Throwback Thursday – Walking the labyrinth

This is an edited piece posted originally August of 2018. Now that I’ve arrived at a new position at the University, I realize that the assessment phase feels like a bit of a labyrinth. 

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After a morning appointment in St. Paul I decided to make a stop at the College of St. Catherine in order to walk the labyrinth.

labyrinth walk
Photo credit link – Meditate in a Labyrinth

Have you ever walked a labyrinth?  I considered taking a photo while there but I was without electronic devices on my walk, so I did not. However, I found a great article on how to meditate in a labyrinth, so I am cribbing a photo from that, and the link as well.

I used the walk as a meditative experience, starting from the outside and following the path toward the inside. Then I spent some time on the inside, taking a few deep breaths, and slowly walked back out again. I walked barefoot, and did not worry about the acorns that occasionally stabbed my feet. I did nudge away a few small branches that had fallen along the path to make it easier for the next person’s journey.

My intention was to reflect and consider the big changes happening in my life, the opportunities that are ahead, and any possible fears I was holding. It was a walking meditation, a slow and intentional trip back and forth through the “folds” of the labyrinth. It occurred to me how little I knew about meditation last time I had walked it a decade ago. Yet repeating it gave me sacred feeling both times.

labyrinth visual.JPG
Photo credit link – Fractal Enlightenment

As we traverse through life, our paths are rarely linear. Some of them meander and fold back on themselves. Some of them seem to go in spirals, and we wonder: Are we in the same place AGAIN? But really we are never in the same place twice. Even if an event seems similar, or we seem to repeat a mistake we have made before, we are not exactly the same people this time.

Our lived experiences give us a different context. This is why I love the work of Marion Woodman so much. She understands that many of us learn in a non-linear way. We forget things we have learned, or sometimes we must re-apply lesson we have learned, but in a different way, or in a different relationship.

Our learning and wisdom are never lost, even though it may seem like we did not absorb a lesson the first time. Maybe we are ready to learn in a new way. Maybe there was resistance the first time, and we were not ready to complete lesson. We receive multiple opportunities and invitations for our souls to expand and grow.

The journey inward allows us to check our soul’s intentions. The journey back outward allows us to live our ultimate purpose. This is the essence of a life well-lived.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

On anniversaries and intentions

Today marks one year since my last day at Medtronic.

I did not know a year ago that I would be in yoga school this year, though I definitely planned to practice a lot more yoga.

I did not think I would be starting a “new” career in clinical research at an Academic Health Center.

U bulletin board.jpg
bulletin board in Coffman Union (University of MN)

I thought I would leave clinical research behind. But something beckoned to me when I interviewed for a contract technical writing job in February. I drove through a snow storm for that interview. And it turns out I was ghosted by those two professors and did not get that gig.

But I remember the “charge” I got when I found myself in Diehl Hall, where the Biomedical Library is housed at the University of Minnesota. It was like some part of me knew I would be back. Lo and behold, I did not realize it when I interviewed, but in June I was assigned to an office cube in Diehl Hall at the Clinical Research Support Center.

Sometimes it is spooky how perfect this job is for me. I “play” best in spaces where there is room for collaboration and innovation, and that’s what is required of my role.

All I have is gratitude for the lessons this past year has taught me. And my intention in the upcoming year is to try to stay fully present to the next lessons life is about to teach me.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

P.S. I used to have a regular posting schedule here, and I may be editing some previous posts for a while instead of generating new content. This will help me have time to focus on the new job and completing my YTT certification hours. 

Have a great final month of summer, y’all living in the northern hemispheres. 

 

Conscious evolution

Happy Wednesday, friends!

I usually write my midweek blog on a Tuesday night and schedule it to pre-post at a specific time each day. But this week, with my “Embody the Leader” course (session 3 of 4 tonight) for my group of young women, I wanted to spend time on that instead. So I gave myself a pass to not post a blog at the usual time.

Then I realized it was a full moon, and I also had a lot of other things to do.  Since my husband is gone for a 10-day motorcycle adventure with his friend Ben, I opted for some meditation in the moonlight. Last Thursday I had meditated outside to get my feet on the earth and I was visited by a deer, not 100 feet away from me.

Doe a deer

This gentle presence seemed curious about me, sitting quite still in a small park just outside our town home. She kept edging closer. Twilight was approaching, so the mosquitoes were making themselves known. But I kept fairly still, watching her as a focal point of my meditation.

She seemed to have a subtle message for me, and I am interpreting the feeling that washed over me in that experience. She seemed to hold me and regard me as just a part of her world. And in that moment, I saw myself as both just a tiny part of the world, and the whole world at once.

It occurred to me that we all evolve constantly. Sometimes I feel I have to strive toward that evolution. Other times I realize that it is bound to happen, this internal evolution, if we pay attention. All we need to do is be present to our lives, be present to the wonder and the beauty all around us, and yes, also to the pain.

