Friday, April 29

The Lord liveth!

I will call upon the Lord
Who is worthy to be praised
So shall I be saved from my enemies!
The Lord liveth! And blessed be my rock
And let the God of my salvation be exalted!
The Lord liveth! And blessed be my rock
And let the God of my salvation be exalted!

Yesterday when this song came on the radio, it stopped me in my tracks and transported me back to July 18 in 2007.

Lying on the bed in the recovery area which is icy cold, I wait anxiously for my turn at the operating table. My first major operation, a brain bypass surgery. Risky and delicate to say the least. A bundle of nerves I am and I figure singing hymns will calm me down and remind me of the presence of God. That He is right here with me and together I will be fine. The first song that pop to mind is I will call upon the Lord .

I called upon the Lord when I needed Him most. I believed that He would bless the brilliant surgeon and his team and that the surgery will be a success. I prayed that He would remove my fear of the unknown. Comfort, courage and strength filled my heart as I remember how the Son of Man suffered and experienced fear and anguish in His own passion and death. My breathing slowed and peace enveloped me. I surrendered...completely.

I was discharged from the hospital 5 days later. The Lord liveth!

Tuesday, April 26

Spring: The season of beauty and flourish

"The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also. "
~ Harriet Ann Jacobs

"The earth laughs in flowers."
~ e. e. cummings


Tuesday, April 19

Slow and Steady

Determination by royalwin
Determination, a photo by royalwin on Flickr.

Thank you for teaching me patience and that it is okay to be slow. What is more important is that we reach the goal.

Saturday, April 16

Lessons learnt from walking the labyrinth

In A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink tickled my fancy when he discussed the differences between mazes and labyrinths. A maze is a series of compartmentalized and confusing paths, most of which lead to dead ends. When you enter, the objective is to escape as quickly as you can. A labyrinth, on the other hand is a spiral walking course. When you enter the goal is to follow the path to the center, stop, turn around, and walk back out all at whatever pace you choose. Mazes are analytical puzzles to be solved; labyrinths are a form of moving meditation. Most importantly, the key difference between the two is that how mazes engage the left brain while labyrinths free the right brain.

Since reading the book I have been intrigued and curious to experience this for myself. Fast forward to 2 years later, I finally had the opportunity to test it out by visiting a lovely outdoor labyrinth at Mercy Center in Burlingame, CA.

I began my labyrinth walk after reading the instructions. Essentially, the most important point is to keep to the path from the beginning to the end. Go at a pace that one is comfortable with. I decided to go as slowly as I can manage. There was nothing transcendent about it at first, it was pretty much like walking on any other path. In fact it felt as if I was simply walking in a circle which was a little strange. The surprise came knocking when I became aware that I had been through a particular path since it felt familiar. However that cannot possibly be true because I had been walking. By definition, it means I'd moved. This teaches me that there will be time in life when I feel as though I am not making progress when in fact I have. I must not focus and trust my feelings alone. As long as I'm walking, there is progress. Perhaps not the progress that I desire but progress nonetheless.

There were also times when instead of heading towards the destination, the path brought me away from it. Again, this was counter-intuitive since the goal was to arrive at the destination rather creating distance between where I was and the endpoint. Leaving that thought I pressed on, following the path as it led me; trusting the path rather than my rational thought. At some point calmness took over. Along with it comfort and trust came too as I decided to let go of the mental chatter and just follow, knowing that it will bring me to the end. That seems to be the "escape for the right brain" that Pink talked about. Interestingly when it was least expected, I reached the center of the labyrinth. What an experience! A simple exercise that is rich with life lessons. Amazing.

To summarize, these are the lessons that came to me.
1. Before starting on a journey (literal or metaphorical), I need to be clear of my destination.
2. As long as I keep walking, I am making progress and I will reach the goal.
3. Don't trust what I see. Even if it seems or feels wrong, suspend judgment, keep the openness and trust the path.
4. To get to the goal, I may have to walk back and forth several times. This is part of the process. It does not reflect my competence. Neither does it necessarily mean that I am backpedaling.
5. Focus on the goal (the center of the labyrinth) as I walk. With eyes fixed on the prize it is easier to keep walking and ignore the nagging and discouraging voices that try to confuse me.
6. When I'm in the flow I don't feel the burden and when I least expect it I have arrived at the destination.
7. The journey to the goal is not always linear.

"The labyrinth is viewed as a metaphor for life's journey. It offers lessons as we walk the path. Walking the labyrinth can assist us to address challenges. Meditate. Pray and find peace and serenity."

Have you experienced something similar before? I'd love to hear your experience or any comment on this post for that matter.

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