Apologies for not writing last week—we were on our annual family pilgrimage to Block Island, aka “Bermuda of the North,” a gorgeous, sweet-smelling place located 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island.
While there we mostly went to the beach (six out of seven days—not bad!). But one day, we needed a break from sandy suits and sunscreen. So we went to the labyrinth.
Set on a hilltop with 180-degree views of the ocean, this labyrinth is gorgeous, but bare bones. The path is dirt, outlined by rocks, with a pile of rocks in the center. It doesn’t seem that big when you look at it, but the path takes a very roundabout route to the center.
Teddy, who is 5 and a big fan of doing the mazes on all the kids’ menus (he’s not quite old enough for the word search), jumped right in and started following the path.
All along the way, he made a running commentary.
“Ooh, I’m getting closer!”
“Wait, mommy, I’m going away from the center!”
“This is a crazy path!”
I kept calling things out to him. Things that reminded me a lot of the things I say to to clients who are choosing to live life from their gut on coaching calls:
“You can trust the path.”
“Even if it doesn’t make any sense, it will still get you where you want to go.”
“Just keep walking!”
It got me thinking philosophically. (Which, I suppose, is why one goes to a labyrinth in the first place!) A lot of us have this idea that life is like a maze—you can make a wrong choice that will lead to a dead end; you could get lost entirely; the process of getting where you want to go can be harrowing; you may have to go all the way back to the beginning periodically; you’ve got to plot your course before you even get started.
But that’s not how I see it. I see life as a labyrinth—there are twists and turns but they still, without fail, lead some place good; the path may not make sense to the logical mind (“I’m moving away from the center!”) but it’s still right; there is a loving order to things, even if that order doesn’t appear very ordered; the way to get to where you want to go is always to head inward, toward center.
Which camp do you fall in to?
Here’s a simple test: Think up a challenging situation you’re facing right now. How are you talking to yourself about it? Is it a horrible setback? Are you feeling sorry for yourself? Are you telling yourself that if you just buckle down enough you’ll be able to think or talk your way out of it? Are you thinking that maybe this is happening because you made a poor choice somewhere along the way?
Or do you have moments where you can wonder how it all might be working out for the good? Can you allow yourself to be curious about how it’s all going to resolve? Are you able to trust that if you stay connected to your inner wisdom, there’s nothing to worry about?
Choose the labyrinth. Leave the mazes for the kiddie menu.