Entering the Labyrinth

Do you ever feel like you are walking in circles?

You see your Creative Dream in front of you, but no matter how hard you try, it feels like you will never GET THERE?

You were told to devote time to Instagram, so you spent all this time and energy, and it hasn’t converted to sales.
You were told to join this group of fellow Creatives and you feel like you have nothing in common with them.
You’ve read a TON of books and taken courses, and yet you are not seeing your income increasing.
And even though, you are spending time doing yoga, or meditation, you are still JUST as frustrated and devastated when you hear NO.

Any of this sound familiar?

All you want is for someone to just tell you HOW to make it happen.

You are so ready….why isn’t the universe answering your call?
Why aren’t you getting what you are asking for?

Is anyone listening?

I imagine it’s exhausting, seeing your vision in front of you, and feeling SO confused.

Can it just be a simple path laid out with a clear direction?

 

Two weeks ago, I was at the Lifebridge Sanctuary retreat center in upstate NY. I was there for a four day intensive on Non-Violent Communication.

I had A LOT swimming within me.  I just got married, was missing my husband, and had all kinds of fears coming up around making this marriage better than my last.

On a break,  I took a walk on the grounds and came across a sign,
Welcome to the Labyrinth.

I looked ahead of the sign, expecting to see entry to some high wooded walls, my mind already creating versions from Harry Potter or Stephen King novels.  When I didn’t see this entrance, I turned to my left and instead saw a ring of stones on the grass.

This was the labyrinth. Simple.

The sign read:
 “As you enter this ritual journey, may you deepen your understanding of what is means to be in the right relation with the magic that is in yourself, the environment, and the Universe….”

As I entered the labyrinth, what struck me was how CLEARLY I could see the middle, the end point. With no walls, it was visible the whole time.  So, I started at the entrance, seeing where I wanted to go.

Immediately, it was disorienting.  I thought I was going towards the center, but actually found I was moving towards the outside.

How could the steps moving forward be taking me further away from the middle as opposed to closer?

Have you ever felt this in your Career?

But, I kept walking, step after step, and found myself viewing the center from ALL angles.  Even when I thought I was close, the path would lead me away, suddenly swerving to the other side.

But, I kept walking…….trusting each step, even though to my EYE it didn’t look like the path was leading to where I wanted to be.

And then, there I was, in the middle, actually a step away from the entrance.
I had arrived.

I looked down at my feet, and at the crazy swirling path that brought me here.

I thought of how in the face of my divorce, I pleaded with the universe for it not to happen.
I thought of losing my home, my car, and just wanting it all to stop.
I thought of hiring a life coach for the first time thinking I would do more film & TV, and instead launching a blog, and a business that actually allowed me to be the Artist I had always wanted to be.
I thought of all the heartbreaking dates I went on, desperately wanting the next guy to be my man.

The path was NOT linear, although I wanted it to be SO badly.  I went ALL over the place to arrive in this moment, here, married to the love of my life and doing work I love.

It didn’t look like I thought it would, and many times, I felt like I was so far away from my dream and vision.

But I kept walking, in faith and trust, knowing CLEARLY what I wanted.

 

So, what do you want?
Is your vision clear?

 

We can really caught up in believing things are going wrong if the PROCESS isn’t what we expected.  But the truth is, you don’t know what you don’t know.  You are working towards something you’ve never had in your life before, so how could you know what is actually looks like to get there?

This is where you hire mentors and coaches who HAVE taken the path to guide you on the way.

 

I NEVER thought I would live in NJ, and here I am.
I ALWAYS thought the only way I would be fully fulfilled and feel like I “made it” was to be on Broadway, and yet the work I do now far exceeds any show I performed in.

I didn’t have this before, so I HAD NO IDEA what the path would look like. I had a lot of ideas about what I thought it SHOULD look like…and so really it was a journey of letting go of that, and just being open to the experience, all the while staying deeply connected to what is important to me.

All the while staying deeply connected to my life, every breathing moment. Every disappointment, every frustration, every heartbreak.

We will all experience pain along the way, but you have the power to determine whether or not you suffer in it.

Can you walk the twists of your creative life, and instead place your attention on something far greater?

Faith.

One of my teachers said,
You get in the boat, and set your course due east, but you have no control over the water.  It may be stormy with crashing waves, it may be calm as glass…that is not under your control. 

Release your iron grip on what the journey looks like, and instead place your focus and intention on your vision.  The raging storms are not proof you should stop, but merely a PART of the journey.

What is possible for you now?

 

Welcome to the labyrinth.

Here are a few guidelines:
1) Set your intention for your walk
2) Have no expectations
3) Pause and take a few deep breaths
4) Walk at your own pace
5) You may pass others, others may pass you.
6) As you reach the center stay as long as you wish; pray or ponder.
7) When ready, return on the same path to your starting point.
8) Please maintain silence

 

“Those who have walked a labyrinth with an open heart know the power of the experience.  Its path is a ritual journey from the threshold at the entrance to a more metaphoric threshold at the center – A path of discovery and self knowledge.”
– John Bloom

Connecting To Your Life

Have you ever been right before your biggest dream, and felt completely stuck?
Have you had your deepest desire right in FRONT of you, and found yourself frozen in place, unable to move forward?

And inside your head, you are screaming,
What is wrong with me?
Why does this always happen?

Your inner critic is having a heyday, and you’re left there….
STUCK
Frustrated
and wondering if this will ever change.

