Spiritual Practice: Walking a Labyrinth and Re-connecting to Love
We cannot afford even inner disconnection from love. How we live in our hearts is our real and deepest truth.
The Beloved really has no limits on how S/he may speak to each of us. This week I was called back to Love, in part, through a concrete goose. I know, it seems crazy. The Beloved is playful like that, I guess.
It all started with an email. I was humming along with only the more typical challenges of a night that was bit short and a day's list that was a bit long when I got thrown. By an email. From someone I like. From someone I love.
I'd read the above quote from Rohr earlier in the week, scribbled it onto a sticky note, thinking it might come in handy. It was there, in hot pink, on my desk, staring me in the face when the offending email sent me marching right out of Love's gentle hold.
Authentically embodying Love consistently is easier said than done. It’s kind of sobering how disorientation can be just an email, news report or conversation away. One minute I was fine, and the next, my heart felt like what before was living and pulsing had become a lead weight. My calm mind filled with noise and my body just wanted to crawl back into bed, and when life didn’t allow for that option, it thought lashing out might be the next best option. Talk about inner disconnection from Love. I was experiencing it.
Has anything similar happened to you recently? I don’t think it’s anything to be shocked, dismayed, or ashamed about, in ourselves or others. It seems such uprooting is just part of the process by which we accept the continual call to deepen, even more, into Love. I wonder, what relationship or circumstance is currently calling for your deepening? As Rohr reminds us, we really can’t afford not to go there as our choice results in our embodying either death energy or life force (see Deuteronomy 30:11-20). At every turn of events, we get to choose.
As Providence would have it, my day of disorientation included an opportunity to re-orient through a pre-scheduled visit with a dear friend to a small labyrinth As I walked the labyrinth I prayed, “What can nurture my capacity to remain in and embody Love more fully in this challenging circumstance?” Arriving at the rosette center of the labyrinth, I stepped, facing out, into each of the central six lobes. Allowing my eyes to rest on the first object in view that caught my attention ( a sort of visio divina), I let myself become curious about the wisdom each object might offer. The following six items clarified the support I need to more consistently remain in and embody Love. Maybe one of these objects will speak to you, too. Or, perhaps they’ll invite you to attend prayerfully to an item placed along the way on your own sacred journey.
A tall stately tree reminded me again that adherence to, and even deepening of, my own rooting practices is not optional. Meditation, scripture, somatic awareness, the daily recital of this creed, accompaniment of my own spiritual director, and regular yoga practice nurture my rootedness in love. These forms of self-care are not selfish, but allow me to consistently bring my best self to community.
Falling leaves spoke to me of surrender. When I am willing to surrender and drop the weight of what I think I know, who or what I think I need and what I feel driven to do, I will be more free to love.
An Autumn porch flag reminded me that joy and playfulness bring strength. Am I making room for these qualities in my life? My Enneagram type 4 penchant for melancholy needs this corrective!
A vacant lot invited me to consider again the gift and challenge of space as a place in which Love can grow. Accomplishment feeds the ego, but the soul benefits from the space of doing nothing. Choosing space for myself can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths to re-center, but I also benefit from more sustained periods of solitude and silence. When there is upset, such space is not always appealing. In solitude and silence I am more loudly confronted by my own inner voices of hurt, anger and judgment. Who wants to hang out in a room with these characters? Not me. But contemplative practice teaches me to welcome them, receiving them with curiosity and compassion. This weekend Vernon and I will head to the Hermitage for a quarterly 24-hour retreat. Every time there are a bazillion reasons not to go; we go anyway. And, every time, we are so glad we did.
A concrete goose yard decoration reminded me how in Celtic spirituality the goose is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. This time of year we hear their honking overhead as they heed the call South. I know what my calling is—leading a community into the heart of God—but I can get distracted and I have been distracted. I embody Love when I stay in alignment with my calling. The same is true for each of us.
A foggy view of nothing in particular beckons my embrace of Mystery. I’m not going to figure it all out, and learning to rest in that sends my energy back down to rooting into Love’s loamy mystery.
I won’t be surprised to find myself disconnected from Love again, and you shouldn't be, either, but I trust that each time you and I choose to return to Love we will be greeted enthusiastically by the One whose home is never separate from our own. And, as we make this journey back home again and again, the pathway is less overgrown.
If you are seeking support for cultivating a life of increasing capacity for giving and receiving Love, please reach out. A first session is always complimentary and can help you discern what form of support (whether that is spiritual direction with me or something else) would serve you. There's never any obligation to continue or discomfort if we discover we're not a fit. I'm here to serve you.
Peace, and Love, to you, my friends,