When did I begin to doubt my life?
How many times have you doubted yourself today…just today. Doubted what you chose to wear, to eat, to buy or to sell. Doubted what you said yesterday. Doubt leads us to question ourselves. And if we are exploring our motive or intention behind those decisions, (a more authentic viewpoint), we might just discover something wondrous about ourselves. Or not so wonderful. Questioning our decision stirs something deep within us to respond. And if we pay close attention to what happens throughout the day or even longer, those responses show up in the most clever, creative and stunning variations. Most often, not what you expected, but always perfect. So who is responding?
“Before you ask, I am standing at the threshold of your life” Emerging Soul Cards
When you ask your self, ‘Is this right? Am I making the best decision?’, you invoke something deep within to respond. Asking is like some kind of wake-up call for your higher guidance or divinity, that you need help or confirmation backing what you decided. How often do you pause to listen or check in with your body responses to your query. And if nothing happens, do you blow it all off? Do you continue to doubt the same decision and plod forward or reverse it altogether?
I often doubted my decision to build a 32 foot diameter wooden labyrinth over looking Canyon Lake in Texas. Many times during the building and even afterwards I doubted my creation. I later learned that at the same time, my friend, James Jereb PhD, who built several large stone labyrinth temples in New Mexico, had also experienced moments of doubt rising up. Like me, he shot questions into his personal universe, seeking confirmation and support. His story about his creation,Star Dreaming, will follow this one.
We met up the other day and discovered that at those pivotal moments when we questioned our inspiration, our motivation, or our guidance to create something so far out of the ordinary, something extraordinary happens. Here are those two stories about Doubt and what happens when we express it to a higher source.
Sitting outside one afternoon, I was looking out over my large wooden Chartres style labyrinth at Canyon Lake Texas pondering if I should re-stain the image again. A tedious, back breaking task. The brutal Texas sun slowly striped the wood of its painted image. What remained was a fainted replica of concentric circles. I lost count on the cost of creating it, let alone the upkeep.
I then started a conversation with myself. “Why am I doing this? What value does it have in my life? I mean, shouldn’t I have spent that money on something more practical in my life? After all, I’m a widow with two small children to support.” I continued to question myself for days. I was becoming more and more distracted which lead me to putting off the re-staining task altogether. My motivation was fading and with it, my drive. Then an unexpected phone call arrived.
A phone call from a world famous group I was not familiar with. They had been on PBS numerous times and have multiple recordings of their performances. This group was St. Olof Choir of St. Olof College in Minnesota. And what appeared so flabbergasting to me, was their spiritual director was reaching out to me with this request.
“Our choir students have just voted to include your Chartres labyrinth, Labyrinth Of The Lake, on their pilgrimage to Texas this year. Would that be possible?”
A long pause followed.
Collecting my thoughts I asked how many are in the choir?
“Approximately 80”. She responded.
Remembering that I had a simple septic system which could not possibly accommodate such a number I offered, “I know of a lovely labyrinth just 30 minutes from here. It is located at the Red Corral Ranch. I’m sure my friend Colleen Reeves will be happy to host all of you.” I still didn’t know who St. Olof Choir was.
“Oh no, no no. Our group of college aged students all voted unanimously that your labyrinth was their favorite. We found it online, and this is where they want to go. Can we make it work?”
With some hesitation and after a deep breath I gave in. “Yes. You can come. So when is your estimated time of arrival? Thinking it must be at least a few months.
“3 weeks. We will be traveling in two large buses. We will keep you posted. Thank you so much.” Click.
Gulp. Two large motor coaches climbing my winding road up to the top of Triple Peak Drive. Two Potties. Three Weeks. Eighty two souls on a pilgrimage, certainly with expectations beyond what I could deliver.
I called my friends Nancy and Paula, announced what was going to take place and they both said the same thing to me, “Don’t you know who St. Olof Choir is?” Following those discussions I headed to the hardware store for more paint stain and knee pads. Suddenly I became motivated.
Three weeks passes very fast when you are working in the hot Texas sun on a wooden deck. My friend Paula prepared jugs of lemonade and cookies for the group while I prepared labyrinth materials and laid out how I was going to manage so many people walking this 32 foot diameter labyrinth.
Since Paula knew the importance of such a visit, she contacted the local Lutheran church and our little village newspaper on the day of their arrival. I was still fussing with logistics and how to provide facilities for so many. As the mid day approached, I heard the low rumble of large engines struggling up the hill. We all rushed outside just as two large motor coaches pulled alongside the road below my property. Within seconds the bi-folding bus doors opened and out scrambled dozens upon dozens of energetic students. They raced each other up the hill to meet me upon the first terrace of my back patio. I was swept away with their enthusiasm to be there and their eagerness to walk their first labyrinth.
Once their two spiritual directors joined me we quickly completed our introductions and set about dividing the students into small groups to better prepare them to walk the labyrinth. They would first gather with their leaders for what I imagined was setting prayerful intentions. Then they would be guided to me. I was waiting in my beautiful garden which served as the entrance to the labyrinth. It was filled with flowers, herbs and a giant crepe myrtle tree in full bloom. Beneath the tree was a statuary of Mary inside a grotto. There I had a small room called the sanctuary. I introduced them to the basic points about labyrinths, answered their questions and then lead them down the garden path and to the threshold of the labyrinth. Then, they were on their own as they moved amongst each other, finding their path towards the center and back out again.
As each group finished their walk, they found quiet spaces, shady trees and patio chairs to retreat to. Their journals appeared from back pockets and shoulder bags as they set about recording their experiences. Over the next two and half hours, the lemonade pitchers were emptied, the cookie plates devoured and all of St. Olof’s choir had journeyed through my Labyrinth Of The Lake.
I found myself sitting on my patio steps next to my friends Nancy and Paula just watching the students. My young daughter Catalina and her friend were sitting behind me. They too had come to witness ‘one of Mom’s weird circle walks’. But this time is was different. I heard several snaps of fingers. Both choir directors had raised their hands and snapped their fingers. A whoosh of students began to assemble. There were zig zagging bodies looking for their assigned places. Within a few seconds all 80 students, mirroring the oval terrace over looking the lake, formed a half moon circle around me. They completely filled all 165 feet of the terrace curvature which surrounded the stone steps leading up to my home. I was sitting in the middle of one of the most beautiful gifts I have ever received.
A final snap of the fingers and a directors signal, ignited St. Olof Choir to sing acapella to me under an ancient oak tree over looking the blue waters of Canyon Lake. There are no words to describe how I felt at that moment. Perhaps the words ‘humble gratitude beyond measure’. Just weeks before I had been doubting my work. Doubting my creation of Labyrinth of the Lake. Wondering if I should keep going forward. And I soon realized..this was how the divinity within me responded to my doubt.
A warm breeze from across the lake floated over us then I heard that mysterious voice on my left hand side, just behind my left ear. A beautiful voice I have heard before when ever I arrived at the intersection of my humanity and inner divinity. The place I call Grace.
” Have no doubt Rebecca. I am the answer to your prayer.”
As I stood up to walk over to the group a trickle of tears began to form. I’m pretty sure I heard another faint whisper from my divine self…. “I did good didn’t I?
‘Now I Walk in Beauty’, a Navajo Indian prayer, was their perfect choice. Please listen to this beautiful rendition of what they sounded like at the moment when my doubtful prayer was answered.