For awhile, I’ve been fascinated by labyrinths. Organized. Peaceful. Reflective. They let you focus entirely on your thoughts.
Outside of us, a labyrinth is an organized world, as you walk the series of circles. The circles move you towards the center and you don’t really need to pay attention to your path. It’s organized and laid out for you
Inside our minds and hearts, as we walk, the labyrinth holds the space to reflect and reorganize.
Do you have trouble blocking out the outside world’s sounds like I do? If so, you’ll appreciate my shells labyrinth experience. At the Sandwich, Massachusetts Heritage Plantation I came across a grove with a labyrinth inside the grove.
I peacefully had the place to myself, in the woods, under tall trees, shading the labyrinth, made of broken shells. “Oh, that won’t be very peaceful,” I thought. “I won’t be able to think straight with all the crunching of the shells underfoot.”
Just the opposite. It was like white noise.
For the young people who showed up at my labyrinth and talked their way through their speedy labyrinth walk. And white noise for my own thoughts, too.
The shells crunching underfoot slowed down my thinking, smoothed out my myriad scrambled thoughts, and were soothing. By the time I ended my walk, I wanted to build one at home out of shells.
Visiting some friends, I discovered a mowed grass labyrinth in their field. Imagine countryside, bright blue and big sky, and a gentle wind blowing the tall grass this way and that.
Absolute solitude. No bird sounds. No distant car sounds. Like this, I could calm my thinking in a nanosecond. I was gifted an item from the center of the labyrinth which I carry with me, as a reminder of the calm, joy filled time this was.
A few weekends ago, I walked a labyrinth inside and intertwined with a rose garden. This was during a graduate students’ orientation weekend for Andover Newton Theological School. (Not my orientation.) I walked this labyrinth with two other adults about my age, whose family members were there to begin their graduate programs.
All they had done, given up, who they had to be, or be as a family, to show up here today. And this was only the beginning of big life changes for them, as they entered a new chapter. A graduate degree in interfaith ministry. I was in awe of their stories, how grounded they were, their commitment and their faith. The details of which church or religion they came from didn’t matter.
The Strength of What They Believed is What Caught Me.
It was true of students who spoke with all of us and it was certainly true of the teachers who had presented their courses to us that morning. It was extraordinary, and all in one place. Breathtaking really.
As I stood in the center of the labyrinth, I saw the flag of the school, floating in the wind out on the street. The flag says “Deeply rooted; radically open.”
“Deeply Rooted; Radically Open.”
Deeply rooted, I mean. What are your values? What do you stand for? What beliefs or values are your everyday decisions rooted in? How do you filter out the less important things for your days? How do you make key decisions?
People can’t take advantage of you when you know what you believe in and begin to live it each day. It’s easier to say “No.” Easier to stay away from naysayers. When your values are compromised, frustration, anxiety and resistance show up. There is a friction that’s constant.
Not set in your ways. Open to new ways of looking at your problems or beliefs.Curious enough to walk out on the horizon to see what’s there. It doesn’t mean you have to do anything more, just to be out there and looking around at possibilities.
What does “deeply rooted” mean to you? How is it important to everyday life?
What does “radically open” mean to you… and I’ll highlight “radically.”
Think about it. Talk about it. At home and at work.
If you’re not sure what you stand for,
If you feel like people walk all over you too often;
If your mind is rarely calm… talk to me about making this easier and better in your life. Phone 603.554.1948 or Sue@CoachSueWest.com