I posted this picture to Instagram and Facebook today but was inspired to write a little (or a lot!) more about it.
Per my previous blog post, I took three weeks off over the holidays and was contemplating whether it was irresponsible or a much-needed healing break. About a week before Christmas when I was already in Chicago I found myself saying to someone that I was already wishing 2016 was over. They mentioned this was not a very good way to go into a new year. Right they are! My feeling actually hasn't changed about 2016 because it's going to be a challenging year full of very big changes for me. I will be leaving my current business of fifteen years behind and will continue to try to establish The Healing Farm through phase one which is The Healing Farm | Retreats. I will start (and hope to finish) writing my business plan this year and will host several retreats in the process while I learn the business. All of this while contemplating turning 50 in November, going through peri-menopause (hence the menopause retreat in February) and continuing down the road of letting go of childhood because my parents are aging. On top of it, I never had children so although I went through that mid-life crisis a couple of years ago, it's still hard to accept never becoming the nurturing mother I always wanted to be.
Whew! Heavy stuff, right? Well, New Year's Day I decided to take advantage of the good weather, left my husband at home and went for a hike in solitude. When I got to the normally deserted east bay park, Sibley (I usually hike during the week and it's just me and the dog walkers) I found it was FULL of New Year's Day hikers. Instead of being bummed out about all the people, I embraced the fact that there were so many people out hiking on what could be a day of lounging with a hangover and watching football on TV. I enjoyed all the family groups lingering together knowing that grandparents, kids and grandkids would soon be separating to get on with their normal lives. By the time I got mid-hike to an area a little off the beaten path I didn't even consider the thought of being alone. I figured there would be people everywhere. This is when I came to the series of labyrinths. I knew they were there and I've done them a few times in the past. As I walked past, I noticed nobody was around. I hesitated because I figured soon someone would come walking through or a dog would run circles around me, but my spirits were lifted and I was feeling more hopeful about getting through the year to come.
I made a little plan and went in. As I mentioned in my social media posts, many people think a labyrinth is a maze. It's not actually. It's meant to be a meditative path and they are all constructed so there's no decision-making while you walk through. You simply follow the path and it leads you in and then out again. I decided on the way in that I would meditate on my mantra which is "peace" on the inhale and "love" on the exhale. When I got to the center, I said a prayer for myself and the year to come. On the way out, I said in my head all the names of people and groups of people that I care for and will be a big part of my life in 2016. As I released myself back out of the labyrinth I said "The Healing Farm" out loud feeling like I was leaping myself and The Healing Farm strongly into 2016. Magically not one person or dog walked by during my time in the labyrinth. In fact when I decided to stick around and take a few photos, nobody appeared either. Only when I put the phone in my pocket and was about to walk off did a handful of chattering teens appear around the bend. Serendipity or Divine providence? I don't know, but it made me immensely happy.
One of the things I say about The Healing Farm is that I don't want it to be too new age-y or hippie dippy or focus on any kind of spiritual practice. I know this sounds all about that and in a lot of ways California has rubbed off on me, but meditation, prayer, opening your mind and letting your mind be free has so many benefits and I don't think walking a labyrinth can do any harm to anyone who will try and embrace it!
I sincerely hope myself and The Healing Farm will thrive this year releasing into the world a message of practical and affordable health and well-being. Will I crumble in the process? I don't know, but opening my mind and relaxing a bit has given me hope and courage and I will take that with me to whatever outcome is at the end of 2016.
Happy New Year!