Last Wednesday, I had a lousy day, primarily because I disconnected from myself and was swept along for a ride that wasn't mine to take, not getting much accomplished as a result. Pure frustration intensified by recognition I claimed responsibility for something I could have clearly kept my nose out of. A complete waste of time. In turn, I became argumentative and my thoughts and words were clouded with negativity. It was then next to impossible to put clear and good energy into anything so I basically called it a day and vowed to do things differently next time.
In recent years, I have discovered that walking labyrinths has been a very helpful in shifting my perspective. I was lucky in that my last few months of transitioning back to life in Ontario, I had access to the Peace and Carrots Labyrinth in Kitchener, ON when some major questions were looming, one of which was, "Where in the heck should we resettle?!"
We have since landed in Oakville, ON (which much to my delight has 300 km of trails throughout the city!) Of course, before coming here I'd scoped out online where the nearest labyrinth was in case I needed it and found it to be the Central Park Labyrinth in Burlington, ON - about a 15 minute drive away from our home. Yay! I already knew where I needed to go Thursday morning!!
So, I headed out with my iphone, a water bottle and a green zip up pencil case containing a Moleskine journal, a graphite pencil and a couple of crystals. At the entrance, I was delighted to read about the labyrinth and it's beginnings at the entrance, a community project created as a millenium project in 1999 by a local artist and group of Burlington residents. Although I have become accustomed to walking labyrinths composed from grass stone or sand, I presume the coloured concrete materials of this labyrinth were chosen for easy maintenance and longevity.
As I read about the labyrinth, I noticed a man and his young son had gone in just ahead of me and were henceforth running around on the path. It was a joyful and happy scene, albeit not conducive to taking a quiet and contemplative journey along the path myself so I sat on a nearby bench taking a few minutes to set my intentions.
It was a hot sunny day and I found myself getting impatient after I'd decided what question I wanted answered and the noise and activity level wasn't abating. However, I knew it was a community space and that they had every right to be there as long as they wanted, deeply wishing they would understand that others might require less activity and sound in order to walk the labyrinth.
I decided to go ahead anyway as they sat on nearby bench talking away. A few turns through the labyrinth, I heard the message, "Slow down. They will leave." I kept walking and they weren't showing signs of going anywhere. The message kept going through my head, "Slow down. They will leave."
Still not leaving.
Then, I started to slow down more and more, to the point where it was a challenge to stay balanced on one leg as the other leg moved ahead and I realized I never walked the labyrinth that slowly ever before. It was a challenge physically and mentally to decrease my pace to that degree, but as I progressed, the noise was bothering me less and less. At a certain point, I realized it was quiet. They had left and I hadn't even heard them go!
Then, a memory surfaced of a message I received while walking the labyrinth last October at the Sonora Desert Museum just outside Tucson, Arizona.
For those who aren't familiar with this place, it unobtrusively and beautifully connects with the surrounding landscape, educating and informing via friendly docents and primarily outdoor exhibits highlighting desert flora and fauna. I highly recommend a visit if you are in the area!
At the time, I had been staying in Arizona for a couple months - a pit stop on the epic road trip I had embarked on at the start of the summer with my two children. There had been so much activity that year with renovating and preparing our house to sell, selling it, packing up everything into a storage unit, loading up our car to the max with a cargo bag strapped to the top and then setting out on our journey. We covered more than 6400 miles (10,300 km) driving from Ontario through Quebec to the Maritimes and then heading south-west to Arizona.
By the time we landed in Arizona, I was exhausted and trying to figure out next steps. Our original plan was to go directly to California and things kept getting in the way of sticking to it so we had to adapt. I was feeling a bit perplexed as to what exactly we were doing in Arizona, besides the fact that I simply LOVE the desert and the power of this landscape.
Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to walk the labyrinth when I stumbled upon it.
From my journal the next day:
"Remembering turtle. I need to SLOW DOWN and shift my perspective to a broader one in terms of time and a feeling of spaciousness inside myself and around me. From there, I will have greater peace and clarity. To experience infinity in NOW."
So, again, last week in the Central Park labyrinth, I was being reminded of the power of slowing down. Moreover, the importance of taking slow deliberate action towards creating our dreams. Each step has a stillness to it. Even when it's made in an instant, it is done with peace. The disconnection happens in a hurried fear state when reacting rather than responding to situations with awareness.
Resistance is commonly associated with being stuck or pushing back, yet it can also be marked by avoidance and rushing thoughts, emotions and behavior.
My friend and Chinese Reflexologist Holly Tse recently shared the following quote via Facebook:
"Overwhelment is about you not being up to speed with what you told the Universe that you want. The Universe is yielding to you. You're just not ready to receive it right now." -Abraham
Reflecting on this quote, my disconnected state the previous day and the lesson in the labyrinth, I realized that resistance was showing up and I was afraid of change, of surrendering to it and taking the slow deliberate steps needed to make progress.
Although my normal state of being is characterized by wanderlust, I too experience fear of the unknown and can become paralyzed by it at times. There's a part of me that wants to stay the same to feel safe. I hereby acknowledge the wisdom of that part which in it's highest aspect asks me to slow down and stay in my center. Amen.
I believe we can rise to our personal and societal challenges by embracing the spirit of adventure and the enduring wisdom of nature.