Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Yin-Yang Labyrinth

Day 11, September 14, 2009

   OK, I'm posting several walks today.  I am such a Baby Blogger, I thought the "hard" part of this would be taking the labyrinth walk every day... but no, it's the getting organized enough to get my thoughts and photos all out there that seems to be the trick.  Who knew?

    When I stepped onto the Labyrinth at 12:25pm yesterday, it was 68 degrees, and beautiful.  The first thing I noticed was that the sun was shining neatly on about half of the labyrinth.  It looked like a giant yin-yang symbol.  Cool!

        The combination of the cool night before and the sunshine meant that the sunny parts of the labyrinth felt warm, and the shady parts were immediately cool.  So not only did I have the experience of the walking, the turns, and u-turns, the alternating visuals of bright and dark, but also I had the physical sensations of heat and cool, heat and cool.  It was a fascinating new angle on the journey.
       It delights me that this path is never predictable.  No matter how many times I walk, it surprises me.  For instance, just when it feels as though you've "worked your way" into the center, you take one turn and you're travelling out around the edge again!  Or I think, "This is the last stretch before the end..." and then there's a u-turn and around I go in the opposite direction.  The labyrinth is teaching me that the journey to the center involves doubling back, or finding myself alongside the path I thought I was on but can't quite get to.  How many of us think that every day?  "Hmmm- this isn't where I thought I was heading, and it isn't where I thought I'd end up...." and yet, well, there we are.  And it's right.  But we never would have seen it coming.

            For some reason, several rocks were calling for my attention.  I couldn't settle on one Rock of the Day, so here are:
         Rocks of the Day:  What is going on with this?  It looks like the way mud-wasps make nests.  Only flat.


This one has cool shiny bits!

     And I call this one the Wall Street Rock, cause it looks like it has pinstripes on--


   Footgear of the Day:  Hushpuppies and thick SmartWool socks.  Nice to chase the chill away!

     And if you're here for the Foliage Report, look!  I saw Fall peeking over Summer's shoulders, waiting to pounce.....
   Circuits of the Labyrinth:  1    Total:  13

Raindrops are Fallin' on my Head.....

Day 10, September 12, 2009
        Well, I'd been waiting for the first rainy Labyrinth Day, and this was it!  Everything looked totally different- the wet mulch paths, the rocks glistening in a new array of colors.  And the rain was a pleasant one, really little more than a fat mist.  I stepped onto the Labyrinth at 5:47 pm, and it was about 64 degrees.

       As I walked, I kept thinking about how odd it is when our expectations are not our reality.  For example, my usual rocks looked completely different when wet.  Their colors were different, and their relationships with the rocks around them were different.  It was like walking a new labyrinth----


     Some of them looked more "at home" in the rain, and others looked, well, just wet and sort of dejected...

      And in the corners, wet leaves had blown and were piling up.

      It was the first "fall" feeling rain.  Kind of crept under the skin.  Brrrrrrr!

     Rock of the Day:  this white chunk in the very center just glowed in the rain!


     Footgear of the Day:  Clogs, and thick cotton socks with, um, lobsters on them. 
                                                  (you know you want some!)

   Circuits of the Labyrinth:  1      Total:   12

Saturday, September 12, 2009

United, We Walk

Day 9, September 11th, 2009

  I woke up yesterday morning, and saw that my roses, which were a mess all summer, had bloomed.  So I started my September 11th meditating on this Peace rose:

The one next to it is McCartney, so I mused on it too:

  Mmmmmm.  Peace.

    Then, I realized on my way to work that everyone else has clearly gotten the memo about Fall.  Best example is the golf course I drive through on my way to work, which all summer has had pairs or foursomes or families of golfers all over it.  Yesterday morning- no golfers.  Only geese.

