Wednesday, October 28, 2009

'You are enough."



I walked my favorite labyrinth* this weekend while making a 2-day personal retreat, something I try to do every couple of months. I didn't have a specific question going in. I just wanted to listen. And here's what I heard:

You are enough.
Seek to do enough
so that you have enough
to know that
you are enough.

An interesting message that I suppose could be interpreted in different ways. What I took from it was a reminder to balance the different parts of my life. In other words, do "just enough" and try to avoid perfectionism. Do this so I have enough "time" and "energy" not to get so depleted that I forget that I really am enough just as I am. Things have tipped rather heavily toward work of late (which is why I haven't posted or commented much lately.) So this sweet message was exactly what I needed to hear.



If you've never walked a labyrinth, I highly recommend giving it a try. I've found it to be a fascinating experience. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has only one way in and one way out, and walking the path is incredibly meditative and calming. I've yet to walk one without gaining some perspective. Sometimes the message has been: "Will you just lighten up!?" Other times, I have a running dialogue with The Great Unknowable. I've even walked out with one word: "Heal" or "Rest" or "Enjoy."



I usually bow in reverence before entering a labyrnith, say a little prayer, and pose a question. By the time I reach the center, I almost always have an answer. Sometimes, that's not the case and an awareness comes to me on the way out. Such was my walk at dawn. In the past, I've worried when nothing became clear by the time I reached the center. But after many, many walks, I've learned to trust that I will exit with some very helpful guidance.


And my favorite labyrinth* is at Clare's Well, a retreat farm run by 3 Franciscan sisters, about an hour west of the Twin Cities. If you click the "take a closer look" link, be sure to check out the picture of the large labyrinth on the prairie as it appears with snow on the path. Sister Carol is so experienced creating labyrinths, she can make one just walking on fresh fallen snow atop the property's frozen Sabbath Pond. That's what I woke up to see one Minnesota morning when I was in the sorriest state I've ever experienced. It was such a breathtaking site, sparkling in the winter sun and beckoning me outside to reflect, enjoy beauty all around me, and soak up love. Not surprisingly, I've been hooked ever since.


May you find an answer or any guidance you seek by walking slowly and contemplatively on a labyrinth near you.

------------------
So have you walked one?
Where's your favorite labyrinth?

I'd love to hear about your experience!
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Image by margaretsaizan

23 comments:

J said...

It's so easy to think that we aren't 'enough' as we are - for me at any rate. Wonderful post, sadly don't know of any labyrinth's here...

Alix said...

Kathleen... I am fascinated by this lovely post. Not only the spiritual aspects, but I really don't know anything at all about labyrinths and now want to find out where there is one near me. How long does it take to typically move through one? It sounds like something I would enjoy very much. Thank you for introducing me to this lovely idea.

Mimi said...

Hi Kathleen, it's been a busy week for me, so just catching up on your posts now.
This labyrinth idea fascinates me. I haven't come across one yet, but on clicking in to Clare's well, I think it's brilliant. Even just reading on their site brought a peace, not to mention a strong desire to go there some day.
I must research and see if there are any this side of the Atlantic.
Thanks for sharing this.

Jennifer Griffin-Wiesner said...

For many years I have wanted to go to Clare's Well. I'm in a very rough spot right now and it might be just the thing. Thanks for the reminder, KKB. Love to you.

Gaston Studio said...

Sounds like a fascinating experience Kathleen and one that you personally find solace in. I've never walked a labyrinth but kind of accomplish the same thing by cleaning. It's something I can totally loose myself in and oftentimes, am pondering what to do about a certain situation. Amazingly, by the time I'm finished, most times I, too, find an answer.

ellen abbott said...

I've never walked a formal labyrinth (unless you count the criss-crossing of my yard to pick up pecans) but it is something that intrigues me. I'm actually thinking about creating a small one on top of the drain field in the back half of the yard in the country.

Joycee said...

What a great idea, no I've never had the experience. Balance in everything. Come over to GrannyMountain to see where candycorn comes from...

