I was so excited! I had the opportunity to walk a labyrinth, by myself, on a beautiful sunny morning. I was prepared to have quiet, contemplative time as I was doing this so I left my distractions (aka my phone) in the hotel room. My very first reaction as I entered the labyrinth was anything but quiet…I thought to myself, “I could just walk to the center – the lines don’t matter, they are just painted lines – I could skip the ‘work,’ go to the center and walk myself out.” Interesting that my mind went straight to “getting it over with” when I had been looking forward to this time for days.
Regardless of my desire to finish the walk quickly, I took a deep breath and set off along the path of lines. I had several observations along the way:
- The path didn’t always go where I expected it to go
- Some of the segments were short and some were long
- Some of the long segments had a lot of crumble and grass growing in the cracks
- Sometimes I would think I was close to done but the walk was far from complete
- It wasn’t about the ‘center’ (the destination) at all
There were moments of clarity about how similar these observations were to my life! My path seldom goes where I think it’s going to go…but it’s always better. Some of the segments (aka lessons) are shorter and some seem as long as forever. Along the longer segments there are more, and obvious, obstacles to overcome (crumble and grass that made the lines hard to see). And I can’t even count how many times after reaching a goal and thinking I was “done with it,” something about it reared up to smack me in the head.
Now, when I saw that I got “out” of that labyrinth faster than I got “in,” I realized this illustrates that once I “get” something, the next time it comes around I have what I need to work through it more quickly. And the final realization that, just as in life, it’s not about the destination (the center in this case) it’s about everything we get to be, do, and experience along the way.
Labyrinths are used in many cultures and practices; in all of them it is about contemplation. This was a walk of metaphors and it was a great reminder of some of the simple truths of my life. I wanted to share this with you as an invitation for you to take a look at what are you not (enjoying, seeing, fulfilling???) by ignoring the path and rushing to the “center.”