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. If we are exploring our motivation or intention behind those decisions, (a more authentic viewpoint), we might just discover something wondrous about ourselves. Or maybe we will discover something not so wonderful. Questioning our decisions 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 yourself, ‘Is this right? Am I making the best decision?’, you invoke the response of something deep within you. Asking is like some kind of wake-up call for your higher guidance or divinity, that you need help or confirmation for your decision. How often do you pause to listen in with your physical responses to your query? 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 while building a 32 foot diameter wooden labyrinth in Texas while at the same time, my friend, James Jereb PhD, doubted building his large stone labyrinth temples named Star Dreaming in New Mexico.
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. Let me tell you our stories and share what happened when we expressed our doubts to a high 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. This is a tedious, back breaking task. The brutal Texas sun had slowly striped the wood of its painted image. What remained was a faded replica of concentric circles. I’d lost track of the cost of creating it, let alone the upkeep.
Then I 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 I received an unexpected phone call.
A phone call came from a world famous group although I was not familiar with. They had been on PBS numerous times and have multiple recordings of their performances. This group was St. Olaf Choir of St. Olaf College in Minnesota. I was flabbergasted that 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 were 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. My friend Colleen Reeves will be happy to host all of you.” I I still didn’t know who St. Olaf Choir was.
“Oh no, no no. Our group of college age 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, my head was spinning with visions of two large motor coaches climbing my winding road up to the top of Triple Peak Drive. two Potties, in just three weeks! Eighty two souls on a pilgrimage, certainly there will be expectations beyond what I could deliver.
I called my friend Paula, told her all about the call I’d received, and she blurted out to me, “Don’t you know who St. Olaf Choir is?” Following that discussion I headed straight to the hardware store for more paint stain and knee pads. Suddenly I became motivated.
Three weeks comes 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 this visit, she contacted the local Lutheran church and our little village newspaper on the day of their arrival. I was still fussing with the logistics of how to provide facilities for so many people. 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. Their enthusiasm and egerness to walk their first labyrinth swept me away.
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 come to me. I was waiting in my beautiful garden which served as the entrance to the labyrinth. Flowers, herbs and a giant crepe myrtle tree in full bloom filled the garden. 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, where they were to move amongst each other, finding their paths toward the center and back out again.
As each group finished their walk, they found quiet spaces, shady trees and patio chairs for a quiet retreat. 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 St. Olaf’s choir had journeyed through my Labyrinth of the Lake.
I found myself sitting on my patio steps next to my friend 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’. However, this time it 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 formed a half moon circle around me, mirroring the oral terrace overlooking the lake. They completely filled all 165 feet of the terrace curvature, which surrounded the stone steps leading up to my home. There I was sitting in the middle of one of the most beautiful gifts I would ever received.
A final snap of the fingers was the directors signal that ignited St. Olaf Choir to sing acapella to me under an ancient oak tree overlooking 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’.
It was Just a few weeks before I had doubted my work, my creation of the Labyrinth of the Lake and even wondered if I should keep going forward.
Then I heard that beautiful voice on my left hand side, just behind my left ear. A voice I have beard before when i arrived at the intersection of my humanity and divinity. Ther place I call Grace.
” Have no doubt Rebecca. We are the answer to your prayer.”
‘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.