Taking the Direct Path – No Rules Labyrinth

Guest blogger, Shari McDowell

I walked a labyrinth this afternoon. The one in New Bo, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, between the Bottleworks and the Bohemian. Usually, I walk the path as it’s laid out, stand in the middle, contemplate something that’s on my mind, take it all in, then walk the path out. this time I chose a no rules labyrinth walk.

No Rules Labyrinth Walk

Today was different. No rules, no expectations.

Approaching the labyrinth, I felt pulled from my center. I looked down at my feet on the ground and watched as I crossed all the lines and walked right straight through to the center. I stood there for a moment, then laid on my back and looked up at the clouds in the blue sky.

Blue Sky, Fluffy Clouds

summer sky from the no rules labyrinth walk

The warmth of the sun settled on my face and body. The air around me danced between a breeze and full-out wind ensuring the sun didn’t get too hot while simultaneously whisking away a few tears.

It was a gentle release. A reminder that when I know where I’m going I can just go there. I don’t have to take the expected path. I don’t have to do it the way everyone else does and it really can be simple and straightforward.

Listening to Intuition

I can trust myself, trust my own process, and my intuition. No fluff, no ceremony, no hoops to jump through. Just take action. Do what I need to do. Stop when I need to. Rest. Breathe. Be.

I don’t know how long I stayed there. My head got “busy” brain. I became aware of passersby. The moment had passed and it was time to get up.

I don’t remember if I walked straight out or if I followed the path. It didn’t really matter. I was ready to go so I went.

While there are many things to be discovered by taking the long road or the scenic route, sometimes a direct approach is good.

Walking Labyrinths

Spring and summer have been great for walking labyrinths. Catch up with what has happened at the Phoenix Harmony Labyrinth since snowmelt. On your travels check out The Labyrinth Locator to find labyrinths along your path. Read more on the wonderment tab of Winding Pathways.

 

Walking the Labyrinth in the Snow

The subtleties of walking a labyrinth in fresh snow or in the dark have not been lost on me.  Muscle memory, night vision, and simple observation help navigate the terrain when obvious landmarks are obscure.

Night in the labyrinth

Muscle memory helps find the path in the dark.

Before the snow fell, when I walk the labyrinth in the dark, the memory of the path, familiarity with the number of steps to a turn, and the various plant heights help me navigate.  The funny little statues and boulders along the way form the boundaries.  Lights from passing cars not only illuminate the path briefly and also wreck night vision.  So, counting steps and simply being aware of where I am on the labyrinth help keep me on the path.

 

With snow on the ground, the snowshoes make terrific “pat down” equipment and after a few times walking is easy. So, until a new snow, I can just wear boots. Stay on the beaten path or find myself “post-holing” through deep snow.

The brilliance of a sunny day can be confusing, so after a fresh snowfall, I look for the burned stems of plants and the slight depression of past walks as guides. And, how the drifted snow reveals a different texture is fascinating.

Odd marks in the snow capture my attention.  Little holes that appear from nowhere, then tiny tracks of a rodent, then another little hole where it dropped back in the security and relative warmth of the snow tunnels.

The fate of the incautious rodent is evident where tracks suddenly disappear with telltale feather strokes on the snow. Whoooo’s for lunch?

Walking the labyrinth in winter brings its own rewards.