Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Maze and a Labyrinth...

    On my last full day in Glendalough, I visited the Russborough House in Blessington to walk their hedge maze.  I hadn’t walked one in over 25 years but the moment I stepped into it the anxiety flooded back.  
(This is not my photograph but I wanted you to see the layout.)
You cannot see where you are going and every turn could be a dead end.  A maze is meant to confuse and, in my mind, torment you.  Some people get hopelessly lost and have to be rescued. They recommended you bring a cell phone to call for help.  I didn't have one so it was even more stressful. 

   The nice lady at reception had given me a map but I didn’t want to use it.  I wanted to feel the confusion and anxiety.  Life is often like that; we never know if we are on the right path or not and we often reach dead ends and have to backtrack.

   I finally made it to the center.  What a relief!  I sat at the base of the sculpture to collect myself.  I now had to find my way back out!  I took out my map and decided I’d had enough anxiety and stress for one day, thank you.

   How different is the labyrinth.  This is the one at the monastic city in Glendalough.  It is simple and open…only one way in and one way out...again, like life.  You just have to put one foot in front of the other and walk.  Instead of anxiety and stress there is only a calm peacefulness that washes over you.  You know you will reach the center and going out is as easy as going in, almost like breathing.

   I’ve written a lot about choices during this journey and this, perhaps, is the ultimate choice.  You can move through life as if you are in a maze or you can see life as a labyrinth.  I think I’ll choose the latter.  After all, we all come into this life the same way and we, ultimately, go out the same way as well.  Not much choice there.  It is how we walk along the path that differs and in that respect we do have a choice.
What would a trip to Ireland be without a sheepdog demonstration!  Michael Crowe gives a wonderful one at Russborough House.  I tried to video the demonstration, without much success, but I wanted to mention the experience. 

Wherever you travel, take the time to talk and interact with the local residents. (Which is why I took cabs around I could talk to the Irish cabbies!)  It will always be a delightful and illuminating experience.  Michael completed my wonderful day at Russborough House, thank you Michael, especially for the ride around the estate in your horse drawn carriage!  Give Millie a carrot for me! (You can visit his website at Irish Working Sheepdogs.)

I return to the States today.  Tomorrow I will post my album of "icons"...12 images that are ones that highlight my month long threshold pilgrimage.

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