   Who tells them?  I keep seeing bunches of leaves and thinking it's an anomaly....
   See?  It's not the whole tree- just one branch.  Right?  RIGHT?????
       The labyrinth greeted me at 8 this morning, and the sun was already slipping behind clouds----
 58 degrees, hazy.
   I was fascinated with the u-turns.  Sometimes they are halfway around the circle, and sometimes there are only a few steps and then another.
   I'm surprised that, even when I'm walking regularly, I never quite see the u-turns coming.  And often, the turn goes in the "wrong" direction to where I think I'm heading.  Well, if THAT isn't like life....!
            I spent the walk lifting up the day, all the effects of Sept. 11, throughout the country and the world.  It's so overwhelming.  Walking, breathing, thinking about that day- that was the best I could do.
      Then I saw the Rock of the Day:  It had these leaning, Twin Towers-like stripes:
         Hmmm.  Footgear of the Day:  Hushpuppies and hand knit socks.  Wearing homemade socks is a little like carrying your blanket all day, except no one knows.  (Unless you suck your thumb...!)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day of Interconnectedness

Day 8, September 9, 2009 (09/09/09)

  I had heard that today was called the Day of Interconnectedness, having I guess something to do with the symmetry of the numerical date.  I'm not sure I saw a lot of that happening today, though I had lunch with two good friends I met in 1983, a month or so after I got out of college, and it does my heart good to have people who knew me as a ratty 20-something to keep me honest (and laughing!).

   It was 8:56 when I stepped onto the Labyrinth this morning, and it was about 58 degrees, and oddly foggy/overcast.

         See how flat the light is?  Almost no shadows whatsoever.  Couldn't resist taking this picture either:
      As I walk the labyrinth, I can hear apples dropping all around me.  None seem to be close enough to fall into the labyrinth itself, but the soft thudding noise reminds me that the harvest is here....
       I really just relaxed and was able to tune in to my breathing this morning, and gently push thoughts away.  Whew- nice!  Either I'm getting "better" at this, or I simply had nothing to think about this morning!  It's true that the more one practices any spiritual discipline, like a physical one, one becomes more proficient.  So I walked, and breathed, and walked.
     Other than the apples, it was quiet.  I was content.
     Rock of the Day:   Huh.  This one is yellowish.  How strange!

  Footgear of the Day:  I'm thinking I ought to go shoe shopping .... Well, at least the Rock is always different!

         Circuits of the Labyrinth:  1    Total:  10

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Life Breaks Out!

Day 7, September 8, 2009

    This morning's walk was amazing..... but wait!  Perhaps you noticed I didn't post yesterday?  I kept assuming I would do my walk, and the day got away from me.

   Isn't it amazing how those "angels" or "demons" on our shoulders work on us?  Suddenly these voices were saying that I had to do this every day or "fail"!  Huh.  Where does that kind of thinking come from?  I started this discipline to relieve stress, not ADD to it!  I would like therefore to model the sort of acceptance for myself that I extend- I hope!- to others, and simply say, "Golly.  I was gonna walk yesterday, but I didn't.  That's OK."


      It was 8:45 AM and just 58 degrees when I stepped on the Labyrinth this morning.  I had come from an early meeting, and was holding in my heart some broken people.  I was hoping to send them the love vibe while I walked.


     Leaves turning, air chilling, light lessening- all the signs of the end of the season, the end of the reckless abundance of summer- the signs were all around me.  Yet, as I took my first steps, Life broke out everywhere.  Two bright bluejays flew up from the center as I entered.  A squirrel somewhere in one of the corners ran off a few paces and then chattered at me.  A massive crow changed branches in the tree overhead, startling me witless.

And the labyrinth itself this morning teemed with life that was NOT THERE two days ago.  Large cobwebs joined rocks together, forming tiny shelters in crevices.

   Funky spittle bugs had slimed messages on leaves in at least two places.

    One rock has sprouted a lichen, or something very lichen-like....

      Isn't this just how we are?  Things begin to change- seasons, patterns, life- and we rally.  We cling.  We build.  As our climate here becomes quickly inhospitable, these tiny creatures are hunkering in, making their presence known, claiming turf- quite literally!

     Life will not be denied!  Yes, we move along, and things happen, and we are tossed or broken or hurt.  But if we just keep moving, keep open, keep loving, Life will bless us again.  The path of the labyrinth felt like that journey today- joyful, triumphant.  Keep moving, keep caring, keep praying, keep breathing, and keep your eyes open for the signs of life all around.

     I finished the walk today with a great smile on my face.