It is not about efforting or striving to get somewhere. It is about fully knowing ourselves, and knowing our humanity. It is about fully accepting ourselves as we are in whatever part of our journey we are in. There is no hurry. This is the most important work of our lives. When we know ourselves, we begin to sense and feel our true purpose in the world. And in that process, we feel a joy and lightness that is like no other feeling.

I am so grateful for the experiences of YTT and other circles of women especially, that have brought me to this wisdom.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

Wellness Wednesday to evolve

Hi Friends,

I have been doing some thinking in the last couple of weeks to determine what will be the new rhythm of my blog as I begin a new job on June 10th – my birthday!

One of my popular columns & topic areas was the Wellness Wednesday post, which I did some time back. Since I am returning to the workplace, I am going to write a little bit less frequently. I want bring mindfulness to Workplace Wellness. And since I will receive my yoga teacher certification this fall, I really want to bring principles of wholeness and integration to my new workplace.

WORKPLace wellness on wednesdays

I will be a Research Program Manager for the Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute at the University of Minnesota. I am looking forward to it, and I still want to write a couple times a week. So my Sunday haiku will remain (it’s kind of a staple of my week). I still plan to do a Saturday share, maybe every other week, or whenever a particular blog inspires me. It’s good karma to promote others work as well!

And rather than the Tuesday/Thursday posts, I will begin a series on Workplace Wellness to be posted each Wednesday throughout the summer and maybe beyond. (WWW – so you won’t forget to check here!).

These posts will be reminders to myself for how to live well in a changing workplace, and I hope they might help others as well. I plan to integrate principles of yoga and other wisdom I may learn along the way of this new journey.

I thank you so much for your readership and support! Happy Wednesday!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

Comfortable with uncertainty?

How comfortable are you when you do not yet know the eventual outcome of a particular decision or choice you have made in life? 

You know it was something you wanted to do, for multiple reasons, and yet it did not turn out exactly as you had planned. For some reason though, you trust that is is still the direction you are meant to follow, and that each bend in the road helps you master new a set of skills for the next part of the journey.

Unsettling for a while though, isn’t it? 

Especially when all of the advice you are getting leads you back to the place you left. It is well-meaning advice, but it simply does not satisfy the place in your heart that yearns for growth in a different direction.

bend in the road.JPG
Photo credit link 

So you politely thank people for their advice, which may be based on their own fears about their situations more than an accurate assessment of yours. Then you continue doing what you know you must do, following the intuition that will lead you to the next right thing. It is not for the faint of heart, this uncertainty. And yet it can open us up to the types of growth we are meant to experience.

When the doors start to open and your path becomes more clear, you again begin to trust that inner compass. You know that you can choose to remain in your wholeness, and approach your life with presence and lightness every day. And all of these gifts and lessons travel with you to the next place where you will face new trials, and traverse new territory.

Uncertainty can feel uncomfortable. But ultimately knowing that you have the resourcefulness and resilience to meet the next challenge with grace, or at least with a willing and curious spirit, can make all the difference.

Keep your heart open to those moments of knowing, even when your inner critic starts voicing the doubts that others may speak openly. This is that nexus where your vulnerability joins with courage (thank you, Brené Brown). This is where the magic happens.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

Walking the hills

I have been a runner for a while now, off and on since I was about 15 years old. In my mid 30’s I met my husband while I was starting to ramp up my distance, going from 10k runs to 10-milers and half marathons. One crazy year (2011) I opted to run a full marathon, and was relieved to check that off my bucket list. It certainly was a feeling of accomplishment. I started wondering what else I could do if I simply put together a training plan and followed it.

When we trained, sometimes friends would get together and run “hill repeats,” workouts in which we would run repeatedly up hills to build strength and stamina for those long races. We would “power up” those hills, maintaining the speed you would have kept up on the flat surface. They were intervals, not continuously run, and they also helped build confidence for those times in a race when a hill would loom ahead.

hill with flowers
Photo credit link

These days I am not so interested in improving my running times, but rather just staying fit and enjoying the experience. When I am training, I take walk breaks, particularly on the hills, rather than “powering up” and maintaining the pace. I find that slowing a bit gives me time to take in the view, and to ensure that I’m maintaining good form.

On my run yesterday I started thinking that this is a metaphor for life. We have a challenge (hill) ahead, and some of us want to keep running, to keep making relentless forward progress. But I have gotten increasingly comfortable with walking up that hill, taking in the beauty of the view, appreciating the journey in a new way.

There is no rush. Finishing faster does not necessarily mean better. At some point, on the other side of that hill, likely there will be a downhill angle, where the momentum will allow us to run back down with less effort. By not getting stuck in one speed, we allow our bodies the flexibility to adjust to circumstances. In life too, we so often want to keep going at a fast clip. And sometimes slowing down helps us know when we want to turn off to explore a different area, or perhaps even change direction.

We may not have realized there is a path that was there all along, only we never saw it before. Suddenly the old route is new again. We see it in a new light. We arrive at our destination with a renewed perspective.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com