How many thresholds do you cross each day? How many doorways do you pass through? These can be literal (your front door, the grocery store, workplace) or metaphorical (moving between parts of the self, embracing a new activity, authoring a change in behaviour). Do you linger in front of the doorway, pause in that liminal space or cross the threshold boldly, with determination?
Journal prompt: Make a list of doorways you enter and thresholds you cross as you go through your normal life. Make a map of your day by listing the thresholds you cross – see how many times a day you make that decision.
Adrienne Rich’s poem Prospective Immigrants Please Note begins:
Either you will
go through this door
or you will not go through.
The poet weighs up the possible implications of going through and then of not going through:
If you do not go through
it is possible
to live worthily
to maintain your attitudes
to hold your position
to die bravely
but much will blind you,
much will evade you,
at what cost who knows?
The poem ends:
The door itself makes no promises.
It is only a door.
Click here for Adrienne Rich reading her poem.
The poem tells ‘prospective immigrants’ that going through the door will involve both losses and gains, but that there are choices to be made about how to live, and consequences of choices. In that sense we are all immigrants and face those choices often.
So what does crossing the threshold mean for you?
Journal Prompt: What is the door in front of you right now? What is on the other side? What is the choice you are being asked to make? What holds you back? Imagine you open the door – will you go through?
We also have choices about what to take through the doorway and what to leave behind, for example, from one year to the next.
Journal prompt: What have you brought with you from 2016? What have you left behind?
(In December I became a citizen of the United States of America. I went through the door, I’m waiting to see what is on the other side.)