This is one of a series of posts about a trip I took to walk labyrinths in July 2022. See this post to see why I refer to these labyrinths as my “Emmaus labyrinths.” Note: the numbering refers not to how many labyrinths I walked on this trip, but to the total number I’ve blogged about so far.
This was the fifth labyrinth I walked on the first day of my trip. By this time, I knew this would be my last labyrinth of the day. I would have to head from here to go visit a dear friend whom I hadn’t seen in years. At Morris Medley, I found an 11-circuit Chartres replica painted on poured concrete. As I approached it, I thought about how stressed I was feeling right now.
I was anxious about seeing my friend, mostly because I’d be spending the night at his cabin. It was such a generous offer of him, but I was nervous that I’d be uncomfortable. It wasn’t him – he’s my oldest and dearest friend, and I knew that we’d have no trouble reconnecting. But it had been so long since I’d spent a night away from home, and I wasn’t sure if I’d be comfortable in someone else’s home anymore. What if the bed was uncomfortable? What if the temperature was uncomfortable? What if I couldn’t sleep, and didn’t feel able to get up and walk around? All these thoughts kept bouncing around my head.
I didn’t want to feel this way, but I did. And I was worried that I’d be so focused on whether I was comfortable, that I wouldn’t really be present, that I’d miss this great opportunity to reconnect. I knew I was spiraling here, caught in a loop of anxiety, and I didn’t want it to ruin my evening.
So I brought the question into the labyrinth: “How can I be present when it’s a struggle?”
The answer I heard was loud and clear: Be honest. If I am honest with myself about what I’m feeling, I can be present with myself in any situation. Part of that means being honest when I’m hearing the Dark Voice telling me terrible things about myself. Try to be honest that I’m hearing those things, tell myself that “he’s loud today” or something like that. Recognizing that can make it much easier to be truly in the moment, and to overcome.
And this honesty can help with other people as well. I decided that I could be honest that night with my friend. If I was uncomfortable, either physically or emotionally, I could share that honestly. Tell him that there was something off about my experience. And even if it was so uncomfortable I felt I’d have to leave and get a hotel room somewhere, then I could do that. I was allowed to do that. That made me feel a bit better.
Now, in the end, I had nothing to be worried about. It was an absolutely delightful visit. No discomfort at all, just the joy of reconnecting with an old friend in a beautiful location. But I never seem to trust that sort of thing until it happens.