Monday, December 28, 2015

Staying centered beyond the holidays

So the chaos of the holidays now seems to be settling down. Well, almost. While it may be this time of year that reminds us how much we need to stay balanced and centered, it’s not the only time of year. It can be work, family, friends, health, relationships and more. They all can add up to a level of stress that pushes us out of balance.

Fortunately, there are several ways to get back into balance, and one that I’ve found is very effective is the use of labyrinths.

For those who may not know what a labyrinth is, I wanted to see if I could come up with a quick and easy definition. Easier said than done. I found answers like “a single path or unicursal tool for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation” and “an elaborate structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete” and “a maze.” The last one is just wrong and the others didn’t really give me the “quick and easy” I was seeking.

So I thought I’d turn to insight from an expert and friend. Karen Quant, another certified teacher in feng shui and space clearing through the International Institute of Interior Alignment, also happens to have built her own labyrinth in Sydney, Australia where she lives. She says on her site:

"The labyrinth is an archetypal symbol found among many cultures and countries and has been traced back to the Neolithic ages. It is a symbol of sacred space and walking the labyrinth is considered mindful action. A place where you can release anything that is no longer serving you, a place to deepen your ocmpassion, find your purpose, quiet the mind, seek inspiration, insight and clarity, or for enjoyment and meditation." 

If you need a visual, you can view Boori Boori, the one Karen created, on her site, or find images of one of the most famous ones at Chartres Cathedral in France.

So about now you may be wondering how you’re going to take advantage of a labyrinth in Australia or France or even how to find one near you (they have become much more prevalent in recent years and many churches will have them on their grounds -- Still, after a tough day at work or difficult time with family or just a long day of any kind, you’re not going to want to traipse out to a labyrinth to find a sense of peace and calm.

I agree.

The solution is a hand-held labyrinth. I have two. You can find them in rock shops or alternative bookstores. They’re easy to carry with you or store in your desk at home. They come with a stylus that allows you to trace the path of the labyrinth. You use it the same as if you were walking the path yourself. This means you trace the path without once lifting the stylus, going all the way to the center and then all the way out. As you start, you can focus on a specific goal or intention, e.g., letting go of anger and frustration from the day, identifying a lesson in the events of the day, or simply becoming more centered.(I’ve found that if I take a few deep breaths just before I start, I get better results.)

The compact size allows you to bring it with you anywhere, and as long as you can get away from the stress for 5 to 10 minutes, you have a simple way to get centered and return to the situation in a better place than where you started.

So as the holidays wrap up, know that you have another tool in your arsenal to help you stay centered and calm for a happier, more balanced you. 

Until next time.

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