In the universal story, every quest involves a separation; the initiate leaves what is comfortable and familiar and ordinary and enters the unknown. Thresholds symbolize the space between leaving and before beginning something new. All beings on earth cross this line at pre-determined stages – from seed to sapling to tree, caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly. From one year to the next, seasons come and then turn into the other. Each time between what was and what will be is a gap of sublime balance.
Thresholds signal a head’s up. Cross this line and your old life ends. A thousand tiny butterfly wings flutter in your stomach. Your throat turns dry. Your body senses a change is coming before your conscious mind does. The past dies. The future fades. Energy rushes up your spine.
The protagonist of your story, too, travels through thresholds, many of which are pre-determined, universal, and archetypal from the wounded child to warrior to victor. Your story turns from the beginning to the middle to the end.
Familiar thresholds in a writer’s life cross from want-a-be to beginner to prizewinner to fifth rejection, published and back to beginner. Throughout your writing life, you experience emotional shifts about your story and your life: from happy to sad, frustrated to confidant, worried to joyful.
The moment you move from one into the other, you embark on a new path. First, however, comes consciously crossing the threshold.
Some thresholds are significant enough to be called portals or grand entrances to new and exotic worlds. Examples of this passage from the ordinary to the sacred are down the rabbit hole, across a bridge, into a forest, under the sea, one moment to forever. On one side lies intent. The other involves action.
Dreams never leave. They hound, haunt, whisper and beckon you closer to that which scared you the most. To reach the treasure you long for, you first must face your greatest fear.
It’s a lot of work. My friends might not like it. I could fail. I’d be exposing myself to ridicule. I’m not smart enough. I’m not good enough. I don’t have enough time. I’m not enough…
Each step draws you deeper until you stand on the threshold of a major turning point in your life. When you are the most convinced you cannot go forward is precisely the moment to forge ahead. The depth of your fear and resistance determines the potential for profound change. Leave behind old beliefs and take with you the promise of something new.
Often these thresholds are guarded. Threshold Guardians are giant and frightening and fierce and made up of dense energy. In the form of lions, dragons, serpents, and winged bulls, they demand the setting aside of an old personality as a way to protect access into the next realm.
Threshold Guardians can also be internal:
A perceived state of lack and insufficiency
Compulsive negative thinking
Pain of past hurts
Fear of future’s unknown
When you consciously cross the threshold, you abandon old emotional ideas that no longer serve you. The ordinary horizon enlarges and intensifies.
Whether the threshold to the next step is open and invites discover or is closed in secrecy against dangers and shadows, a threshold is a point of truth. Something has happened and something else will happen. Only this exact moment is real.
For one breath, one heartbeat, one moment, you are suspended, straddling both worlds and neither one at all.
To consciously move from the known, comfortable place to an unknown and threatening place takes great courage and heart and requires action, one step, one word at a time.
What’s a time you crossed over into the unknown and found a gift waiting on the other side?
Have you been teetering on a threshold with the potential to launch you into a whole new life, talking and planning and thinking but never doing? What’s stopping you?
If you knew you couldn’t fail, what threshold would you cross today?
Causes Martha Alderson Supports
Santa Clara Children's Shelter
Santa Clara Animal Rescue