Friday, September 30, 2011

Walking my way through

I did it. It's something I've promised myself I would do. It's one of the few things I've really known I wanted to do for awhile. I finally went to Jackson Madison County General Hospital to walk the labyrinth. They've added so much to the hospital since the last time I was there, including the labyrinth, that I had to ask how to get there. The young man in the lobby wasn't quite sure either, but together we found it.

It's tucked away between three buildings and called the Serenity Garden. The hospital is a high traffic area, but the garden is hidden away enough to be quiet. At the entrance to the garden is a statue of an angel, a dedication plaque to the former president of the hospital and his wife, and an invitation to remember those in need "with a direct intention to God." The labyrinth looks like it was made of gray granite pavers with brick red borders. It's surrounded by large bushes and has four benches around it.

When I started, I took a deep breath and started walking. The other day, I read something from one of my preacher friends who said that her anxiety grows when she's walking inward on a labyrinth. I don't know if it was the power of suggestion or one of the daily, small scale menopausal panic attacks I've been having, or what, but my heart rate shot through the roof. I started pouring sweat even though I wasn't hot. My mind was bumping from thought to thought, and I kept trying to force myself to focus.

I found that I was calmer on the longer, straighter stretches, but when the turns came more frequently, I was more anxious. It was there that I started thinking about how I'd write about this, or what I need to do tomorrow, and then I felt guilty that I couldn't keep a prayer going for any length of time. I felt superficial for thinking about how I'd share this, when I really wanted to experience it. Midway on my way in, I gave up on trying to focus on any intention and just started mentally repeating, "All is well. All is well, and all manner of things shall be well." The repetitive chant helped. My steps slowed, and the interrupting thoughts were easier to push away.

When I got to the center of the labyrinth, surrounding the center circle, I found another plaque embedded in the ground of center circle. This one brought me to a stop. On it was "Be still and know that I am God." Psalms 46:10. On Sunday, the day a little clarity and peace came to me, this was the verse that kept repeating itself in my mind.

My way out of the labyrinth was easier. No panic. No flop sweat. I didn't mind the curves, twists and turns. Over and over, I repeated, "Be still and know that I am God." It surprised me that the way out seemed longer than the way in. When I finished, I took a seat on one of the benches and just sat for awhile. I enjoyed the breeze and the feeling of seclusion. I took another deep breath, got up to leave, and the toe of my shoe caught between the stones under the benches and the edge of the labyrinth, and I fell to my knees.

When I stood up, I was laughing, and I left the hospital with a smile on my face. I want to do this again. When I figure out to upload pictures from the iPad, I'll post them here.


Blogger Lisa :-] said...

That "Be still and know that I am God" thing... The Almighty has been working with me on this as well. I have to make myself not do things, because I believe I am meant to be right now. Which I was not able to do for many months.

Sometimes you just need to sit down and shut up... LOL!

October 01, 2011 1:09 AM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

I thought of you and your crows when I finished yesterday. I'm not sure why. I think it was how you did your ritual, and it was nice, but not some profound mystical experience. Then then the next morning, there were the crows. I've sat down a lot, but shutting up -- at least the internal dialogue -- I haven't done. I need to get off my butt, but it's time to shut up and listen to the wisdom from greater sources.

October 01, 2011 9:16 AM  
Blogger marigolds2 said...

I am so glad you got here at last - and that you ended up laughing!!! how wonderful.

October 01, 2011 6:16 PM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

I think, when you endeavor to do things like meditate, or walk a labyrinth, or try a new spiritual ritual, it's such a challenge to let go of all the stuff and just listen. One finds one's mind jumping ahead to all the great things that should be happening, or all the benefits to be reaped from the experience. We kind of short-circuit our own success.

Still, I think The Universe honors our attempts, no matter how feeble or disastrous we think they are. And there is always some kind of reward to be had. Often, however, not the one we were looking for.

October 02, 2011 2:01 AM  
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Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
- John Wooden

October 07, 2011 7:24 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

I admire your courage and your sense of humor. You are a gifted writer and storyteller. I wish you well.

Merry Christmas,


December 24, 2011 5:57 PM  

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