This Easter, two friends and I crossed a threshold into a 4-day space of deep transformation. This was not your ordinary relax and do yoga type retreat. It required willingness to travel into the great unknown of deep shamanic processes. It is not without some trepidation that we approached such a space.

Somewhere in the remote and ancient Cederberg, we turned off the main drag onto a rough, dirt road. An old metal farm-gate marked our entrance. Bounding down this 8km rumbling stretch we knew we had left the ordinary world and crossed into something else. Once you are in, you are in. Until it’s done. Which sums up life, in a way. 

Thresholds are archetypal gateways we must move through in order to change.

Like a snake outgrows its skin, they mark the shedding of a phase of life, of moving from one state of being to another. It can be as significant as birth or death, or as small as seeing yourself in a new light.

  •  The signed divorce paper.
  • The birth of a child.
  • The new position.
  • The car accident.
  • The declaration of love.
  • Taking the red pill.

Each time a threshold is crossed, there is no going back, at least, not as the same person.

What have been some of your significant thresholds?
What did it take for you to cross them, if you did?
What inner resources did you need to draw on to do so?

In my dating days, I avoided men who were not yet divorced. They were still in the limbo space of the threshold … bouncing around on that uncomfortable dirt road, between one gate and the next. Anything could happen. You might turn back. You might get stuck. Best leave you be. 

There will be Guardians at the Threshold

They are there to test your resolve. To make sure you are up for the task. These Guardians are sometimes external, often internal. They can show up as real obstacles (a fierce lawyer, a cliff face, a physical illness), internal doubts (what if I fail, what will people think?), other people’s opinion or well-meaning advice, or as symbols in dreams. They will try to prevent you from crossing. It’s their job.

What fears or voices tried to prevent you from crossing?
In what ways might they have been right?
What might have happened if you had given in to them?

Sometimes they are right, these Guardians. Sometimes the time is not now, the threshold is not yours.

Honour each threshold you cross no matter how big or small, happy or sad. They are signifiers on your journey through life. They mark the shedding of a skin you have outgrown, even if that is simply an out-dated belief you had about yourself. And in your growth, you are coming that much closer to the fullest expression of your authentic Self, which is the ultimate purpose of life.

(This article was originally published on LinkedIn)

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