~ LESSONS LEARNED WHILE JOURNEYING THE LABYRINTH ~
The first time I saw a labyrinth was in 1999 while touring the Cathedral of Chartres (France). Inside this massive cathedral was an eleven-circuit labyrinth and center. It wasn’t until 2007 that I finally had an opportunity to walk a labyrinth at the Evensong Spa (WI). It was also an indoor eleven-circuit labyrinth with center; it remains the only indoor one of its size in a U.S. spa.
Journeying the labyrinth, I observed a lot about life. The large area where the labyrinth was located offered me the opportunity to contemplate my footing, my life and how the direction of both impacted each other. Although the task seemed simple, the lessons learned from completing its journey were complex.
· I had no expectations and entered it with a clear mind.
· I was surprised at the overall effort expended experiencing the labyrinth with each deliberate step.
· Walking barefooted helped ground me and made me more conscious of my body’s rhythm.
· I couldn’t rush the walking process. The form of the labyrinth forced me to conform and move in one direction. It took discipline, focus and determination.
· The formation inherently forced me to carefully traverse, much the same like life. Moving through it and experiencing it required thought, focus and purpose.
· By design, the labyrinth forced me to look down, a humbling gesture, carefully and deliberately in order to watch how I was walking. This was yet another symbol of how one should go through life: carefully, deliberately, focused and without rushing.
· As I approached the inner circle, I felt a natural gravitational pull and a natural speeding up of my stepping. I had to adjust the stride and momentum to retain a focused and balanced posture.
· Walking away from the inner circle, I felt a more pensive, languid momentum in my stride.
· The turns of the circuits made my balance a little wobbly at times and I found myself balancing by stepping momentarily into the parallel path. Much the same as getting a little off track in life, regrouping and continuing in the journey. Perhaps this was due to my trying to rush the journeying process. Moving forward through anything requires a steady and deliberate determination and resolve.
· As I entered the inner circle, the purpose of the journey, I paused and thought of leaving and not completing the journey by going in the reverse or opposite direction in order to complete the entire labyrinth more quickly. My mind momentarily scattered, but I reflected and regained my focus and determination.
· I finally completed both the inward and outward journey, which took almost a half-hour. It took more focus, concentration and deliberation than I originally thought. Another lesson: the journey is often different than anticipated. I was quiet and calm after my experience. The journey enabled me to be introspective and deliberative.
· The next time I journey through one of these, I’ll know what to expect and be better prepared to renew the lessons learned from the labyrinth.
Lastly, I recommend journeying a labyrinth at least once in your lifetime. It will be enlightening.
That’s it for this edition. Until the next one, remember to take care of yourself and those you love.
By Terry Herman
Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. She also serves on EXPERIENCE | PREMCHIT Journeys In Retreat To Wellness Advisory Board, which is comprised of ten international experts in various fields of wellness and spa. She also serves as a Group Manager for the popular LinkedIn group, The Spa Buzz. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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(Photo credits include Chartes Cathedral by www.crystalinks.com, and Evensong Spa by www.evensongspa.com.)