Janie said...

I like the picture you've featured, which is its own labyrinth.
I'd never heard of walking a labyrinth, but I suppose the paths I walk and ride around Utah serve much the same purpose. The physical exertion tends to empty the mind and, and what returns to fill us is what's most important. To be, do, know, and have "enough" reminds me of the Buddhist Middle Way. Our society tends to demand too much, want too much, etc.. Unless we can decide what IS enough, or learn to accept what we have, how can we ever be satisfied?

Derrick said...

Hi Kathleen,

I suppose the pressure to blog can get too much at times, just like work, so we'll forgive you! I haven't walked a labyrinth but seem to recall that a cathedral I visited did have such a thing. I'm glad you had a good break.

Renee said...

Lovely post.

I have never walked one and should see if they have any around here.

xoxo

Anonymous said...

Welcome back, again. Glad you found such wise answers. I'll have to try the nearby grass & shrub labyrinth, one I saw in progress a couple years ago. I did some research for work and even found finger labyrinths. I can't image it being the same (but really shouldn't comment having not tried it). My goal is also to try another one that is painted on concrete.Thanks for the message.

Kathleen said...

@J: You just never know when you're going to find one. A lot of churches are adding them, and some people are putting them in their gardens. Hope you do run across one!

Kathleen said...

@Alix: So glad you found this interesting. Perhaps the most famous labyrinth is in France. It's called the Chartres design. Labyrinths have show up all over the world. A very old and lasting traditions!

Kathleen said...

@Mimi: If you google Franciscan retreat centers, I'm sure you'll find something close to you. The Benedictines are also lovely and gracious retreat center hosts. I'm partial to the Franciscans b/c they're so earth-friendly :) and because the sisters of Clare's Well have sheltered me during some very rough patches. So glad you checked out the link. Wishing you peace!

Kathleen said...

@JGW: What's ahappenin' my dear? How can I help? I love your Goddesses post! And what can I do to help you get thyself to Clare's Well?

Kathleen said...

@Jane: Wow! Wouldn't I love to find cleaning so meditative. I usually rush my way through, b/c I dislike it so much. I'll have to slow down and see what comes up!

Kathleen said...

@Ellen: Your pecan post did sound very meditative, like walking a labyrinth. Let me know if you do put one in. I'd LOVE to do that but we've got a postage stamp size lot. I keep investigating, but there's also the aspect of does the land call out for a labyrinth. I think it really needs to be a peaceful spot.

Kathleen said...

@ Joycee: On my way!

Kathleen said...

@Janie: Yes, the Middle Way, something I need to learn more about! I do imagine the rides provide very much the same effect. They sound so amazing. I love reading about each and every adventure!

Kathleen said...

@Derrick: There is NO way you have not been close to a walking labyrinth with your many, many travels. They're so ancient, showing up all over the world. With the abby so close by, I'll be there's at least a vestige of one. You're not far from Saint Andrew's, right? Perhaps there? Truthfully, I could spend long, long hours blogging. And I likely will once this project reaches its conclusion! I've missed my daily visits to Melrose and Derrick!

Kathleen said...

@Renee: You absolutely should track one down. I don't think you'd be disappointed. I'm so happy your stopped by!

Blessings,

Kathleen said...

@Anonymous: Hey, thanks for stopping by! Yes, do try the grass and hedge one, and let me know what you think. Be sure to slow down, take a deep breath before entering, and just let your thoughts go where they will. It's extraordinary, really. I use finger labyrinths, too. And while you don't get the whole body immersion experience, it's surprising how calming it is. I keep one nearby at all times!

♥ Braja said...

I haven't....but I'd like to walk one with you. The sound of the Franciscan nuns and a peaceful two day retreat is wonderful. Your approach to doing it and your realizations made me think of one of my favorite poets in Vaishnava literature, who wrote, "My path is very difficult. I am blind, and my feet are slipping again and again. Therefore, may the saints help me by granting me the stick of their mercy as my support."

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