Path of Least Hindrance

I’ve been learning about labyrinths. And when I try to talk about them, people ask, “You mean like a maze?”

No, a maze has dead ends. Mazes want to fool you–to frustrate and make fun of you.

I don’t like being mocked. Labyrinths have no dead ends. They are a winding, unhindered path.

Unhindered.

About 2 years ago I felt closed in. Everywhere I turned was a block on my path.

My job was a trap. No way to succeed.

And my home after the job was a maze of family obligations: the daughter, the dog, and all the dirty dishes.

My blood pressure rising, which stressed me out and made my blood pressure rise. Unhealthy cycle.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

At the time I decided I would give my heart a break.

I got up early in the morning, leaving behind a broken hearted dog and ran.

It was addictive–going at my own pace, and feeling my own strength.

I ran every single day. Seven days a week for about 9 months.

I hit a dead end. Crime put up a hindrance on my route.

I thought about my time of running when I was walking labyrinths this weekend.
With labyrinths, like most of my life, I appear to be non-traditional. I attack the labyrinth with a purpose. The labyrinth is twisty, arcing path. It lends itself to ponderance.

Many people slowly walk them, and when I watch them I assume they are likely getting more out of the experience than I am.

My pace is one with purpose. Wherever I go. I am most at ease when I am energetically in motion. For example, I feel so unbelievably free and creative on public transportation.

I’ve encountered labyrinths here and there, and they pull me in. They just feel right. Walking them, I see myself and chuckle.

See, even when the way is clear, I want to push it and rush it and GET TO THAT GOAL.

Life isn’t like that. The goal isn’t that. My running–the goal of what that time was–wasn’t what I imagined while I was doing it. Goals have a way of shifting unpredictably. I have some trouble with unpredictable.

I seldom trust the path in life. Even when it’s been completely unhindered, I anguish against how long it’s taking and the turns that seem off track.

I trust a labyrinth in a way that I don’t trust most of life. They labyrinth promises a path.

So I experience the labyrinth as a lab exercise in trust. What it is like to know for a contiguous period of time that I will be alright, that I am on the right path.

I trust the labyrinth, and yet I’m so used to second guessing and jockeying for something better or for self-protection, I can’t lay it down even in the guaranteed safe. So I laugh at myself. And I see how I could lighten up in the rest of my life.

The unhindered path is there. Even if I don’t see it.

Pity Me. I Am Blessed.

I am going to complain for a while. I’m not proud of it. I am blessed.

And I am going crazy!!

When my daughter was born I could barely move. My body had been through a lot, but there was no time to recover.

I had to take care of my daughter.

And people would tell me “just wait until [whatever age their child was]!”

And I wanted to kill them. How dare they tell me there was no end!

There is an end. The muscles used to carry a newborn, that ache relentlessly during those months, they get a break.

Then new muscles, mostly emotional ones, begin to get stressed.

This small person that inserted herself first into my body, then into my sleep time, now injects herself into my quiet time, and drops anchor on any plans I have.

She can’t help it. She resents me too. She fantasizes about a world without parents.┬áThen she remembers that she likes me, so she says I can come too but she is the one in charge.

At the end of the day I am wrung out. She is more tiring than my job, which makes weekends the opposite of relaxing.

I just finished reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I remember the long hikes (never backpacking) that I’ve gone on. I remember the 99 switchbacks of Mt. Whitney. Cheryl talks about her hiking experience, how it was not bliss. It was largely and overwhelmingly about putting one foot in front of the other.

I think, I need to get a lot tougher. Yeah, it’s hard to be there for my daughters’ every need. But that’s what this is, this trail I chose.

I read another book, a magical fantasy book where the young man and his wolf had a psychic connection. In this part of the story, they had to chase down and stop some evil that threatened the whole world. They ran and ran, rested briefly and ran. The man was amazed that they could go on so little sleep. The wolf said, you only think you deserve 8 hours sleep; you don’t actually need it.

When I read that, I knew the author was a mother.

What I need and what I deserve are different things. I need to get tougher, and stop pitying myself. I *can* do this. Life is grueling work, but it’s also got a lot of pops of beauty and amazement along the way.

I just have to keep toughing it out to get there.