a display of tenugui at a store in Tokyo (photo: Soon-ok Heijmans)

In life, we should have the versatility of a tenugui – the beautiful Japanese hand towels used as washcloth, dishcloth, towel, bandana, scarf, wrapper, bag, mat or decorative item: designed for one purpose, though fit for many uses; flexible but strong; humble yet invaluable; simple and beautiful.

Taking on different roles and dealing with different tasks, situations, locations or people can be trying. But it is what those living in liminal spaces – the in-between area between the known and unknown – are very familiar with. It is the threshold where one phase ends and a new one starts. Where what we have known and held for true loses its relevance. When we have abandoned the tried and tested but are still trying to find our bearings. A turning point that redefines our identity, sense of belonging and traditions. A space of uncertainty and ambiguity, but also of learning and transformation.

The liminal space is the domain of the newcomer, the migrant, the patient caught in the twilight zone between life and death, the polyglot, the learner. The one who seeks to make sense of a changing life to make sense in a changing world, and the one that I most closely identify with; born in Korea, bred in the Netherlands, and based in India; a Korea expert by training and experience, a researcher/writer by fate, and a graphic designer/illustrator by hobby; a gemini by birth, a cancer after healing from cancer, and a vata par excellence; reborn twice and reinvented a million times, my life has kept revolving and evolving at the crossroads of cultures, disciplines, experiences and perspectives.

Explore my blog (content is mainly in English) and leave a message if you would like to join me on my journey to learn beyond fixed notions and borders, and form new connections – gathering honey, while wandering and wondering.

Happy reading!

Soon-ok Heijmans

This blog is the sequel of my previous blog In letter and spirit