Thursday, March 17, 2016

Cloud of Unknowing

Last night, I took this shot of an unusual golden cloud formation over the south end of Forest Park. There are all sorts of cheesy metaphors that I could spin (mostly to justify using this photo, which I find pleasing), but I think instead I'll simply tie it to a quote one of my fellow writers shared with me last week. The quote resonated because I don't often come across musings on the word  that forms the basis for this blog title. I've lost track of the number of people who have told me Liminalesque is a terrible title for a blog--and I agree with every one of them, but I'm sufficiently stubborn and enamored of the word to ignore the good advice. The passage below appears on page 244 of The Practice of Happiness: Political Economy, Religion, and Wellbeing  edited by John R. Atherton, Elaine Graham, and Ian Steedman.

"'Limen' is the Latin term which translates as threshold . . . There are those from within the spiritual traditions who perceive the liminal space to be the location for growth and change, the space betwixt and between where God is often leading be where we feel uncomfortable and insecure. The tried and tested has to be left behind and we have to be willing to live with the not knowing and not being in control . . .The temptation is always to return from this scary place too quickly, to retreat from this 'cloud of unknowing' . . . by resorting to quick-fix solutions and interpretations. Few of us know how to stay on the thresholds or to remain in the liminal spaces. . ."

Now, while I don't agree with every notion stated or implied here (the title alone makes me want to hide under my desk), I have to admit that I wholeheartedly endorse the idea that the liminal space is equally scary and full of potential. Like everything else I commit to written language and put out in the world, this blog takes a toll on my courage. Yet, I'm compelled to wander in my "cloud of unknowing" with the hope of . . . well, I'm not even sure about that.