Tag Archives: thresholds

Standing at a precipice

biking on suspension bridge

I have the terrible habit of standing at the precipice for far too long. One might attribute this to sitzfleisch or a sort of paralysis that builds up the longer I wait to make my move. Sometimes you have to hurl yourself over the chasm, sometimes you have to ask for help in the leaping.

In my yoga class, we are working on handstands. For two months. That means that twice a week I get to practice hurling my body upside down. I am not at the point where I can do it without support. On Monday, I needed extra support, but I knew I needed to push myself over the hump and get past the psychological block that was holding me back. Today, I was able to go up more gracefully, with less support. But I know if I hadn’t literally hurled myself into the pose on Monday, I would still be hopping and not getting my feet over my head today.

And something interesting happened that I don’t think I’ve ever noticed before. Once I was upside down, my teacher told me to look forward of my hands. I thought I was, but apparently not FAR ENOUGH. When I did look farther forward, I felt my upper back relax and my arms and shoulders could better support me. It doesn’t seem like it should work, and yet, it did.

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In the interim, yesterday morning as is my habit, I checked Facebook after I got up. But within an hour, I had to log back in and then was told my account might not be “real” and I had to verify who I was. I’ve had to do this before, so I identified the 5 people and then got to a new step: they wanted a phone number to text a confirmation code to. I gave them one, and never received the code. If I want to proceed with recovering/reactivating my account, I’m now required to give them a government-issued ID. UH, FUCK NO. Apparently this has happened to a bunch of Instagram users, which as we know, Facebook bought several months ago.

I have no idea why my account got flagged, but I have felt ambivalent about Facebook for a long time. While I mourn the lost connections (primarily the people I met overseas and that was the only way to maintain contact), for the most part, I will not miss it. Facebook had devolved into a stale echo chamber, with most of my friends reposting things they thought were funny or moving or whatever. I did like the minutia of daily life and just hearing what people were doing, but those kinds of updates were becoming fewer and fewer in between. It may have just been that the Facebook algorithm suppressed them, so I wasn’t seeing them at all.

My point here is, just like the handstand, I needed a push. Whether it came from within or without, it was the right thing for me. I spent A LOT of time on Facebook, perhaps to the detriment of other things I want to focus on – like this blog! For now, I want to spend my energy on creating stories I love and connecting with friends over a table, instead of the internet.

ETA: Another friend pointed out this piece: 7 Ways to Avoid Identity Theft Before Facebook Gets Hacked, which just adds fuel to the fire for me in staying off of Facebook. One of the reasons I’ve always felt uneasy was the degree to which they require and/or collect personal information.

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I’d be curious to hear what precipices you are standing on, where you feel you need a push and where you want to push yourself.

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Standing at the threshold

tree framing door

I started to write a post about liminality, which turned out to be rather squirrelly, because it turned out to be difficult for me to structure a piece of writing about boundaries and borders dissolving. I was getting away from what I really wanted to talk about, which is about living at the margins. I have talked to a couple of people about this, and the notion I want to stress here is that this is not about being marginalized, but rather about hanging around at the edges – which are also often the points of intersection and overlap.

In my mental map of where I am located relative to the groups I associate with, it’s always on the edge – almost rarely it is in the center. I feel uncomfortable in large groups. I often feel like an oddball, that for whatever reason I just don’t quite fit in. I’m too slow, I’m too alternative/mainstream, too queer/not queer enough, too sensitive, I lack ambition, I’m not driven enough, etc. If I pull my gaze out further, I often imagine the spider web or Indra’s Net, where I am one point of intersection but if I only reach out in any direction there are a multitude of connections.

I like to hang out here, because there are interesting things that happen. And mostly, because I am perfectly positioned to connect people who are closer to the center. I have this idea that I am like the gloss that monks used to write in their manuscripts, adding commentary to color to the original text, expanding on it in some way and connecting people in the present to something from the past.

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Liminality is about “standing at the threshold” – except that it refers to ritual space and an internal transformation that occurs for the participant. According to the wikipedia article, liminality has become more widely adopted and applied by mainstream culture, “undermining its significance.”

I love the liminal space, because it’s the space of transformation and also the space of possibility. It’s the place where the boundaries of time dissolve and we become connected across time and geography. A friend posted on Facebook about re-enacting an action that was done hundreds of time in the past in preparation for a ritual and how it collapsed the boundary of time until he felt that he was with the people who were doing it originally. I have experienced that same thing when I prepare food that I know my grandmother or ancestors going back further made. It’s like I have this power to bring the past to the present.

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In my mind, these concepts are connected, just the like various groups with which I interact. However, connecting them in words is proving to challenge my abilities. I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these concepts and how you relate to them or how they relate to you.

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