I walk up to the labyrinth this morning, over the mole ridges, smashing them down slightly to make the path more smooth for my mom, who is coming to visit and then take us on a grand adventure.
I hear the neighbor chickens squawking from two doors down. The air is still, the filtered sun (filtered both by the trees and by clouds) puts a faint glow on the rocks and moss and sand and mud that is my labyrinth.
My husband told me this morning that he had walked the labyrinth while I was gone and then leaned in conspiratorially to say, “but I didn’t get any specific learning from it.”
“What did you get from it?” I ask.
“A peaceful, calm feeling.”
“Hmmm, sounds like you got out of it what you put into it.”
I hadn’t really thought of it that way, but it makes sense to me in this moment. I expect to have some alchemical experience while in my labyrinth and so that is what I get. Mark doesn’t have a specific expectation, but that area of land has always felt calm and peaceful, so that’s his experience.
I had been noticing thoughts that I might be crazy, or seen as crazy, for walking around and around in circles every day. I notice that those thoughts only come up when I’m in the labyrinth, and the beauty of that is that it’s so easy to find the laughter and joy in those thoughts when I’m actually walking. I am noticing now that those thoughts seem to come up when I think of my labyrinth meditation practice only as walking around in circles, which wraps back around to the thought that I get out of the labyrinth experience what I put into it, or what I expect from it.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t surprises. There are always surprises, but it still feels all part of the whole.
I just looked up and noticed the title that I had given to this post and it reminded me of why I wrote that. As I was walking, I noticed that I felt guided and held by the labyrinth. The rocks marking the sides hold me in from the sides, the curve helps me to curve around; because of my experience walking it in the dark with a flashlight, I’m much more likely to be paying attention to just this step now, so I feel like the earth is coming up to meet my foot as I place one in front of the other. I am upright, not leaning back or forward, because it feels right and good to do so. I am moving at the pace that feels right this morning, and as usual, the songs that come into my head either cause me to slow or speed or change the song as the tempo in my body dictates. I am neither ahead of nor behind time. I’m not in the past or the future, but in the present, because the labyrinth asks that of me and I agree. For me, this walking meditation is a reminder of how to be in the present time, balanced between air and ground (neither too heavy nor too light, feeling the extremes of those polarities, but balanced within them), and fully part of the world.