Crossing Thresholds

People have great ways of describing feeling stuck in their progress. They use the imagery of a brick wall in front of them, standing at the edge of a wide chasm, looking ahead and seeing only dense fog, or feeling their feet stuck in the mud. When you wish you could keep moving forward, but are feeling stuck in a place, you are really standing at the edge of a personal threshold. It is a sort of gateway, built by your own perceptions. To get through it, you are going to need to do some internal work, usually on your own beliefs about what is possible or what a situation is really about for you.
Often enough, feeling stuck has to do with your defensive beliefs built up by your fears and feelings of lack or limitation. Everybody comes upon these threshold experiences as they go through life, it is basic to how we grow and expand. When you learned how to ride a bike, cross the street by yourself, or walk to a store on your own, you crossed a threshold and the size of your world changed. When you went to your first dance or on your first date, you crossed a threshold and your way of looking at social life changed. You may have found you enjoyed the experience, you may have decided that it was not for you so much. Whatever you learned about yourself, you did it by taking on the challenge of crossing a threshold and you changed somewhat as a result.
If you think about these defining experiences, they come in all shapes and sizes, and are defined by your beliefs about the experience or situation. Parents and other authority figures, including society as you know it, have imposed what they see as important thresholds onto your belief system. Common examples include religious rites of passage, passing tests to get good grades, getting a job, getting a raise, finding a life partner, becoming a parent, moving up through the ranks.
You come up with your own thresholds too, which are every bit as important to you and your journey forward. Facing down a bully, finding the courage to tell your mom that you don’t actually like “your favorite meal” all that much anymore, taking a chance and befriending someone who comes from outside your comfort zone, deciding to completely change your college major, deciding to be honest about your sexuality, listening to your gut and saying “Yes!” when your head has nagging doubts, listening to and accepting your child’s life choices. Every time you move through one, you change and your world changes. You learn more about yourself and what your journey forward will be.
Moving through a threshold does not always end in growth and expansion. The experience can also close you down, cause you relate to new experiences in more fearful and guarded ways. It is all in how your thoughts and beliefs reacted to the threshold experience. It is important to the quality of your life to know that you can learn to be in control of how you approach and move through the thresholds the come up in your life.
There are useful things to know about the threshold you are standing in front of. The first is that the threshold is a signpost of your progress. You may not have any idea how to move past it, but the fact that it is in front of you now acknowledges where you are and what you are presently capable of. The second thing is that you may have a choice about taking the challenge on. People do stop dead in their tracks and stop growing because there is a threshold they are not willing to take on. They are not willing to make the necessary changes to their thoughts, beliefs and actions, and they stay stuck. But, they do have a choice. The third thing is that you can get through it. Why? Because you created it out your beliefs about what it means for you. Evolve your beliefs about it and you will be able to move on past in a life-affirming way. It’s up to you, whatever anybody around you says. That is your power, the freedom and ability to choose.
So, what are some of the more common thresholds that people find themselves in front of? The fact that they are “common” does not lessen their importance to a person’s journey. It just means that many people have shared the same threshold challenge. Here is a starter list of non-specific thresholds that people face in their effort to expand and grow:
  • Learning to try new things, approaches, methods that are outside of their learned norm.
  • Releasing childhood fears, self-limiting beliefs and behaviors.
  • Learning to trust and use more than their first five physical senses.
  • Learning to trust themselves.
  • Learning to trust the process of Life.
  • Moving through the realization that their beliefs might not be helping them to grow, in fact might be holding them back from achieving their potential. Also, realizing that their parents’ and other authority figures’ opinions and teachings might have been off-base and not reflect their own personal reality and path through the life experience.
  • Likewise, that their current concepts of and beliefs about morality, right/wrong, and good/evil could use some evolution and deliberately taking that on.
  • Deciding to give up the victim stance.
  • Learning that the habit of passing judgment limits personal growth more than it helps.
  • Opening to active appreciation, being grateful.
  • Taking ownership and responsibility for their actions, then thoughts, then emotional state.
  • Taking on the challenge of releasing a low sense of self-worth in favor of a self-view that works better for their well being.
  • Learning that that they have inner critics and saboteurs hiding in their belief system, and that these can be released or transformed.
  • Coming to the life altering understanding that despite what they’ve believed previously, they themselves are actually the only thing standing in their way.
  • Coming to understand that their own dreams, goals, and aspirations are vitally important.
  • Accepting that they don’t know it all, or even much of it yet. That life stretches out in a multidimensional sphere, and it’s just up to them to choose a path that works for them where they are.
  • After being emotionally wounded, learning to be “vulnerable” again, learning that it is alright to try again, to move forward.
Is there an end to the the process of moving through thresholds? Well, you will always be growing and progressing, so no. They are the benchmarks of your ongoing growth and progress. Just understand them for what they are and use them to your advantage. Learning about something scary tends to take the sting out of it. Perceiving and moving through thresholds is the most natural of processes. Look at how the it works:
  1. Here comes a challenge, really an opportunity for you to grow and change again.
  2. Your beliefs about that keep you from just sailing on through. You have created a threshold, a seemingly closed gate, right on your path. On the one hand, it shows your present doubts, fears and limitations to you. On the other hand, you’ll know when you’ve moved on through, and so it can help you mark and acknowledge your progress.
  3. You work to make the internal changes, turn them into new actions and move on through. Your world changes a little or a lot, and so do you. On you go!
  4. Here comes another one. Will it be the same process again, or are you getting better at sailing on through these things?

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