Isn’t this what you’ve been working for, for SO long?
What the HECK is going on?

Turns out, that last question may be the most important question you ask yourself.

Perhaps there is a reason you are standing there, staring your dreams in the face.

Would you like to know how to step forward and get out of the crippling fear?

 

I’m married.

On Sunday September 16th up at Zen Mountain Monastery, I stood in front of my closest family and friends and took a vow to love, and be awake in loving my beautiful man, Chuck.

The day could not have been more magical and sacred.  We felt deeply seen by those closest in our lives, and marveled at the September sunshine that blessed our special day.

We had a three day mini-moon in Woodstock, NY, as my husband had to return to work on Thursday and I had a four day intensive training on non-violent communication starting on Thursday.

I woke up Wednesday with a knot in my shoulder, and feeling deeply anxious.

I didn’t want the honeymoon to be over.  This time was so special, I wanted more time just the two of us to bond.

Thursday I headed to the Lifebridge Sanctuary in Rosendale, NY for the beginning of the four day retreat.  The center could not be more beautiful.  The grounds were stunning.  Nature was all around me, with mountains, birds, and an open sky.

And while I WANTED to feel excited and grateful for being here, all I felt was conflict.

I felt so torn.  I had waited a year to do this training AND I missed my husband.  Non-violent communication is actually a HUGE reason I was able to call in my husband, and I’ve watched it transform my client’s lives.  It transformed MY life.

And yet, I was really struggling.  Thursday night, I had a complete meltdown, doubting myself, doubting being here, and starting to feel a deep ache.

I woke up on Friday and found myself isolating.  This was such odd behavior for me.  I’m a Leo!  I love people, and I love being around them….and yet, on the breaks I found I just wanted to be alone.

But the beauty of the work, is the whole retreat was about what may be the most powerful tool we have as creative beings,
Self Empathy.

As I began to connect with what was actually alive in me, I found I had HUGE fears arising around how I would show up in this marriage…..and they were all based in my past.
I was afraid I would mess it up.
I was afraid I would be too controlling.
I was afraid I would push him away.

All the things that happened in my last marriage came rising up as NOW it was real.  NOW I was married.

Have you ever had your past come up in a crucial moment and take you out?

Being able to connect with feeling devastated, scared, anxious, allowed me to connect with my actual Needs moving forward in the marriage.

Through the self empathy, I realized I needed Inspiration, and most of all, I needed Self Trust.

I mourned my unmet needs in my last marriage, and brought compassion to my strong feelings.  I took the time and space to feel everything and lovingly ACCEPT what was arising.

And I realized my strong feelings and judgements were actually pointing to what was most important for me moving forward.

My judgements about myself in my last marriage were actually the key to creating the life I truly want TODAY, now.

 

So, take a moment and grab a pen and paper.

Think of that moment when you stopped yourself.  Really put yourself there.  Close your eyes and connect.
What are you feeling?

Once you connect with the feelings, ask yourself,
What do I need?

I imagine there is a pattern here, and you may find you stop yourself because there is a strong need for integrity.  Perhaps that project wasn’t aligned with your voice.  Or perhaps there was a strong need for collaboration….perhaps that project meant you were going to be doing ALL the work.  Or perhaps you had a strong need for learning.  There was a piece of the puzzle you didn’t have and it was vital for you to move forward.

Or maybe, in my case, you just aren’t trusting yourself, and you need to re-connect with yourself gently and lovingly to step forward.

In truth, I realized that I’m very young in many ways.  My new way of being, through Zen, through compassion and a vow to be awake in my life…is YOUNG.  I started this journey just five and a half years ago.  I’m actually a toddler as a practitioner, and a being that sees the world VERY differently than I did for 37 years.

My five year old self was feeling really insecure stepping into this marriage beside the 37 year old, and was afraid she would be crushed.

Turns out, the 37 year old really wants to hug her and join.

And that’s when I realized the biggest need for this four day retreat,
INTEGRATION.

We can’t change the past, and we’ve all done things we regret.  It can be so easy to believe how it’s been is how it will always be, but the actual truth is,
You are becoming in every moment.
Change is constant.

Over the course of the four days, my five year old and the 37 year old met in the middle, lovingly.  I am the woman I am today because of all that came before, AND I am clear what I want moving forward.

So, it’s time to trust, and to cultivate that trust within myself.

What is it for you?

What would it look like and feel like to integrate your past into your present?
What would it look like to meet your needs NOW?

Thom Bond, who led the self empathy retreat said,
Everything we do, we do to meet a need.
Your needs are actually your life energy.
When you connect to your needs, you are connecting to your life.
This is how we CHANGE the conversation with ourselves and transmute to what we LOVE.

What would be possible for you then?

 

Sunday we sat in a final circle sharing how we were feeling.

I raised my hand and said,
I feel so grateful and inspired.  I came here Thursday feeling deeply torn and sad.  The journey I have taken over the past four days allowed me to connect with my needs and now I am SO excited and READY to be a wife.  I am ready to be present in this marriage the way I want to be.

I drove home, and when I saw my husband, I kissed him.
Long, deep, saying,
I’m here now.
I love you.

And I am so ready for our life together.

 

Connect within. 
All your answers are there.

What’s stopping you is actually pointing to what you most need.

So, get curious, and ask,
What is going on?

When your needs are met, then you are truly unstoppable.

 

 

 

 

Photography: Daryl Getman Dag Photo