Saturday, February 14, 2015

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

My sister said lately that she felt like she was taking one step forward and two steps back.   This morning I woke to taking one of those steps forward out into the backyard and wondered if that counted as the same thing.  As my Saint Valentine's Day treat, I thought I would begin my day with a walking meditation through the Labyrinth.  Valentine's tends to be true to its roots in my circles.  Though not widely recognized, when tasting those chocolate covered strawberries, this day is dedicated to Martyrdom in the name of love.  

Recently, I've been integrating a 7-month old puppy (Nala) with my older, high-strung Belgian Mallinois, Bailey.  Given my current doggie-oddesy, I seem to have relationship harmony (and disharmony) on my mind.  In fact, this entire 2015 is turning out to be a series of relationship themes streaming though every aspect of my life.  

As this year starts to show it's personality, I'm spending quite a bit of my time mulling over dynamics, with son, sisters, family, friends and clients, ahem...and dogs.
This was all mulling in my mind, when I got out of bed.  I bundled myself up in my bathrobe, furry scarf and favorite knitted snow hat (the kind that has braided tassels down the sides).  I am sure I was quite the picture.  It wasn't extremely cold this morning, but I knew the gossamer hints of frost would quickly distract my body from the warmth that meditation offers the soul.

Stepping into the path, beginning the turns to the light flip of my adidas sandals (I forgot to mention that part).  These sandals have spa soles, a bunch of little acupressure points that help the arthritis in my feet relax, so I can walk in the morning when I get out of bed.

As I looked down and studied the stones that bordered the outer path, I thought of the approaching New Moon next week. 
I thought of the four quadrants of my backyard "Lab" as a metaphor for the four lunar cycles of each month.  These cycles rebirth past culminations (both good and bad) into fresh potentials each new Moon.  Next week will be a "blue moon", happening only so often and I am looking forward to sending some fresh intentions out into the ethos.  

My mind continued on the path with her usual chatter, rolling through conversations with others in recent weeks. I could hear myself speaking my peace (that usually comes to mind long after the discussion has ended).  It's an innocuous, yet very therapeutic, way that I give myself a good talking through, on a regular basis.   

I cycled through thoughts of how to stay authentic, while being more loving in my relationships with loved-ones, without loosing sight of what's true in me.  How to send my son off into the world, with a willingness to see him as a man-in-process, rather than my little-boy.   How to keep my own energy in a good place as I help these two dogs, in ways that feel harmonizing for all three of our very big hearts? 
 I looked down at my choice of clothing and wondered if maybe I've reached that crone stage?  What would one think, if you were to peek into my backyard and see such a scene: A woman bundled up in all sorts of mixed garb, walking in circles through some sort of weird path, mumbling to herself...Maybe I don't even need to ask.  Some questions answer themselves.  

I have been thinking lately that I feel like I'm ready for a face like Mary Oliver's, but for now I'm just looking like a gal who's definitely not young any more, but not old enough that my wrinkles and loosening chin are considered weathered-character yet.
Regardless, I kept winding along the path's greater curves.   Meandering through the four quadrants of Healing, Enlightenment, Prosperity and Peace.  It was helping me let go of the surface self-awarensses and embrace a deeper breathing pattern in my body.  Through the bridge of my nose, I could feel the sweet, pre-dawn air, spiral crispness deep into my heart, gently opening the tender folds of my lungs.  

Before I realized it's approach I was standing still, ready to enter the center.  Looking down at the meditation chair, I felt a unique sensation.  My heart could see two presences.  I stood faces to face with my past and future self.   There I was, a guest between them both; who I have been and who I will be...They stood potently before me, both beckoning and challenging me, to step in and take my place in-between them.  I did.  It was deep.  One of those meditation experiences where everything and nothing happened simultaneously, as I sat between my past experiences and my future potentials. 
Seated there, I up looked up toward the entrance, where I started my meditation.  From my vantage point, sitting in the center of the Labyrinth, I contemplated the "Alpha and Omega" section.  It's a middle point between the center and outside border of the path.  It guides you, turning in at the beginning of your journey and out from the center, at the end.  Sometimes when you glance it on your walk, you can't remember if you're moving toward or away from the middle.  I mused at how often it seems impossible to tell the two apart; whether I'm at the end of something, or just the start.

When ready, I began my pilgrimage back out.  I could still feel the two presences, my past and future selves, ready to merge more fully into who I am right now.  I felt encouraged by these two as they both became who I have always been and who I will always be.  

On the way out, I was chatter-free.  I took my first curves back through the healing quadrant and mused on my past perspectives as I heard the reminder from my past self say: "It's already been taken care of Sister, I've got your back".   

Wending through more curves outward into my day through the Peace quadrant, I heard again, that same message so clearly, from where I am going and who I will be: "It's already taken care of, you're already where you're trying to go".
As I completed this morning's pilgrimage, I reflected on my sister's recent comment and realized that those two steps back and one step forward are a really great teacher for learning to walk the middle way.  

So on this day originally set aside for a Martyred Saint (a totally relatable metaphor where such high expectations of chocolate and love abound), my hope for now is that when I feel those pesky minions of inner-martyrdom, that I will remember it's time to treat myself to a little centering.  After this morning's walk, I'm a wee bit more resolved to allow both my beginnings and my endings to take care of themselves.


WildBound said...

I don't know if T told you that have an exact replica of your labyrinth stamped into the concrete in the library (a mere hundred yards from our home). I love your thoughts. Thanks
Aaron P

Em said...

Thanks for these thoughts. They are beautifully expressed as always.