One foot, one foot, one foot in front of the other. Walk in a line. Walk zig-zaggy. Walk side to side. Dance and do yoga. Just keep moving, one foot, one foot, one foot in front of the other. Because inside the labyrinth, you are walking yourself to center, however that needs to be.
Labyrinths cross through many cultures as a space that exists within itself. It is a place to walk through you, a temporary moment to stop what you know and meditate meanderings of your feet, heart, head, and soul to whatever it is you are asking a question about to your own inner space. It is an ancient symbol of wholeness and wandering. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth only moves in one direction.
It is a place to lose oneself without getting lost.
I often walk the labyrinth in one of my favorite parks in my city. Hidden from most, it is a place of quietness. Leading up to its entrance paves a pathway lined with bricks sketched with names of people who lead the way. Names whose presence alone makes you slow down as you enter.
Sometimes I walk slowly, and sometimes I dance through the labyrinth. Sometimes it is early morning, midday, and on rare occasion, in the light of a full moon. Every once in a while, I’ll stop midway and do some yoga. Other times I’ll twist and twirl. Sometimes I hear nothing, sometimes I hear the whistles of bystander birds, and sometimes the mood is set by an amazing Joanna Newsom song.
Often I am alone in this special place, and when I get to the middle, I often have a chance to pray and make wishes from the center of the labyrinth. Not everyone knows this trick, but if I ever find someone in the center with me, I share this tidbit. Once a small boy about six walked it behind me, and when he made it to the circle where I was sitting, I told him this secret. His wish was that everyone could breathe in space. Totally an idea I can get behind.
We can all make these wishes in these in-between spaces of healing and movement leading oneself to one’s own inside. Cultures around the world use labyrinths for prayer, mediation, and healing. It is as if once you step inside, everything moves alongside your walking prayer.
What is it about these spaces that intersect our normality and allow us to literally step inside them for a moment, disconnecting from who it was we were supposed to be and allowing ourselves to surrender to who we are? Walking the labyrinth allows for just this kind of jump in-between.
Have you walked somewhere in-between today?
Image Credit: “Duomo Lucca cathedrale Lucques labyrinthe” by Photo: Myrabella / Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – g