Where did the year go?!

Where did the year go?!

Seriously, as the year wrapped up, I found myself stunned that it had gone by soooo fast! In fact, panic set in! The same panic I feel at the end of the week when there is too much to get done at work. The same panic I feel Sunday evening when the work in the studio hasn't progressed enough, or at all, and I know it will be days before I have time to get back into it. The panic I feel when I am torn between hanging out with my kid and doing all the other "stuff" that isn't getting done. I perceive myself going in circles – never getting anywhere!

But – I WANT to go somewhere! I have been reading and searching and studying so much over the last year/s – trying to improve myself, trying to figure it all out, trying to find focus. The trouble is – I have too many "things" to focus on! My family, my job, my artwork, my aspirations of making some kind of difference – HA! Each one of those "things" is a full-time job to really do well – right? So that's my dilemma – sprout extra heads and hands or get a different view of it all! Of course, my first impulse is to look for a new book that would give me directions for how to do this – but that literally made me a little nauseous! - too many books! – then I thought – oh, I'll google it! Are you noticing how I operate? Constantly looking for answers from external sources….. yep.

Sometimes the most amazing things happen…

By way of a convoluted story you don't want to read about, I found myself in St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral on December 31. I had been told that they had a labyrinth set up and were going to have a special New Year's Eve service with it that evening. Well I stopped in during the afternoon and the place was empty and quiet. I had attended a labyrinth-walking service in the past and knew that when you enter the labyrinth, the path takes you back and forth, sometimes going toward the center and then away from the center, all the while moving you in a generally circular pattern of convolution – just like life! How fitting, I thought! So I decided to contemplate my crazy-circles life by walking the labyrinth.

In silence and solitude

in the cold winter

light filtering in through windows

piercing the towering masonry,

I walked the circumambulating path…

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Slowly, very slowly, I moved along the intricate route. My body, unused to the slow pace, wobbled out of balance. I stumbled often and had to stop occasionally to regain equilibrium. I felt impatience growing in my heart and mind to get to the center– and watched myself struggle with the feeling of self-judgment for being impatient. Each turn of the path offered up hope if it pointed toward the center or despair if it turned away from the goal – my heart leaping or falling with each redirection. Then, suddenly, I was at the center! I took a few moments to just be there, in the center, then began the journey out, back along the same path.

By now my body had become accustomed to the slow pace and I felt empowered by having reached the goal, so I moved along with more grace and centeredness. I felt that I held the center of the labyrinth within me as I traveled along. But, as time went by on my journey out, I felt a sense of loss growing in my mind and heart. Again I found my heart leaping or falling with each turn of the path. This made me curious. Why was the center so important and the exit so dreaded? Perhaps the exit is really the entrance – to some insight – or – to myself… wait, what? OMG – a zen moment…Ha!

What was my purpose in "walking the labyrinth"? It wasn't to get to the center, it was to experience walking the labyrinth – period. The goal of obtaining the center was imposed on my mind by the pattern I was walking on and I forgot, as I traveled along, what my true purpose was.

How illuminating!

light filtering in through windows

piercing the towering masonry,

All the "things" I feel I have to focus on are exactly like the center of the labyrinth, goals imposed on my mind by patterns in my life. Absolutely nothing wrong with any of those goals, but they are all truly means to an end, that being to experience life, my life – consciously and with curiosity.

So, this year I think my theme will be FORWARD as I remind myself that, while my life seems convoluted, complex, and crazy, I am actually moving forward along my life – and that is my true purpose – to consciously experience my life and respond to insights born out of that experiencing.

Or, perhaps it should be CURIOUS as I remind myself that no insight can occur without a question.

OK – it seems clear now – my theme for this year is FORWARD WITH CURIOSITY!

Happy New Year! May you move forward with purpose and curiosity!

The labyrinth I walked was the Chartres design printed on canvas at St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle, WA.

For more information about Labyrinths try: http://www.labyrinthos.net/chartresfaq.html or http://www.labyrinthsociety.org/