Finding Your Center, Day 12, Online Retreat

Embracing Mystery and Ritual

It’s taken me years to walk a labyrinth and actually settle in to the experience. But once I accidentally discovered the ancient labyrinth on Iona it became the profound moment such a meditative ritual can offer the seeker.

So, I was looking forward to what message I might receive this time. It is always breathtakingly beautiful to arrive at the top of Colomba’s Bay moor and gaze down to the water’s edge—the grassy meadow dotted with grazing sheep, the rocky coastline laden with impish seals,  and tucked somewhere amongst it all,  is the labyrinth.

Once down near the shore I spent quite a bit of time searching for the “right” stone to leave in the center—this time a heart-shaped one. But with intention and purpose just now I hightailed it to the entrance.

The path is narrow making one concentrate hard to put one foot in front of the other. Maintaining balance is key as falling into another’s path would take away from my own personal path. But once I got a rhythm and was clearly on the way, I gave into the moments.

Shedding is what you are meant to do—leaving outside of the spiral all thoughts, regrets, ideas, projections—an attempt to stay clear and concentrate only on the task at hand—to receive a message in the center of the spiral.

Today I heard the words, Let Go—nothing dramatic, but surely a useful instruction. OK, I’ll take it, I thought, and left my stone on top of the pile before me. As I turned and began the equally long walk out, the tears began to flow—I had been holding on to so much that was outlived—regrettable experiences-lost dreams-cherished people that I had no power to rescue  and needed to release.

Once outside the labyrinth, I headed up the beach and came upon a Native American Medicine wheel indicated by a small plaque someone had embedded in the sand. Aware that many medicine wheels are built to call upon one’s ancestors, I realized that there would always be support from afar– that the saints and relatives that went before us stand now with a strength of spirit to hold our endeavors and assist with their guidance.

Profound would not do justice to the labyrinth walk today. It was a relief and comforting to think that none of us walk alone. May you all experience such a message by walking your own labyrinth.

Questions to Ponder: Who can you call on for spiritual support? What is in your gene pool that can rise up and be there when the event seems too large for just you to handle? How can you begin to let go in little ways?

6 thoughts on “Finding Your Center, Day 12, Online Retreat

  1. Good morning fellow retreaters,
    What an inspiring way to begin my day. Thank you Joan for your continued support, guidance and wisdom. My girlfriend Jo-Ann just sent me a magnificent link to a powerpoint with spectacular winter scenes from Norway along with 45 life lessons. We have our own Friday morning ritual of connecting and today’s email caught me at a very vulnerable point, lifting me and carrying me through. I wasn’t able to to paste it here but will leave you with the final quote-
    “Friends are the family that we choose for ourselves.”
    Have a wonderful day, Laurie

  2. Several thoughts this morning…It always amazes me that women can be so internally connected and yet not know one another. Yes, the friends we choose are from the heart, not of circumstance. How many “friends” can I glean from my life? How many can I cultivate? Second, I too have just begun to explore the mystery of the labyrinth. On Maui, I finally found the one I had read about. While there last year, I walked it and found myself humming. I never hum. The tune? Amazing Grace. Wow. The title of the song says it all for me. This retreat, my blessings, and this sisterhood we are all a part of, are all a part of my personal amazing life. I refuse to be feel selfish about wanting the most out of my time, my life.

  3. I Googled labyrinth to see if there any in my area. There is a simple one in a nearby park, very simple with a classic pattern. But, it seems to me each day is a labyrinth and it’s our spiritual approach that leads us to the answers we are seeking. The problems, the complications are opportunities to learn lessons and find peace right in the middle of our day.

    A lovely bit of wisdom came to me via email. The line that moved me was:
    The handle yourself, use your head.
    To handle others, use your heart.

    I see how blessed I am by the people and situations that challenge me. They provide opportunities to exercise my own spiritual truths and I know I am growing when I respond with loving words and actions.

    The labyrinth image was very helpful. But, I don’t need to find one to walk one.

  4. Joan’s words “holding on to so much that was outlived—regrettable experiences-lost dreams-cherished people that I had no power to rescue and needed to release” so resonated with me as recalled the few times I’ve walked a simple labyrinth with attempts at letting go.

    My life seems to be chapters of letting go and going deeper with self. Today I want to honor with compassion those attempts and those walks as I continue on my journey which still is fostered by the need to let go of what has been ‘outlived.’

  5. I had to smile when reading this particular blog as I have just recently completed reading a book called healing spaces and in one of the chapters it discussed the healing aspects of walking a labyrinth and how they are using them in a healthcare setting not just for the patients but for the staff. I don’t have any close to where I live but have been looking into getting a finger labyrinth to use during my meditations or just to encourage the need to relax and step away from the chaos that tends to jump out and drag me under. I find that the more I find the time for myself and my interests and spiritual needs the more calm and content I feel which is something that has been missing in my life for a very long time. This retreat and the knowledge and insight received from all the amazing women who have shared continues to inspire me.

  6. Thank you sister bloggers,
    I have been walking through life seemingly on mission to complete my purpose. Although as I become older, I am coming to realize that as I have continued to walk that my purpose is ever changing. I find joy and self fullfillment in helping others find their way or rediscover their way. Through this retreat I realizing it is OK to let go of those that have become outlived. Thank you Joan and others for helping let go without a feeling guilt or failure.
    For me, my mother is a strong spirit. I know she watches over me and those most dear to me. I have a few close friends where we rely on each other when need be. I am blessed to have a very close friend who is I share anything with and likewise. And now through this blog I have new sisters to share with.

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