As we move through chaotic times, this chapter advocates an appreciative stance as one
way to positively reframe living with uncertainty; this reorientation allows the freelancer to
consider new scenarios while also engaging emergence. As the writer Henry Miller notes,
“One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things” (Miller,
The Liminal Experience: Somewhere Between Falling and
There is a rush of anticipation and heightened awareness that leads up to being awarded a
job or project and a sense a relief when it is complete. Kasumi, an experimental
filmmaker and Guggenheim recipient, aptly describes this experience, “freelance is a cross
between flying and falling.” The freelance experience holds this antithetic tension.
Media freelancers were already wandering through the liminal landscape of uncertainty
before the financial meltdown. Liminal, from the Latin word for threshold, is defined in
Merriam-Webster dictionary as “relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or
condition; in-between, transitional” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/liminal).
Victor Turner, an anthropologist, referred to this liminal condition as “betwixt and between”
when describing a rite of passage in The Forest of Symbols (Turner, 1967). Freelance is
the personification of a liminal life you are working while simultaneously seeking
employment. You are essentially always in transition which makes your life interesting,
exhilarating, and open to something new and at times terrifying when work cannot be
seen in the horizon.
What is a liminal life? The experience of transitioning and changing but not quite sure
where you are going or even how you are going to get there. One is suspended in the
exquisite in-between feeling the tensional pull of “possibility” on one end and “not
knowing” on the other side. There is a heightened state of awareness when your intuitive
antenna is activated and fear is momentarily pushed aside while you embrace the
uncertainty of seeking work or completing a new task. A successful freelancer needs to
muzzle the fear or they cannot focus to create either the work or an opportunity. As
Deepak Chopra mentions in a discussion about what is important in life, “I embrace the
wisdom of uncertainty, because if everything is certain, where is the creativity?” (Winfrey,
2012 June).
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