The one at the center looks like this. In reality, it was actually smaller than I anticipated. Just one person wide. There's only one way in and one way out. There was a whole group of us, so a big bunch of them headed straight in. I did not. I didn't want all those people ruining my zen experience. They might represent the 'noise' in my life, but I was willing to hang back until I could walk freely most of the time. Angel and her sister did the same. Instigator and PM jumped right in, no problem.
Personally, I found walking the labyrinth to be a challenge to focus. I chanted a mantra to myself with each step, but it was hard. There were still people coming out as I went in, so I had to step aside a few times. No one was directly ahead of me, but they were all around. I had to force myself to just stare at the ground immediately in front of me. When I reached the center, I sat, let go of my burden and stayed long enough that when I left, I was alone and free on my path. All this says a lot about my life and my writing. Here's what I learned:
1 - If you don't pay attention to where you're going, you'll get off track.
2 - I don't need to worry about what everyone else around me is doing.
3 - I am allergic to grass, yet I walked it barefoot as recommended. Most of the time, my feet were irritatingly itchy and distracting. Just like the rest of my life when I'm trying to write.
4 - Looking over at the center (my goal) and who's already reached it is not helpful.
5 - Its a long and ridiculously winding journey, but I'll never get there if I stop. I might be close, but there's no close in publishing. The only way to get there is to focus on where I am and keep taking one step after the other. That's the only way to make progress.
6 - Achieving your goal is just the beginning of the journey. You've still got a long way to go from there.
Others had good insights. PM found herself stuck in traffic and couldn't move as quickly as she wanted to because of other people. She'd think she was close to being done, then found she still had a long way to go. She ended up hurting herself while trying to accomodate others. Says more than you would ever believe about her life journey, but she learned that you just have to put one foot in front of the other because sometimes any progress is progress. PC said she realized that sometimes you do stuff, even though you don’t fully understand why, and eventually the understanding will come. Instigator learned she doesn't like having a path set out for her. She preferred walking on the stone barriers instead of the grass.
Watching the others walk was certainly educational. I saw some people practically race through it and others jump over to another row in an attempt to get done faster. (Something that could seriously backfire depending on where you are. You could set yourself backward just by being impatient. Another lesson.) What's the point of rushing through it, I ask? I heard a few of them say they realized that they have to work at their own speed, even if its different from everyone else, and without the restrictions of a pre-set course. Pantsters. :)
I heard someone else say that they were surrounded by people, yet utterly alone. Wow. Some people got frustrated and quit. Other people were a distraction to some, but welcome noise to others. Some reached their goal and walked straight out, skipping the winding path to the end. Patience is apparently not a virtue of a writer. Angel mentioned that she saw the others 'cheating' and really wanted to, but couldn't make herself bend the rules and stayed on path. Who knew you could learn so much about people just from watching them walk on grass?
Here's the five of us, having reached the center and achieved our goal! :)
Have you ever walked a labyrinth? What did you get out of it?