7 Life Lessons from the Labyrinth
Last Saturday I walked a labyrinth for the first time. I entered with the intention of finding clarity on how I am meant to use my new training in The Daring Way™ process in my coaching practice. I exited with 7 lessons that I believe will not only help me in my coaching practice, but also in life.
1. Find a pace that’s right for you
I started off walking very slowly and mindfully. I wanted to take my time and not rush through the experience. What I noticed was that when I went too slow, I felt off balance, so I picked up the pace. However, walking too fast didn’t feel right either. I felt like I was rushing the process, just to get through it. Eventually I settled into a pace that felt just right. When it comes to our journey through life, I think that finding that pace that is just right is important. Too slow and we can feel like we are wasting our valuable resource of time, and too fast feels hectic and overwhelming. How is your pace? Are you racing through life? Are you dragging your feet? Or have you found the pace that’s right for you?
2. It’s OK to feel lost sometimes
At some point in the labyrinth I started thinking that maybe I had taken a wrong turn because it felt like it was taking too long to get to the center. I felt lost. (Even though I knew that was impossible) There have been many times in my life where I’ve felt lost, and undoubtedly as I continue to travel through life there are going to be times in the future where I am not going to be certain about where I am or what direction I can take. The lesson I took away from the labyrinth is that this is part of the process and it’s OK. As someone who craves certainty, it’s uncomfortable for me to feel lost. I don’t like not knowing, but believing that it is part of the process normalizes it for me. It’s OK to feel lost is definitely going to be a new mantra of mine. How about you? Are you comfortable with uncertainty? How would believing it was part of the path change the way you feel about it?
3. Just keep moving
In that moment when I felt lost, I noticed that I actually physically stopped walking for a minute and tried to take in the entire labyrinth. Where was I? What way did I need to go to get to the center? Why couldn’t I figure it out? As these questions swirled around in my head I heard a small whisper from the back of my mind say, “Just keep moving”. It was easy for me to see the next stone that I needed to step on, even if I couldn’t figure out how the entire path was laid out. I love the story of Hansel and Gretel and following the breadcrumbs. Trying to figure it all out has been a stumbling block for me in my life. What I recognized in the labyrinth is that I don’t need to know all the steps of how to get from point A to point B, I just need to know the next step. I can go from breadcrumb to breadcrumb! All I have to do is to just keep moving? What works for you when you feel stuck or lost? How do you get yourself back into action?
4. It will get easier
The longer I was in the labyrinth, the easier it got. I think this is true for most things in life. Allowing ourselves to be beginners is important. I think back to when I first learned to drive a stick shift. There was a lot of jerking, and stalling. Now, I can drive a stick shift like a pro! As I grow my business and step into areas that are new to me, I am going to remind myself that the more I do something, the easier it will get and that it’s ok to jerk and stall in the beginning. Where do you need to allow yourself to be a beginner in your life? What will it take for you to believe that it will get easier?
5. Stay out of comparison
At some point in my labyrinth walk I found myself looking at everyone else and wondering if I was doing it “right”, even though we were told at the beginning that there was no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. As I go through my life, it’s important for me to be me. I want to be authentic. I want to walk my path in a way that honors my unique values, style and way of being. When I spend too much time comparing myself to others I tend to go into judgement and then I worry if I am doing it “right”. Staying our of comparison is a regular practice for me. How about you? Where does comparison get in your way?
6. Trust yourself
This was another one of the whispers I heard along the path. Practicing self-compassion is something that is on the top of my list these days. Imagine what it would be like, in that moment of decision (whatever the decision is) to say to yourself, “Trust yourself!”, “You got this!”, “Whatever comes your way, you’ll be able to handle it!”. These words, for me, are some of the most self-compassionate things I can say to myself. Yes, I am unsure about exactly how I am going to take my coaching business to the next level. Yes, it feels risky putting my self out there, but I got this! I trust myself! Where do you need to remind yourself to trust yourself?
7. Don’t be afraid to be both a leader and a follower
When it comes to life I realize that there are people who are on a similar path as me. Some are ahead of me and some are behind me. I used to believe that I was either a leader or a follower, but that I couldn’t be both at the same time. Now I believe that it is absolutely possible to be both at the same time. I can learn from those that have gone before me, while at the same time leading those that are coming up behind me. In my life I am often hesitant to call myself a “leader” because I am usually looking ahead and realizing that I am “following” those that have gone before me. How can I be a leader if I am a follower? The labyrinth taught me that I can indeed be both at the same time.
As I reflect on my takeaways from my experience last week, I am experiencing an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. I am so grateful that I am surrounded by a community of supportive fellow life travelers. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Thank you for allowing me to be both a leader and a follower!
Laura Hall is an iPEC certified life coach whose business, Hall Coaching, was established in 2009 with the vision of waking women up from the nightmares of “How did I get here?” and, “Is this as good as it gets?”, so that they can begin creating and living the life of their real dreams, hopes and desires. She offers both one on one as well as group coaching services. She can be reached at [email protected] or check out her website at www.hallcoaching.com