In 2019 I started therapy at a clinic for my occupationally caused PTSD and Depression. This clinic is situated in an old renovated century home turned place of healing and surrounded by beautiful gardens, a tall hedge row on the north side, a beautiful scenic pond area and a large maze like collection of rocks, stones and wood chips.
So here I stand staring at this collection of stones and rocks, wood chips. The birds are chirping and a pair of squirrels are playfully chasing each other through the decades old trees. None of that matters to me as I chaotically think about why I am here, for a therapy session to help me deal with my PTSD. I had been previously told that I am free to wonder the property before and after any of my sessions or anytime I want so being early as I always am, I decide to check out this maze of concentric circles.
As I stand at the entrance I can see it leads directly to ring 3. What kind of maze is this that starts on ring 3? There are more important things I need to be thinking about. I slowly follow the path, ring after ring step after step working my way towards the center. How is this supposed to help me, perhaps to provide me exercise by walking. This is stupid. This is surely an exercise in frustration because just as I feel I'm closer to the center I follow the path to a ring that takes me farther away. Holy crap! What kind of twisted maze is this? How is this supposed to be helping me again? Perhaps it's all part of a bigger plan. After all I'm here at this place for psychotherapy. Maybe this is just a test of my abilities to handle frustration, which by the way I don't handle well. Just one more thing I'll have to talk to my therapist about, that and about this maze. I start thinking about the days events, the drive to this appointment and what I plan on doing after my therapy session. I continue following the stone lined path and eventually end up in the center. Well that was nice but still I wonder how the heck this is supposed to be helping me. I head back to the start meticulously retracing my steps and end up back at the maze entrance. Okay I've successfully navigated this thing. So now what.
I still have time before my therapy session. What the heck I'll do the maze again. Again I enter into ring 3 but this time I focus on the rings as I make my way towards the center. I'm determined to figure this damn thing out. I'm on ring three then ring two then ring one, four, seven, six, five and enter into the center. Okay that wasn't so bad at all. I head out from the center back towards the entrance with a sense of satisfaction that I understand this thing my therapist calls the labyrinth. This will surely become the highlight of my day, figuring this thing out.
I still have time before my session so what the heck I'll do this labyrinth for a third and last time. I enter into ring three closely paying attention to each and every step, taking my time to really pay attention to how each step feels. I'm now on ring two heading towards the inevitable center. Wow I never really noticed just how many different sizes of stones and rocks line the pathway of each ring. I continue my journey and am now on ring one. As I pass by the green hedge I really can't remember if going clockwise on this ring means I'm heading into the labyrinth and towards the center or out to the entrance. Now onto ring four I notice the variety in colors of the wood chips lining the labyrinth pathways. Onto ring seven I find my mind calm with only one thought, “Am I heading in or out, clockwise or counter-clockwise?”. Now onto ring six I'm much more aware of the cool breeze blowing across the labyrinth. I continue onto ring five and am shocked to realize I'm about to head into the center. Wow now that was really weird. My question has been answered though, I was heading in.
Time to head back to the entrance and into my session with my therapist. As I retrace my steps my mind is calm, I’m aware of everything my five senses are taking in and I really have lost track of time. Ring five, then ring six, ring seven, four, one, two then three and back to the entrance. I have successfully navigated this labyrinth, and this simple structure of rocks, stones and wood chips surrounded by Mother Nature has been able to accomplish what I have not be able to do, that is to calm my chaotic mind for just a bit. Maybe there is something to this mindfulness labyrinth.