What kind of path are you walking on? A maze or a labyrinth?

About a week ago, I took a yoga class at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, FL. The space is quite lovely. The room is organically shaped in such a way that the yoga mats naturally set up in a curvy line. The mats face East through triangular shaped windows that form billowy shapes. The room overlooks a garden, a labyrinth, and a wishing tree. And just beyond that is Tampa Bay. While unwinding on the mat before class, it’s so easy for one to look around before dropping within.

Before class, I arrived early and had time to walk through the labyrinth and place a wish on the wishing tree. While meandering through the labyrinth, I contemplated a few thoughts which inspired me to write this:

While walking through a maze,
choose your own adventure,
choose between left and right, right and wrong, good and bad,
encounter dead ends, turn around, back track,
struggle and suffer through twists and turns,
anger and frustration,
figure your way blindly through the maze
towards the exit.

What if instead of walking through a maze,
you were walking through a labyrinth?

Head in one direction with courage and confidence.
Head in one direction towards a “goal less” goal with Faith.
Believe that everything is happening the way it is intended.
When you reach the center, the path simply loops around in a circle.
Like going through a cul de sac, the path leads you
back to where you started.

Some people have cut through the hedges
rushing through the labyrinth
focusing on the fruits of their labor-
arriving at the final destination point.
While doing so, they have harmed the bushes and
have destroyed their branches.
Perhaps they have also cut in front of
people who are mindfully walking on the path.

People who are mindfully noticing
the slight breeze caressing their skin,
the crunchy sound of pebbles and shells crackling under their shoes,
the bright sunlight radiantly shining and casting shadows,
the subtle salty air flowing between their lips and through their nose
filling their lungs with fresh air, a new beginning,
emptying their lungs letting go of that which no longer serves them,
a new ending bringing them back to where they began.

How does this relate to your perspective, attitude, and approach to life?

Dali Museum in St. Petersburg

Labyrinth at Dali Museum in St. Pete, FL

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Words for the week

I ran into these statements earlier this week that resonated within. Thought I’d share them with you.

The people who are in your life were not chosen by your mind.
There’s a reason why they are in your life.
Perhaps the reason why may be so deep Inside that you might not be able to fathom or understand with your mind.

‎”Intuitive listening requires us to still our minds until the beauty of things older than our minds can find us.” ~ Mark Nepo

“ Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built.” ~ Rumi

you are loved. you are kind. you are valued. you are enough. no exceptions.

I forget to remind myself that I am enough, no exceptions.

I can be my own worst enemy and have a knack for focusing on what I didn’t do, where I fell short, what areas I am weakest.  I easily think that I am not enough.  Sometimes it’s harder for me to look at the opposite: what I did do well, areas that I’m naturally talented at, other areas where I’ve improved over time.

When it comes to other people, it’s easier to be compassionate towards others and focus on their strengths and positive aspects.  But for whatever reason, I can easily pick myself apart.

An exception is when I practice on the mat.  When I step on the mat, I get tunnel vision where I focus on me, tuning out what other people are doing around me, scanning my body, observing where I am tense, observing my breath, observing the patterns of my thoughts without judgment. When I “can’t” do a pose that day, instead of beating myself up for not getting to the end result, I observe my internal dialogue. Some days, I tell myself, “I got this!” Other days, I’m thinking, “I don’t know about this… but let’s see what happens?”  On some other days, I’m thinking,  “I’m not quite there yet, but this is part of the process and I’ll improve as I build strength on areas where I need help.”  The whole time, I’m approaching with a curious and playful perspective, open to laughing at myself when things don’t work out quite the way I hoped. I also avoid thinking “I can’t do it. I’m afraid of looking stupid.” And when I think I can’t do it or I’m afraid, I definitely take a closer look as to why with curiosity.

The real work of yoga happens when I apply what I do on the mat to my daily life.  Man, on some days, I have a long way to go…