Monday, January 30, 2012

Labyrinths and Oceans...

Watching the Ocean or Walking the Labyrinth is an act of mindfulness and allows you to open  up to all possibilities.  For instance the feelings or imagined feelings of a sea shell. 

As I reflect on the power of the Labyrinth the word, mindfulness echoes across my brainwaves. I was just at the ocean a few days ago. I found myself mesmerized as I watched the waves lap up against the edge of the sand, and gently retreat to endlessness. I wondered if the shells left behind felt anything. I imagined they were use to being carried by the womb of the ocean, wrapped in gentle rocking waves and ensconced in the water of life. I am sure there were times they grew tired of the torrid of angry waves and wished for a peacefulness of soft rocking waves, but nonetheless I believed the ocean was their home and where they longed to return. I wondered if they felt abandoned, tossed on the gritty hot sand in the unflinching heat as beach goers walked on them crushing them into millions of pieces. I wondered if they felt pretty when someone came along and picked them out of the hundreds of shells around them or if they felt panicked that they would never find their way home to the ocean again if they were picked from the sand. I wondered if they felt helpless. I wondered if they ever felt like giving up. I reflected back to a time in Africa when we were told not to pick up the big beautiful conch shells and how angry I became when one of the teenagers on the trip thought he was above that rule. I almost send him home via plane the next day. Last week, I wondered what ever happened to that kid, but more pressing in my mind, I found myself wondering whatever happened to that beautiful shell and if it felt protected by my adamancy it be returned gently to its home coast

Are you missing your home? Do you feel protected and cared about? Do you seek the solace of quiet mindfulness to reflect on the fate of self and others? Taking a walk that requires you to place one foot in front of the other is a powerful way to find the home within your heart. If you live in Arizona, you can walk the Labyrinth at Trinity Cathedral any time at 100 W. Roosevelt. If you live elsewhere you may be pleasantly surprised by “Googling” nearby labyrinths. Enjoy.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Labyrinth Mondays: Twelve Steps to Change a Light Bulb


The workshop on January 7 was a success and the attendees were able to take many inspirations and tools away from the day. For example:

“I am alone and not alone.”

“I discovered the harder I focused on my feet, the quieter my mind became.”

“I noticed that the traffic and street noise became silent as I made my way to the center and the noise of the city did not return until I stepped on the sidewalk again.”

“I was anxious about doing it wrong that I lost myself and then discovered that by turning my attention back to my feet, all I had to do was take the next step.”

Obviously, these statements only tap the surface of the inner experience participants experienced as they examined their inner tin-man, lion, and scarecrow.

The question posed at this time is how does the simple but powerful act of walking the Labyrinth take us into our inner self? There is some theory about how this works but in reality that is all that we have theory. Theory is useful but not life changing or experiential.

So many folks complain, “Everyone tells me to change but no one tells me how?” Then there are millions of self-help books on the market that have seven – steps to change anything imaginable. I am surprised that no one has written a book entitled seven steps to change a light bulb. But the bottom line to all of this change-game is that you must actually do the work. You must decide which light bulb needs to be changed, obtain its size and wattage. You must go to the store, buy the light bulb that fits that description, and bring it home. You must open the box, unscrew the light bulb you are replacing, discard it in recycle bin and screw in the new light bulb. Turn on the light to make sure it works and discard packaging to recycle bin. Actually, if you break those steps down it becomes Twelve Steps to Change a Light Bulb. I believe you get my point. Change comes by doing, not by reading. It comes by focusing, putting one foot in front of the other, and taking the next step. You can’t always see where you are going, but to get there you must be brave enough to take the next step.

Let the Labyrinth be a tool to get you where you are going.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Labyrinth and the Yellow Brick Road

On Saturday January 7t, a small group of seekers set out on their own journey down the yellow brick road. In the beginning, we explored the Walking a Sacred Path DVD by Lauren Artress. The DVD shared stories of three people who used the Labyrinth to find the courage to make a career change, to find career direction, and to find physical healing from a stroke. These three people mirrored the characters of the Scarecrow, The Tin Man, and the Lion in the story of the Wizard of OZ. The Labyrinth is a tool of transformation that allows the mind to settle while the body focuses on walking, placing one foot in front of the other. The gentle focus of movement allows the body to let go of anxiety, worries, and fear and as the journeyer focuses on walking, a mindfulness takes place that the walker does not have to strive for, mindfulness just happens. The brain relaxes and the journeyer is able to experience being in the present.

Walking the Labyrinth mirrors the Yellow brick road in so many ways. On Saturday, we explored how our inadequacies, hurts, and fears that keep us immobilized not allowing our heart’s desire to be attained. When we are busy wrestling with our inadequacies, hurts, and fears rather than becoming their friend, listening to their needs and giving them what they need then our lives are full of chaos and anguish. As Dorothy walks the Yellow Brick Road in search to find the magical wizard that will take her home again, she discovers fellow journeyers who also have needs. They travel together and in their travels, magic happens. The Scarecrow ends up being the smartest of them all, giving direction, working a travel plan and overcoming obstacles. The Tin Man is full of empathy and cries easily at other’s pain. The Lion is the one that is most fear-less taking on the witch and climbing up the wall to the rescue Toto. All along, each journeyer had what they needed inside; they just needed to come to realize it. But, like most humans, these characters still could not see what was inside until the make believe wizard gave them symbols of their inner strengths. It is human to need re-assurance that we are smart, loved, and courageous. Replicating the walk down the Yellow Brick Road can be done by walking the Labyrinth. On Saturday, the journeyer’s placed their inadequacies, hurts, and fear in baskets along the way and when they arrived into the center there was a red stone symbolizing the red shoes Dorothy was wearing. Just by clicking the shoes three times, she was able to go home to Kansas, without the Wizard’s hot-air balloon.

Come travel with me on Labyrinth Mondays as I continue to explore how the Labyrinth is a tool in your daily life. Follow me on or