A month ago, I took myself weepy and discouraged, to a labyrinth. It was my first time doing this. As soon as the decision was made, I immediately thought of a lot of other things I’d rather do on my too-far-between day off work. Images of antiquing and visiting junk shops, walking the streets in a cute touristy town, driving the countryside and exploring new areas all called to me.
“You can do that another time,” a little voice cajoled. “It will be boring. Why not enjoy yourself? You hardly ever get time to do something you really want to do.”
Instead, I drove grudgingly to All Saint’s Interfaith Gathering. The day was postcard-perfect: cotton ball clouds and dancing leaves the perfect backdrop of the tree-lined, dirt driveway. My heart was heavy as I pulled into the parking area. September sunlight filtered through the leaves, making beautiful stained-glass patterns of light on the ground around me.
Eventually, I found my way to the labyrinth through a secluded forest path. Still, I felt resistant, but now I knew why: I didn’t want to deal with all the yuck under my surface. Months and months of discouragement, frustration, anger, and sadness lay under the façade. I’d been protecting myself from it with busyness and apathy and a little too much shopping and eating. But now I was here now, ready to lay my soul bare.
And I didn’t want to.
I knelt down in the dirt and prayed and then I started walking.
I prayed as I walked. I cried. I noticed green moss and bent to touch its softness, to feel wonder at texture and inhale its earthy fragrance. I heard birds chattering above, and watched two chipmunks playing in the fallen leaves. I admired the pattern on stones and the softness of the earth under my feet.
At the center of the labyrinth was a little altar. I left list of burdens and dreams there, praying for Spirit’s help in letting go. As I drove out of the parking lot, I felt lighter and freer than I have felt in many, many months.
And yet …I still find myself day after day after day not wanting to “go there” spiritually.
It is hard work, all of this baring of one’s soul and admitting we are weak. It’s a constant battle to let our guard down, to let all of our paltry efforts go and to just be.
Be present. Be open. Be willing.