This morning I was taking a walk, listening to one of my favorite coaches/speakers, Rich German, speak about “Spiritual Integration” — truly living life as a whole person, full of good health, intimate relationships, financial prosperity, and authentic joy. I was walking up on Bernal Hill and on a whim, decided to follow a path I hadn’t been on in a long time.
I climbed up, up, up. And when I got to the top there was a gorgeous view of the city from on high. I stood for a few moments, really taking in the view … and also taking in what Rich was saying about the difference between knowing things in life and practicing them, really making our beliefs tangible in our lives.
Just as I was about to head back down my path, I got an intuition to peek down the other side of the hill. I had to walk only a few steps. And when I peered over to see what was below me, I was enchanted to see a labyrinth! Someone had painstakingly and lovingly (I project) gathered stones to create a sacred space.
I skipped down the path, turned off my audio program, breathed in deeply, and walked the labyrinth. A pigeon was the only other creature walking it with me. Her feathers glinted blue and purple in the sun. I felt connected and just-plain-happy.
While walking back home, I remembered something I had written years ago after another surprising labyrinth experience. Below are a few paragraphs from that story. Or, you can link to the whole article here.
The thing the two stories, the two labyrinths, have in common is this: when we’re present and open, when we’re paying attention, absolutely anything can be waiting for us around the corner.
Sending you great and wonderful surprises today!
From A Slight Sashay; Simply Celebrate Newsletter #12; Nov, 2004
I was walking the labyrinth when I realized that on stage the African body prayer was beginning. I could hear the drumming and sense the energy of the room as 500 people got up to begin to dance. In my mind, I was thinking, “Oh, man. I wish I weren’t on this labyrinth. I wish I could be dancing right now instead of solemnly walking this long, winding path.”
When just moments before I had been thoroughly enjoying the quiet meditative state of walking the labyrinth, now I felt trapped. And I had that junior high school lunchroom feeling of being at the wrong table. All the fun was being had “over there.” Where I wasn’t. I was still doing walking meditation, one foot slowly in front of the other, following as exactly as I could, in the footsteps of the woman in front of me. But my mind was churning. I’m the sort of person who always has to do things “by the book.” In this case, the “book” (a set of rules in my head, of course) said that one must not leave the labyrinth before completing it. And that one must be serious and meditative on the path. So I walked, one foot in front of the other, hands held in prayer position in front of my heart, watching and following the footsteps of the woman in front of me. Anyone from the outside would have seen a spiritual look on my face and in my posture. But my mind was dark and brooding.
And then something happened. Margie, the woman who brought the labyrinth, stepped onto the labyrinth from the side. Not the place you’re supposed to start! She stepped on, and she started dancing the labyrinth. And the woman in front of me started sashaying to the music. She picked one foot up and placed it down, jauntily at an angle with some real oomph to it. I started sashaying. Margie was twirling and whirling and moving to the music as she danced the labyrinth. The woman in front of me was swinging her hips. People around us were smiling and moving to the music.
I raised my arms over my head and began moving them like swans flying in time to the music as I, too, started twirling on the path, weaving gently around people. The labyrinth had become some sort of fairyland for me, where anything was possible. The “rules” (did they even exist?) were broken in order for life to flow in and move us. No longer was I at the wrong lunchroom table, but all the tables were the right ones. Everyone in the whole 30,000 square foot pavilion seemed to be having fun. No one was left out of the joy.