Monday, January 5, 2009

Labyrinth Walk

I stood on the border looking in. There was a great circular labyrinth in front of me and I stood on the edge, where the stone edged path began. Should I go in? I wondered. Is this the time? I wondered. Will there be another opportunity? My mind was clouded with thoughts, tinged with self conscious doubt and human concerns. As I whirled in the pro and cons and brain activity, I felt the moment closing. It was moving past, rushing like a slow current, but definitely moving…drifting through my finger tips as I stood there debating. The moment moved as would the stream past a rock, unafraid to leave me in its wake. I could feel the three women behind me squirming slightly, their bodies preparing for departure, ready to move up the hill and begin our lunch. I felt it all passing. I knew it was leaving, maybe forever.
A small bird chirped in a nearby tree. A soft breeze blew wisps of hair across my forehead. Without a thought, my foot took a step, my first step on the labyrinth. And as my foot took the step, my mind was surprised. It had been left out of the decision. It was being taken for a walk. I thought, "oh, I guess I’m doing this." And my mind was shocked, but willing to go. I looked down at the path directly in front of me, at the narrow bit of dirt outlined in gray stones. I remembered myself. I remembered what to do. My right foot touched lightly upon the path, I felt the earth beneath me, I felt the heel as it made contact with the earth. Each step was slow, each movement deliberate and noticed.
Nearly thirty steps in, my mind started to dart. "Was this a good time for this? Will they be mad? Did I mess up the space? This is probably taking too much time!" And then, a calmer voice, another "I" said, "you’re doing it now, you can’t turn back, you’re in the middle, you made the decision…so do it as best as you can." My hands were swinging, the air drifted through my curled fingers like soft kisses on a journey. My left knee bent as my body prepared for the next step. I turned the corners carefully and slowly, watching the ground as the outlined path turned back on itself. "This just keeps going!" I thought. I put my attention back on my feet. I felt my arcs stretch with the forward movement of heel to toe. The breeze touched me again and tousled my hair.
When I had started, I heard the voices of the three women on the outside. I imagined how they saw me, how I looked from the outside. They kept talking and I felt safe in their neglect. But when I was focusing on my feet, somewhere along the way, their voices had dropped away. The space was silent except for the rustling of nearby leaves and the occasional car tires swishing on the asphalt of the road below. It was me and the labyrinth. Me and the elements. Me and my effort. Perhaps me and their attention.
The rings were getting smaller, I turned corners more often until I reached the center. In the small round center was a mosaic stepping stone that had small stones and beads upon it. I closed my eyes. I saw small sparks of electricity playing on the canvas of my eyelids. I raised my hands out to the sides, opening them wide then raising them above my head and finally bringing both hands together in front of my chest. Oooooommmmmm, the sound was not as pure as it is when I intone it sometimes, alone in my bedroom, but I noticed that fact objectively and I held my attention on the sound and my diaphragm, even as the sound cracked slightly. I pulled my stomach in as my rounded mouth continued with the elongated sound. I stood in the center, feeling the soft breeze, feeling the sun, hearing the sound of birds, feeling quiet, yet electrified and alive. My ego had fallen and I was overcome with a sense of lightness.
My body turned back. I took a step, I raised my leg like a solider, placing it firmly on the ground. I took another step, a very short one on the tips of my toes. I walked back through the rings, sometimes emphasizing the movement of my hips like a supermodel, other times walking erect and with a sense of formality. Other steps, I glided. I alternated between movements, improvising each like a chaotic dance with my attention as the thread of consistency. And the more I played, the more alive I felt. My smile increased the more I played and I shed more of myself upon the soil.
There was nothing else. My past was a distant part of my imagination, the future was never coming. There was only each single step and the thousands of movements which seamlessly created it . The labyrinth and I were playing. We were lovers in union. Dancers intertwined. Actors upon a stage. Beings in a living void.

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