I walked the labyrinth today. I've walked it a number of times and as the lovely host at the Church of the Servant says, it is different every time. I find this so fascinating, since it is the same path. The same path that I have walked many times, the same path that many have walked many times.
As I walked the path today, feeling the smooth floor supporting my bare feet and allowing thoughts to drift in, I was transported back ten years (nearly to the day) to my first labyrinth walk. That labyrinth was lovingly mowed into a quiet field at Valle Crucis. We walked it in the early morning, the mist still rising from the ground, dew gracefully hanging on delicate spiderwebs. I had just spent five days with these people, strangers five days prior. I learned much about myself, much about them, during those five days at that yoga retreat set in the simplicity of the quiet valley. We slowly meandered the path, our energies mingling as we passed by each other, a sense of peace hanging in the air, the sun still not quite high enough to cast our shadows.
I remember being so nervous about that retreat, being my first. I didn't know anyone there, including the teacher leading the retreat. I had never driven in the mountains and was so anxious about the drive, I pulled up Google maps, set it to pedestrian, and virtually walked the curving roads. I had to know what was next on the path, what was the next step.
By the time I left that retreat, I had spent days connecting with my breath, the present step, the present moment. Leaving the valley that day, I got lost. What would have normally caused me panic and stress I took in stride, paused, and took the long way home.
Today as I walked the labyrinth I caught myself glancing ahead, to see where the path turned, what came next. I smiled to myself as I turned my attention back to the breath, back to this step, back to this moment.
Little did I know ten years ago that attending that retreat, walking that path would lead me to decisions that brought me to this moment. Ten years later I have completed my 200, 300, 85 hour prenatal, Doula Training, Masters in Liberal Studies, and countless other hours of inquiry, investigation, and growth.
We walk the same path many times. Sometimes the turns and curves take us back to our habits, our memories, our anxiety about the future, and sometimes they bring us back to this moment, this breath, this step. When we try to glance ahead to figure out where we're going, we miss where we are. By approaching each step with inquiry, we invite a unique experience and a connection with self.
"If you are facing in the right direction, all you need to do is keep on walking."
~ Buddha ~