Liminal spaces

Is there anyone else out there who checks their horoscope daily? I am going to admit that as a scientist, I consider this topic a personal conundrum. I am obsessive about reading my daily and monthly horoscope but admit there is no rational reason for me to do so. I have settled on a couple of sources because I like the language they use, but admit that one is really as accurate as another. I actually even go back and read the horoscopes from the previous days in the week just to confirm that it was all nonsense anyway. But I keep right on reading them each day.

Today, instead of thinking about all the stupid and awful, news (or fake news) headlines, I checked my horoscope and learned a new word. And it got me thinking.

Yahoo’s Lifestyle horoscope for Aires (for tomorrow, July 11th) includes this advice: “The liminal area is where all breakthroughs occur. For maximum results, stay on the razors edge.” I had to look it up because I’m looking for breakthroughs as I start my new business.

“In anthropology, liminality is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the rite is complete.” This is the definition that Google pulled up for me from Wikipedia. And as you know if you are a teacher, you NEVER stop at Wikipedia for your research. But when I went further, I found affirmations of this basic definition, as well as a few interesting resources.

I found a blog called Cognitive Edge, and the writer, Dave Snowden, says that “one of the things that makes is human is the ability to remember the past and imagine the future so it is all part of the rich tapestry of life.” I feel better about obsessing about yesterday’s and tomorrow’s horoscopes after reading this.

Liminality is defined in may spheres: medicine, sociology, relationships, etc. I also found a couple of perspectives on more global and social movements and the idea that liminality is a defining feature of where we are as Americans as we struggle to define our common values. All the social movements, shifting paradigms, generational comparisons, and political upheavals seem to affirm that we are living in liminal space. Astrologically speaking, we are at the dawn of the age of Aquarius, which really is a liminal space, too!

All of this is very interesting, and I had to stop myself from going down the rabbit hole and reading all afternoon about each of the facets of this incredible new term so I could actually make my goal of writing words today.

I’ve just joined on as a Rodan + Fields consultant and am absorbing training videos and working with my sponsor every spare moment to transition and explore the business. I definitely feel like I am in the midst of a rite of passage as I work through being a “newbie”. I’ve been so impressed with the trainings and the way Rodan and Fields embraces this liminal space when on-boarding new consultants. So, should you also be thinking about how Rodan + Fields might support your goals of entrepreneurship, be assured that there is a special place for us “newbies”.

Built into the business is an expectation that we need not be experts right away, a tangible sense that we are responsible for helping others travel through this liminal space, and that this journey is transformative. It’s a good space to occupy.

My last connection for today happens to be to the tarot card I pulled today (favorite website is was the Wheel. Now the card doesn’t need much explanation – what goes around comes around. It applies to a lot of things in life. But it’s great to remember that the spin of the wheel is easier to handle the closer you stand to the center. So as I ride this new wheel I’m trying to stay close to the hub, and that’s a good R+F lesson, too. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, just ride along, but try to stay centered.











Who’s Driving Your Train? Why?

My absolute favorite piece of music of all time is Buddy Morrow’s “Night Train”. It’s an iconic piece of jazz genius that pulls me into my FLOW from the first measure. I lose track of everything else almost immediately. My body starts to sway with the rocking rhythm and when the cadre of horns, led by Morrow’s smooth trombone, comes rolling through I am ON THAT TRAIN (Minute 14:25 on the Mercury recording 1959 – but the whole album is an incredible experience.) When it comes squealing to a stop, I feel like I have traveled outside of myself and really gone somewhere. If you get a chance to treat yourself just once today, give it a listen.

Many important train metaphors are embedded in my identity.  One of my first memories is of riding the Georgetown Loop with my amazing grandmother, whom I admire for her convictions as much as her compassion. Reading Atlas Shrugged for the first time at the impressionable age of 19 left indelible images and deep connections to the metaphor of trains, the motors that propel them, and the kind of people that make them possible.  Living mere blocks away from train tracks these days gives me a daily dose of the sounds of forward momentum and continuous journey.

Recently the train metaphor has become really important for me in another way. I happened to need a writing surface last night and I pulled a copy of The Polar Express off my bookshelf. I used it as a surface to pen my first goals for my new business endeavor. Only after sitting down to visualize my objectives and put my goals on paper did I really notice which book was supporting my work.

I joined Rodan + Fields yesterday as a consultant. And I’ve got a ticket to ride the train. Check it out – it’s a golden ticket! 

I thought it was perfect that I had chosen, inadvertently, The Polar Express. It is a perennial family favorite since my boy was little, representing sacred time with my family. It is filled with beautiful artistry, a message about the possibility of magic that lies beyond serendipity, and some deep questions about what kind of grown-up it takes to have faith and take risks.

Don’t get me wrong: if I didn’t BELIEVE in Rodan + Fields and the quality of their products after trying them for a year, I would not have gotten on the train. Res ipsa loquitor: the products speak for themselves. But just having a great product is not really the only reason I am joining this company.

Rodan + Fields puts me on a track and gives me a ticket to go do the thing I think I might not be able to do, and I do love a challenge. The support network is impressive. It means meeting new people, and learning about their personal journeys along the way. It means I will grow new areas of expertise and be able to help others. It is an investment in the health of my skin, the health of my family, and the health of my social network. And those are my WHYs.

I hope the train metaphor will continue to inspire me to stay diligent and focused on the sunset on my horizon, give a rhythm to my forward momentum, and remind me  to sound the horn loud and proud.

P.S. Thanks for supporting my WordPress blog here as Tarbox’s Curious World of Teaching. For those people following, please know that this blog is probably going to deviate from its original purpose, and become less focused on the nuances of teaching, and more focused on wellness in general. Teaching middle school will always be part of my human lens, but the focus of the blog is changing a bit. I am going to promote Rodan + Fields, so if that’s not your interest, no hard feelings if you stop following. I’m also considering changing the name of the page soon to better reflect the audience I hope to cultivate. I hope is still has things to offer you as a reader and I hope you stick with me for at least a part of the voyage.