When I was in my mid-twenties, my dad passed away six months after he received a cancer diagnosis. I was not ready for this loss by any stretch of the imagination. He had been such a wonderful comfort in my life, and I needed a lot of help to work through this grieving process.
To do this, I chose to go the route of somatic therapy, and I received a recommendation from a friend for a highly skilled bodyworker. This was my first venture into the realm of personal growth. Over the course of a year, this healer offered many words of wisdom to me. One such offering was: “Take a walk every day, the body was meant to be in motion.”
Thirty years later, while navigating the challenges of the pandemic, those words of wisdom popped back into my head, and it dawned on me that the mind and the heart are meant to be in motion as well.
The motion of which I speak is not the type of motion that is ego-driven. It is not stress-filled and it does not fight against anything. It is also not the motion made by repeatedly banging my head against a wall with old, unhealthy behaviour patterns—which, in my earlier years, I spent more time doing than I care to remember!
The motion to which I refer would best be described as a flowing, effortless, balanced interchange of energy that is grounded in presence. At every moment, every minute, every hour of every day, movement happens. Even when I am sitting still, there is the rhythm of my breathing and the pulsing in my veins.
Even when I perceive something else as being solid and motionless, I know there is continuous action on the molecular level, and beyond this, on the quantum level, where there is much ado about something that I find incredibly mysterious and miraculous.
A mental labyrinth
As I began my search to find an integrating movement for body, mind and heart, I considered the suggestion I had received to “take a walk every day.”
Several years back, I had an acquaintance who explained how creating a labyrinth in her own backyard had been beneficial for her daily mindfulness routine. I decided that this type of walking meditation might be just the thing.
My husband and I live in an apartment home for seniors, and the only thing at the back of the building is a parking lot, so I needed to come up with an indoor plan of action. I chose the most private space in our apartment—the bedroom.
In lieu of constructing a path with plants or stones or other materials, I simply used my imagination to create a picture of a labyrinth in my mind. I became completely dedicated to this new morning routine as I walked in a set pattern, slowly and deliberately, changing directions with regularity.
I knew from previous experience that there is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. You simply put one foot in front of the other and follow the path. The rest is up to you.
Each day as I began, I chose a theme. On some days, my meditative walk included listening to ambient sounds. On some mornings, I contemplated a particular question or challenge. There were also days when I brought the focus into my body—paying attention to my breath, or to the feeling of aliveness inside, or to those spaces containing tension.
Such a purpose-filled way to start each morning! This new ritual yielded many gifts, including, but not limited to:
- A realization that every day is a brand-new day full of possibilities
- A deeper appreciation of the beautiful variety of bird calls outside my window
- A discovery that I gain many insights into life’s challenges from this practice
- A quiet confidence that when I start my day in this manner, the remainder of the day will be more peaceful as well
When we are open to it, amazing things happen at the intersection of body, mind and heart. In the centre of this convergence lies a stillness deeply connected to the wisdom of this universe, the wisdom of life. This is the realm of conscious evolution that has the potential to move our species forward.
As you create your own labyrinth, your own unique path on this journey that we call life, may you find the blessings of deepening joy and a fully flourishing heart.
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image1 Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay 2 Image by paski garcia from Pixabay