Hello Dear Ones: 

In this video, I take you on a short walk on the Labyrinth at 1440Multiversity. I had gone to this amazing learning campus in Scott’s, Valley California at the end of January in 2019 to attend a Dynamic Aging Seminar led by Jill Miller and Katie Bowman. This labyrinth offered a moment of quiet reflection, as I put one foot in front of the other and focused on inhaling and exhaling as I slowly moved into the path presented by the labyrinth.

You Can Do This

Although I would love for you to have the experience of visiting 1440 — the food is amazing — I want to assure you that you can have the very same experience in your home walking, for instance, around your dining room coffee table. 

What’s The Point? 

The point is that you are not heading off anywhere or desperate about getting there. You focus on your breath and on putting one foot down after the other.  The more you can do this around the coffee table, the more you can do this in your life. It’s called “being present.” Or, you can call it “being mindful.” Still, it is crazy hard to get out of the panic of our crazy, can-do lives. 

Sometimes Life Feels More Like a Maze Than A Labyrinth

A maze is something quite different than a labyrinth, I learned recently. Most simply, a maze is more complex with many choices, while a labyrinth has only a single path that leads to the center. (Many times the terms are used interchangeably.) Life sometimes feels like a maze: too many choices and no clear sense of which way we should turn.

The Stress of Living in a Maze

Dr. Esther Sternberg, who is a Professor of Medicine and Founding Research Director for the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona at Tucson, says this about the psychological impact of feeling like you are in a maze: 
In a maze, such as the one depicted in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, a physiological stress response is triggered. You are in place where you’re trying to navigate with a time limit. It’s getting dark, you want get home before it gets dark. You have multiple decision points and that’s very stressful. You don’t know if there is a dead end. And, if there is a dead end, there could be a monster lurking there. Fear are raised by mazes — very primal fears. (From a conversation with Krista Tippet on the OnBeing podcast, 10-24-13.)
Sometimes the maze is real, but sometimes it comes from within. The term for this inner voice in Jewish spirituality is your yetzer hara, or inner critic. 

Our Challenge

Our challenge as we walk through our days is to feel more like we are in a labyrinth, than in a maze. This, I recognize, is a life’s work. It is the path that I am on. And the first step is to recognize the deep and sometimes very big feelings  that we experience when we have begun to feel like we are in a maze. Please comment below and let us know what sense you have made of this comparison — between a labyrinth and a maze — for yourself. Love and Gratitude,   AnnMerle  

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