Thursday, November 16, 2006


Feeling worn down and wrung out, I came home from work hanging my head and dragging my feet. Not that my life is bad--merely my attitude. In fact, my mood was completely at odds with my workplace having received a special award today, recognizing our collective above-and-beyond achievements these past few months. Personally, though, I seem to be increasingly absent-minded, and making more mistakes, which causes me to lose faith in myself. After intense days at work, I’ve felt too intellectually exhausted to do anything of consequence at home.

Tonight, I had the urge to numb away all sensations. That desire is scary, and it makes me glad that I don’t actually drink alcohol. As it was, I wanted to eat myself sick with ice cream, which would, in that mood, have been essentially an attempt at self-medication.

But I did something else instead. I went for a walk. I used to take strolls quite often, but lately, it’s become rather rare. (All the usual excuses, “too busy,” “bad neighborhood,” blah blah blah.) But I listened to the quiet “good” voice instead of the loud “bad” voice, and off I went.

There is a church not far from my home which has a Chartres Labyrinth in their courtyard, faded purple paint on gray pavement. My legs were already sore by the time I reached the spot (I can definitely tell I haven’t been exercising recently), so I paused a moment at the mouth of the labyrinth. Then I went in.

As I walked along the narrow pathway, twisting through the coils and hairpin turns, the distress within me tightened, winding like a spring. By the time I reached the flower-shaped clearing in the center, I felt truly stormy inside. So I took a few deep breaths, then softly sang, “This Is the Day That the Lord Hath Made.” Then I turned around, and my attitude turned inside out.

Retracing my steps back to the beginning, my tension unwound with every twist in the path. When I reached the mouth once again, I felt loose and free as I haven’t in weeks. I said, “Amen,” and walked home lightly and cheerfully.

I may still have ice cream, but now it will be just a little bit because I want something sweet, and I won’t make myself sick.

No comments: