I can be such a jerk.
On Tuesday I honked my horn at a couple in a van who was, by my estimation, taking way too long to park. There were at least 20 open spots and nothing in their way. So annoying.
They turned into a spot, and I saw that they were an elderly couple with at least 160 years between them.
The guilt. The shame.
I pulled up beside them, rolled down my window, and apologized for honking and being a jerk.
They nodded and smiled, and I realized that they didn’t speak English.
So I mimed an apology for my actions until they seemed to understand my point.
We ran into each other in every aisle of Trader Joes, and each time we did, we smiled, laughed, and waved at each other.
When we stand in a place of knowing and righteousness, we take ourselves out of the liminal space. I knew how long it should take a person to pull into a parking spot. I also knew I had a right to move as quickly as I wanted and needed to, especially since there was no reason for them to move so slowly. I also seemed to know that some people are justified in moving slow while others are not.
When we stand in the liminal space, we cease to know. When we cease to know, we eliminate opportunities for righteousness. We stop basing our actions on norms, rules, obligations, and expectations, and we start to take actions consistent with what’s actually happening in the moment.
Choosing to stand in the liminal space is like choosing to focus on one’s breath. Gone is the fixation of the mind on its thoughts and habits and there is the simplicity of the inhale and exhale.
I thought about this incident in the Trader Joes parking lot while I was out for a walk. Ironically, I got annoyed with yet another driver. This time, I was planning to turn left to cross the street as soon as his car passed. He crept slowly down the street, making it impossible to cross. Exasperated and annoyed, I stopped, turned around, and made it clear that I was trying to cross. The man smiled, waved, and turned right into his driveway. The whole time, he was waiting for me to cross his driveway so that he could turn without hitting me.
Seriously, I can be such a jerk.
But I call myself that lovingly because I know, on some level, that I’m not a jerk, I’m human. We all make judgements and take actions based on our thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and we often do so according to what we think we know about people, events, and circumstances. It’s human nature. We all do it.
But we can choose to embrace the liminal and let go of what’s familiar and easy. We can move a moment beyond our immediate thoughts and reactions and act from a space of presence and clarity.
We can move, if we choose to, moment by moment and breath by breath through life.
In love and liminality,