filling liminal spaces

I find myself stuck within unchartered liminal space. The unknown and untraversed territory of being 39 weeks pregnant. Life is surreal and time feels like a cosmic joke in this “before” that proceeds the “after”. Today, I’m contemplating the ways in which I keep myself present, as the liminal spaces of my life continue to fill themselves.

Liminal spaces of body- the ever disappearing gap between my belly and tops of my thighs when I sit. The swelling that fills the landscapes between my fingers. The fading of expanse between my rib cage and breasts.

Liminal spaces of mind- my understanding of time and it’s air of indifference as I watch the maple leaves begin to block out the road beyond our yard. The anxiety that’s arrived late, without invitation, to the party. My ambivalence towards most everything outside of this bubble we’ve constructed.

Liminal space of heart- the waxing of impatient patience. A craving for nothing more than quiet and writing and books and paint. The slamming of a door on whatever threatens to infiltrate these precious (albeit drawn out) days.

The advice I hear regularly is to enjoy these moments leading up to birth. The space between, the sort I’ll “never have again”. Historically, I’ve believed this to be a practice worthy of attempting, in need of a particular brand of valiance. But in this context, I find respecting the process to be exponentially more difficult. How does one do it- enjoy the calm before a storm? The thrill of speed before the brake? The freedom before the bow to service? How does one shift the gaze from hours or days into the future to right here, right now?

I’m finding tactile practices to be of benefit. Especially the sort of practices that one wouldn’t initially classify as tactile. In simply noticing my sense of touch as I go about my tasks, I am able to get out of my head (which I almost exclusively exist in at any given moment). In doing so, I exit future-land. I ask my sense of touch to keep me grounded, to keep me present.

I paint. I notice the weight of the brush and the varying sensations that different sorts of paint procure as I move said brush over canvas. I write. I do this intentionally to get out of my head- to feel my pen lightly scratch the paper and my hand drift across the page (thus the type of pen and paper I use these days bears more importance than usual). I read books, of various thickness and weight, and I move my finger word by word as I read. These sensations have come to feel like mini homecomings, regardless of whether I’m reading fiction or postpartum guides.

I have found a new sort of joy in washing the dishes and hanging the laundry, even folding it afterwards. Noticing the temperature and texture of these little bits of life slowly changes how my brain works. I find myself grateful more often than not. Touch is a gift I overlook all too often. It is, little by little, allowing me to savor these fleeting moments I initially wanted to pass quickly.

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