|Near Hadrian's Wall - Durham to Iona Pilgrimage, April/May 2011|
A 'first,' for me yesterday; I actually got lost in a labyrinth. What an odd feeling! I was caught totally by surprise; a labyrinth has only one path winding in and out from the centre, after all. What confused me, was, I think, the overall shape, which was more of a square, with some sharp angles and meditative prayer stations along the way; a great idea in theory, yes, but in practice this introduced not only the usual need to step off the path to let other walkers go by, but also decisions as to whether to wait patiently at intervals behind somebody deep in prayer, (which to be honest, I felt might appear rather intrusive to the person concerned) step right round them (intrusive again) or, as I eventually did, walk right off the labyrinth. I'm not famed for my sense of direction at the best of times, and after a couple of these diversions, I found myself totally confused and lost. Several kind helpers appeared to point me back in the right direction, but I decided to call it a day.
Though they may not have realised, I was quite happy to step off the installation and sit quietly with my thoughts. I've been musing a fair bit recently about self-esteem issues and my tendency to let set backs, like the one I had earlier in the week, send me hurtling down a spiral of hurt despair and unhealthy self-absorption; as if I'm in some ghastly, cosmic game of Snakes and Ladders. From where I am it looks as if The Only Way is Down and the temptation, I find is often to let the downward pull define everything else I'm about; surely the blips and set-backs are only an indication of my (abysmal) lack of self-worth and abilities. It's that old Imposter Syndrome: If they really knew how useless I am ...blah de blah...I might as well give up. The trick, I've found, is to know when to push against this; the old not in desolation going back on a decision made in a time of consolation bit. I'm finding this easier of late; though this last has involved a few days snivelling away at a bemused but sympathetic Mr GP and much raging at God during the wee small hours. Stepping back now, I'm starting to see the set-back in context. This is where the labyrinth comes in again, mirroring, as it so often does, those unexpected twists and turns of life when you think you're travelling further away from your destination, but in reality are still on the path. Old cynic that I am, I sometimes find the old hymn God Moves in A Mysterious Way, a wee bit too off pat for my liking, but I do (grudgingly) have to admit there's more than a grain of truth in it.
So, for all kinds of reasons, some of which won't make it on to this blog, the event that I was involved with yesterday, which I could so easily have decided to back out off at the last minute, has done wonders to boost the Greenpatch self-confidence; I've squared up to and stared down the old Inner Critic (for now, at least) and am back on the pathway.