As Within, So Without

Saturday morning I had to be at a day retreat sponsored by my home studio before 10 am. I was tired from my Friday afternoon & evening excursions so the last thing I wanted to do was get out of bed to make coffee, shower and pack a bag for the day. Especially since I only allotted myself an hour to accomplish those things. The venue was a 50-minute drive away to a place called Keys Creek Lavender Farm in Valley Center, CA https://www.kclfarm.com/. On the day’s agenda: an outdoor yoga class, a sound bath, an organic, vegan, gluten-free lunch, a wander about the property where that was a lavender maze, a serenity garden, and a rose quartz pool! There was also a professional photographer attending because we were being gifted a five-minute mini photo session. I ended up being mostly on time. The outdoor yin yoga class had more vinyasa than I wanted to deal with and it was followed by another Sound bath! This one using crystal bowls. My second one in as many days. I have to stop to let you in on the fabulous “monkey mind” that jumped off at this point. The outdoor space had ants crawling all over the mats, which hindered many of the asanas that required laying on the mat, including savasana and the entire sound bath. I kept imagining ants crawling on me, of which half the time they were. Not to mention that I was the heaviest person in the yoga class, which made me self-conscious and also made some of the vinyasa flow asanas difficult for me. It also made me definitely not want to be photographed professionally as I’d put on some weight lately. Add a growing hunger along with the heat from the rising sun to that monkey mind madness and you might come close to some idea of my resistance. But yoga did what it always does for me, shifts my energy. The sound bath furthered that energy shifting process along and at the end of both I was feeling a little more like my sociable, outgoing self. Just a little, because I was still hungry and it was hot.

Next, we wandered down to a shaded outdoor lunch area. Trust me when I say the pictures don’t do the actual experience justice. The organic, vegan, gluten-free dish was a seriously yummy Chipotle bowl. There was all-you-can-drink lavender lemonade which was truly delicious! If you check out the center photo below you will see there were bunches of dried lavender hanging from the ceiling. It was like existing in a cool, shaded lavender-scented shabby chic paradise! I sat with three of my fellow yoga sisters that I went through training with and I was so glad I showed up because the urge to not show up for my life is a very real thing that persists.

After being fortified with lunch and lemonade, most of us trekked down to the Keys Creek Lavender Farm Gift Shop. It was a quaint tiny, air-conditioned one room cottage with all manner of organic lavender products! Here is a picture of my swag, which was pretty affordable. I bought a lavender scented tin candle, lavender lemonade, and pumpkin spice party bites mix. The vanilla lavender shortbread cookie was free and quite delicious as I currently munch on it. While on the porch of the gift shop, one of my fellow yogis mentioned that she’d been to the lavender maze and pointed out where it was. There were two paths to it. One involved a long circuitous route in the hot sun. The other involved a long trip back up many steps in the hillside to walk through the shaded outdoor lavender scented patio. You know, where the all-you-can-drink lavender lemonade was? Guess which path I took? I told folks I was headed to the maze and took the steps in the sun to reach the lavender scented Shangrila. I stopped for some yummy lemonade and went in search of the lavender maze. Which is really the whole reason behind and point of writing this blog.

 

First off, it wasn’t a lavender maze, it was a Living Labyrinth. What’s the difference you say? I had no clue except I was expecting (<–key word) some type of shaded, lavender bushes to form a maze. Instead, there was a circular dirt/sand labyrinth lined by large rocks and crystals with a large selenite crystal on a pedestal in the center. There was very little shade. I walked over to the sign near the entrance and took a picture of it because it had the word and definition of a labyrinth. I didn’t bother to read it. It was hot. I took a deep sigh and realized I was supposed to navigate the labyrinth as a walking meditation. Well, I’d done those before so I paused to take a few photos of the beautiful flower covered arbor at the entrance. I began with deep meditative breath and walked slowly, mindfully and deliberately. I looked at the center of the labyrinth and wondered how the hell I was going get to it and how long it would take in the sun. I noticed the dirt and sand were loose and getting onto my toes and feet since I was wearing flip-flops. But I let those thoughts go and continued to breathe deeply and walk mindfully forward along the ever circling path. I let go of the how or how long and the dirt on my toes. I started to notice that there were parts of the labyrinth that were shaded and brought moments of relief, especially since an occasional breeze had kicked up. As I circled back near the flower covered archway I saw a butterfly appear and I caught my breath on a sense of wonder. The butterfly landed on the arch so I stopped and squatted to take a close-up photo of it. While I was squatting, I looked down and saw a lovely tile with the word “believe” on it, so I snapped a photo of that. I stood up and continued with a deep breath and mindful forward motion. As I navigated about halfway through I saw clearly how I would get to the center by doubling back along the outer circular path, which seemed contradictory, but by this time I was deep in my meditative state. I just trusted the labyrinth would lead me to its center. As I followed the path circling ever inward to the center I was overcome with emotion as I started to relate this experience to myself and my life. How many times have expectations lead to disappointment and unexpected frustrations? How many times have I learned to let them go or adjust to the reality of any given situation or my life? How many times have I been genuinely afraid or puzzled as to how I was going to accomplish a task, reach a goal or arrive at the desired destination? How many times have I learned to let go, breathe and trust the process? How many times have I had faith in the process, moving ever forward without knowing there was an assured outcome? How many stories have I told myself about being too tired, too fat, too broke or financially strapped, too old, too unattractive, too insecure, too disappointing, too unlovable over the years, only to push past those stories or uncover the truth of those self-deceptions? How many times have I circled back around to issues, healed traumas and resolved situations only to face them again in order to explore and uncover more? Here I was finally in the center of the Living Labyrinth, in the center of myself in that given moment. I was so fucking glad I got out of bed this morning, got to this day retreat and pushed through all the ways I create resistance within myself to reach the heart of my truth. Willingness to show up and move forward, Letting go of expectations, old stories, self-deceptions, Trusting the process, the journey, the Universe, God, Appreciation for the people who love you and encourage you through your resistance, who see you and don’t condemn you for it like you condemn yourself, that Breath and Movement are transformative. The experience was that powerful for me. After completing the labyrinth I went back to the shaded porch for water this time. The creative director walked through the patio and I shared my labyrinth experience with him. It turns out, he was the one who designed and built it. His name is Evan and he told me the entire area has magnetic forces that converge on their property and there are actual crystal shards underneath where the labyrinth was built. He moved on and I sat peacefully allowing my experience to resonate with me. I opened up my phone and started to organize the pictures into a Facebook post. It was only after I’d posted the photograph of the Labyrinth sign that I tapped it and read what it said.

What is a Labyrinth?

A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. It represents a journey into our center and back out again into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools. A labyrinth is an archetype with which we can have a direct experience. Walking the labyrinth can be considered an initiation in which one awakens the knowledge encoded within their DNA.

Well that says it all doesn’t it?

3 thoughts on “As Within, So Without

  1. Thank you for your insight and sharing your feelings and emotions with me. When you first started talking about you being tired, and it was clear that you did not really want to be there I was wondering how this was going to end? I’m glad to find that the real Tammi put an end to the negative Nelly that you sometimes become, I am glad that the real Tammy persevered and had a wonderful day !
    Thanks for sharing…. I love you sister

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