I’ve been trying to sort the threads of the last weeks. Somehow the prep for my visitor and the workshop itself and the people all intertwined with the healing transformation that has been taking place this summer. I think it might be a while before I integrate everything. For now I’m going to try to isolate a piece and connect it to a couple of insights – more will follow.
This workshop on the labyrinth is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. When I went to Nine Gates in 1990, Gay’s husband David* gave us an exercise that involved everyone holding on to ropes organized as if we were the spokes of a wheel. He walked so many steps in one direction, so many in another and talked us through the chakra pattern that you walk in the labyrinth and the inward and outward turns that you take in every chakra in every quadrant and in all four elements. I never saw him do it when I went back to staff and it always felt so important that I wanted to experience it again.
So initially I asked Gay and David to put together a weekend workshop that combined her work on the chakra energy with his work on walking through all the chakras in the labyrinth. When David’s health prevented him from coming I suggested teaching something else, but Gay insisted on staying with the topic and I thought David was going to teach her the exercise over the summer.
When workshop time arrived she wasn’t keen to do the topic and didn’t want to put down a labyrinth to walk. She brought finger labyrinths and fortunately since it was beastly hot most people didn’t particularly want to spend hours outside building and then walking the labyrinth. But that left us with a lot of hours to cover on the second day and our game plan out the window.
Originally I’d offered to do some movement work at each chakra level to fit with her work so that she didn’t have to be “on” all the time and spent some time working out what I could do given limited space and the fact that we’d be confined to chairs. Then she didn’t use any of that the first day and I thought I wouldn’t be teaching.
We were both so tired that first evening that we never got to planning for day two and decided that we could talk it out on the 40 minute drive in the morning. That didn’t happen either and on arrival people started chatting with us so it was about 5 minutes before we were supposed to start when we sat down and started talking about the day.
We decided to throw in a Huna exercise that I knew for sixth chakra and then I brought up the rope exercise and my feeling that if we weren’t going to walk a real labyrinth that we should at least provide that simulated walk. It turned out that Gay had not been present during that exercise at my first session of Nine Gates and David never did it again. They’d not worked on it over the summer. She instantly decided that I should do it and we quickly figured out how I could use the finger labyrinth to talk them through and just make up numbers of steps based on longer or shorter segments of the maze.
Now I want to stop here and remind you that for most of my life I was pathologically shy. Dropped every class I ever took in high school and college that required giving a speech or class participation. Part of my growth into essence has been stepping into place as a teacher and becoming more and more confident in front of people. But my classes have been carefully planned and I’ve always arrived with an outline. I might not always follow it to the letter–in fact usually the demands of each class require that I add and subtract elements—but I have a plan with a time line for every class. So ordinarily this new plan would have thrown me into a tizzy.
Somehow I just calmly stepped up to replicate this exercise that I practiced once in 1990. I even cracked jokes. And it seemed to be a big hit with the students. By the end of the weekend I knew something had changed. Gay commented that I had finally become “big” – I’ve said for years that I felt like I came in to be bigger than I’ve been. For a long time it was just an intuition that I’d been a big personality with a lot more life and that I’d suppressed most of myself and then I started seeing more detail of that “bigness”. I absolutely felt it. Were there things I’d do a little differently next time? Absolutely. Does it matter? Absolutely not.
And also felt that all the opening and transitioning this summer and the house cleaning and the lead-up to the workshop in some ways led to this moment when I was, to be honest, quite impressed with myself that I pulled off teaching something that we basically made up and for which I had no prep or real practice.
Last night at the Full Moon Circle I attend we talked about Virgos (I am one) and someone mentioned a tendency for Virgos to want perfection so badly that they’ll descend into wrongness rather than do something less than perfectly. I haven’t experienced it quite that way but I know that sometimes when I see that something can’t be done “right” I do tend to give up on caring how it turns out.
Last Sunday I stepped into a plan without having an outline or the ability to control components but instead of giving up I surrendered to the moment, to doing it the best I could and being the best I could be and letting it flow as it would. I can see that subtle little difference and I like it! That was a new me who just let go of teaching what I’d planned for on Saturday and threw in pieces I’d not expected to teach on Sunday. Woo hoo!
* David’s ancestors are from the Isle of Iona and are Druids who’ve passed the tradition from father to son — David was the son who received the teaching, so the Celtic phase of Nine Gates has been his domain for years.
- Chartres Cathedral: Labyrinth and Nave (danitorres.typepad.com)