When is a labyrinth not a labyrinth?
When it’s the sidewalk I travel while walking my dogs.
While there is a beautifully-designed labyrinth in a serene setting within 20 minutes of my home, it’s not always convenient to go there when I need a contemplative walk. Labyrinths, unlike mazes, have one clearly marked path leading in to the center and back out again. I enjoy walking them because they allow me to focus on the journey rather than the destination. Isn’t that ultimately something we all want to do… enjoy our journey without worrying about where it’s leading?
If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you know that my earth-centered spirituality means I hold every place in nature sacred– my backyard can be just as holy a place as an ancient stone circle or burial mound. That broad view of the sacred led to my next question… Can any walk be a labyrinth walk with the right intention? I immediately answered yes, as long as I’m not preoccupied with where I’m going.
I gave it a try a few days ago, when taking Freyja for her walk. We both know the route so well that thinking isn’t necessary. I set the intention before leaving the house to respectfully walk away from my home in prayer, talking to the Divine and return to the house in meditation, listening to what the Divine had to say to me. All relationships, including our relationship with Source, require great communication skills. The ability to know when to talk & when to listen. Labyrinth walking, for me, allows a balance of both.
There is a specific issue weighing on my mind so I shared it for the first half of the walk, praying silently so people wouldn’t look at “this woman” muttering to herself like she’s crazy. When I felt I had shared my heart’s concerns fully (this took an extra-long walk), I paused & lifted up my concerns. “This issue is completely out of my control; I know that. Help me do what I can to improve the situation & release what I can’t for the greatest & highest good. Blessed be.” I took a deep breath, let it out slowly, & returned home in quiet meditation. Among the birds twittering & wind howling in the fir trees, I heard a whisper of encouragement. I wasn’t walking alone.
So, to answer my own question, “Yes, an ordinary walk can be a labyrinth walk with the right intention.” It’s amazing how much better I feel when I approach ordinary experiences with a more spiritual attitude. Walking dogs, picking berries, or even washing the dishes can be spiritual. All it takes is a shift in focus, allowing it to be so.