     Rock of the Day:  following the theme- this one, broken right through the center.  What happened?  Cold?  Heat? Pressure? Age?  It doesn't matter, really, cause it is hanging in there.

       Today's Footgear:  clogs and handknit socks.  Mmmm.  Made the whole day happy!

   Circuits of the Labyrinth:  1           Total:   9

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Guest Labyrinth!

Day 6, September 6, 2009

  Out to dinner tonight, I realized I was not far from a friend's church, St. Barnabas, in Norwich, Vermont, and they have a lovely outdoor labyrinth.  Seemed like a bonus to celebrate my first week of walks by introducing a "guest labyrinth."

  It was 6:58 pm and about 57 degrees when I stepped onto the Labyrinth.  St Barnabas has a wonderful Welcome box with information, books, literature and a Guest Log.  Really nice!

    The differences between my "home" Labyrinth and this one are stunning.  This labyrinth is all grass and plants.  It felt like a tropical rainforest compared to the relative dryness of my rocks and earth.  The evening air carried scents of mown grass and woodsmoke.

    Large rocks sit at the compass points, and the "spokes" are plantings.  The walking was so soft, and the paths seemed narrow to start, but quickly became just right.

     What is it about dusk that heightens spiritual experience?  I suppose sunrise does the same, but my aversion to early morning means I have considerably less experience in that arena!  Walking these grassy paths, breathing the chilly, smoky air, watching the slanting sun on the flowers in the plantings.... it was sheer magic.

    The center was surprisingly large- roomy even- and surrounded by lavender.  My favorite. 

     I think the Garden of Eden smelled like this.  Sweet herbs, wet grass, and a wood fire burning at suppertime in the fading light.  For me, these scents call forth from some deep place feelings of ... Home.  Safety.  Food.  Warmth.  Light.
    There wasn't much competition for Rock of the Day:
 This one looked a lot like the moon which rose on my way home.

    Footgear of the Day:  Hushpuppies, no socks, and- is it just me, or do my feet look further away?  Perhaps this is proof that I did have an out of body experience.......

Thank you good people of St. Barnabas, Norwich, for this night!

  Circuits of the Labyrinth:  1    Total:   8


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Swing, Swang, Swung

Day 5, September 5th, 2009

     It was a fun day, beginning with tennis with my brother, an unusual event that hasn't happened in 30+ years. Then lots of other visiting and yakking with people most of the day. Then the inevitable Writing of the Sermon, and finally, the Labyrinth Walk.

    It was 6:45 pm when I stepped on the Labyrinth.  It was 69 degrees, and suddenly felt like it was getting dark early... a fact I hadn't noticed till this week.
    Tonight I just enjoyed the movement.  Swinging to the left, to the left again, then right and right.  Last month I learned to spin on a "drop" spindle.  Fluffy handfuls of wool, given just the right twist, become yarn.  But twisted and twisted and twisted, it becomes tight and knots up on itself.  Not twisted enough, it remains fluff, and your spindle drops to the floor as the would-be yarn breaks.
    But sometimes, when you get the "flow" working for you, the spinning just seems to happen, and you suddenly notice that your "drop" spindle is no longer hitting the floor.  Tonight was a "flow" night.
    Tonight I felt like I was un-twisting those tightly knotted areas.  My legs felt loose in their joints, swinging forward effortlessly.  As I swung to the left or to the right, I could feel those tight places open up.  I was walking a little faster than usual, so the turns came rhythmically one after the next.
    Every turn, I imagined the untwisting, the spinning.  Not too tight, not too loose.  Turn to the right, to the left, then swing wide and around half the labyrinth at once.  Two circuits later, I felt as refreshed as if I'd had a two hour nap.

     Walking back to my car, I looked up and saw this:

Leaves turning.  Sigh.  Denial is getting harder by the day.....

    Rock of the Day:  This "skunk" rock (cause of the stripe-)

Today's Footgear:  Hushpuppies, no socks.  Hey- it's Saturday.

  Driving home, the sun setting on the lake, I felt blessed to have had this time on the Labyrinth to bring my day to such a sweet close.

  Circuits of the Labyrinth: 2        Total:  7