Most days of the week, you probably walk through a doorway. Or a threshold, sans door. Some thresholds are more significant than others, marking a transition or triggering an associated feeling. Here are a few of mine:
The threshold to the room I write in
The front door to my home
The door to my office at work
Most days of the week, we don’t think much of the doorways in our lives. Entering and exiting different spaces is just another obligation. Autopilot engaged. In reality, the world is changing beneath your feet––or it could be.
Whether you work from home or live in a tent, thresholds have power. They signify a beginning. What if crossing a threshold was a daily ritual? What if it was sacred? What if the same old doorways became hallowed gateways to the person you want to be?
I have an experiment for you. It won’t cost a cent and takes no more than 60 seconds. I’m not sure how to quantify the return on investment. Let’s say you could transform your front door into Heaven’s gate.
Imagine taking your everyday doorways and creating rituals for crossing the threshold. Kathleen McTigue says practices become rituals with intention, attention, and repetition (Ter Kuile, 2020). Here are my attempts:
Before I cross the threshold to my writing room, I turn my cell phone off. I leave it outside, and I enter the space as a writer with a single focus.
When I leave my home through the main door, I write “love ya kid” on a scrap of paper and put it in my pocket. My old camp director would say that to me––and everyone else on staff––to cap off most conversations. I touch that note throughout the day and remember the feeling of being young and filled with confidence and purpose, being myself under the sun and trees, feeling connected to the smell of pine and all the people I love. When I get home and cross the same threshold, I put down my bag and recycle the note, intending to reciprocate that love with my family.
Arriving at my office, I touch the door handle and STOP. I smile. I focus on touch, specifically my hand on the handle and my feet on the ground. I take one deep breath. And then I say peace and plenty, my mom’s family motto, a recognition that I already have everything I need. Before I leave my office, I tidy up the space. I cross the threshold knowing that I’ve put work to rest and in good order.
It’s fun cooking up threshold rituals. It’s also game changing. People put inspiring words above the exits of locker rooms for a reason. We have the power to turn everyday habits into defining moments of connection and purpose. We can transform spaces, electrifying the air around us. Besides a few seconds, there’s nothing to lose––and whatever you want to gain.
You could start with one door and see what happens. Maybe the first threshold you cross each day, or the last. Perhaps the door that spikes your anxiety, or the one that makes you smile. It could be the one with your demons behind it, or the one with your dreams. Whatever you choose, ask yourself this question: Who do I want to be on the other side?
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