I've been drawn to labyrinths for the last 18 months. I first discovered them on a stress awareness workshop where we walked one created out of tea lights, walking in mindfulness. From then on links started to appear on websites and labyrinth books fell off shelves, both at home and in book shops.
I'd been meaning to walk the Bradford on Avon Labyrinth for a while. However, the first time I went there to walk it I didn't find it, and so came home disappointed. This time, however, I followed my intuition and kept walking further along the river. There I found it, on the banks of the River Avon. It was a grey but warm and dry, Autumnal day. No one else was about at the Labyrinth so I had the space to myself.
The Labyrinth has been created out of willow. Being Autumn the leaves were only just holding on and many had fallen along the route. As I entered I could see the centre, my goal. At first I walked purposefully, the goal staying just out of reach as the path meandered first one way and then the other. Then a change occurred, as I surrendered to the walk I began to slow and the walk took on a different meaning. No longer was I anxious to reach the centre, now I began to enjoy the journey. I started to notice my feet, placing them one in front of the other purposefully. I noticed the feel of the grass underfoot, and occasionally touching my ankles. I began to tune in to the rustle of the leaves as I stepped through them and enjoyed the call of a buzzard overheard.
The walk wasn't always easy. The centre appeared close and then the path twisted away, the goal stayed just out of reach. Others before me had twisted willow together to form brief tunnels which meant I had to duck to pass through. I began to get disorientated, my usually good sense of direction not needed for the path.
Then it dawned on me that the centre wasn't the overall goal. The Labyrinth became, for me, a lesson in attaining a dream. That we shouldn't ourselves choose the steps or path to attain the dream, as the route taken will bear little resemblance to our planned route. The journey became a lesson in trust. I knew I would reach the centre and I began to trust the path as it led me first this way, and then that, sometimes close and sometimes not so close. Sometimes our dream will seem hidden from view, sometimes close. I knew that in the end I would reach the centre, the goal, the dream.
When I reached the centre I gave thanks and then turned back on myself, so take the return journey. I slowed even more and enjoyed the return journey, tuning in to the sounds of nature around me; ducks calling, the buzzard, crows, and a deep booming sound which I at first thought was human but as it persisted seemed more bird like. I never identified the sound, but that didn't matter, it became part of the experience.
Once I completed the Labyrinth I felt a sense of achievement. The feeling of mindfulness remained with me as I walked away from the Labyrinth, vowing to return.
I took the lesson away with me; to concentrate on the dream and not plan the journey. Trust and it will happen.
Each month, throughout 2017, I will be posting in more detail about the topic of the month. Let me know if there's anything specific you'd like me to discuss.