting your life around new rhythms, adjusting to changes in relationships, jobs, and friendships as graduate school take up space and time. We imagine that, for most of you, this liminal space is occupied by anticipation, excitement, anxiety, fear, and grief—not to mention the needs and concerns of other people (spouses and children) and the major decisions that still loom ahead. That is a lot to hold in a body and to comprehend in a mind.
It is often not until after we have crossed a threshold and are looking back that we are able to put words to all that we are feeling, holding, experiencing—to put words to what we need. That’s why it is so important in the midst of liminal spaces to find playful and practical rituals that help you locate yourself in relationship with God, yourself, and others.
Here are a few we would suggest:
Ask questions without agendas. Write about it. Talk about it. Definitely laugh about it. Connect with a Seattle School mentor. Give us a call. Pray.
Find ways to slow down and engage all your senses: Eat good food. Listen to good music. Play outside. Read books. Light candles. Take baths. Have fun with essential oils. Build something. Do yard work. Be good to your body. Sing hymns. Take communion.
Remember past times where you’ve found yourself in the in-between and what you learned about yourself and God. Write down moments of experiencing God’s provision and guidance. Say thank you to the people in your life who love you well (thank yourself). Read old journals. Meditate on texts that have brought comfort and encouragement.
Give yourself permission to feel all that you feel with no judgement. Embrace your human-sizeness. It’s okay to feel awkward, out of sorts, and disoriented. Ask for help. Be patient with yourself and others. Remind yourself that you are enough.
As you enter this season of transition and realignment, know that we are thinking of you and holding you close to our hearts. Know, too, that your future classmates are journeying through this season alongside you. Feel free to reach out on your Facebook cohort page to connect with one another; you’ll be in class together before you know it!