The Labyrinth of Life… Insight from Martha

Today I just want to share something I read this morning that was exactly the kind of reminder I was needing to get my week off to a great start. For the longest time, I have firmly believe in the old “Happiness/Life is a journey not a destination” philosophy, and so do most people now. However, what we know/believe/think is not always what we do or practice (which by the way this might be a topic I’ll discuss in the near future on the blog, because for years now I’ve been deeply intrigued by this gap between knowing and doing that seems to plague most of us at some point in life). Being aware of this gap, I try really really hard to practice what I believe, but of course there are days when it’s easier said than done. This brings me back to the excerpt I want to share today.
I’ve mentioned before that one of my favorites authors is life coach Martha Beck. She’s written many books and is a columnist for O magazine, and on top of that, she also writes a blog on her website, to which I am obviously subscribed.
Here I post an excerpt of her latest blog entry that really resonates with me at the moment. If you would like to read the whole thing, go directly to the source at

About halfway through my first walk, I found myself feeling terrified and angry. My thoughts went something like this: “This is such a waste of time. What am I doing here? I was two feet away from here before, now I’m doubling back for no reason—where is this taking me? What’s the goal? I can get there faster than this if I just jump….” on and on, ad nauseum.
As every life coach knows, the way we do anything is the way we do everything. The same thoughts that make me squirm in the labyrinth torture me when I’m writing, emailing, even sleeping. I should be going faster, getting somewhere. I should have more to show for this. I shouldn’t have to double back, to revisit old emotional issues, to wipe the same damn kitchen counter every day. These thoughts burble along just under the surface of my consciousness every day. They make me slightly anxious—okay, some days irrationally terrified—and lend a driven quality to moments when I could be relaxed and present.
I’ve heard the same comments from countless people, all schooled to the same obsession with forward progress. We set goals, draw flowcharts, march forward, criticize ourselves if we have to go back, if the same old stuff comes back to haunt us. We want to be DONE with things: the chronic pain, the haunting doubt, the bad relationship patterns, the grief of loss. We want to solve the maze and get out, to the place where we imagine there will be no problems to solve.
The labyrinth is teaching me to question the bits of driven, linear, achievement-based dysfunction that can make me miserable in a life of incredible blessings and good fortune. We didn’t enter life to get it done. There is no place not worth revisiting. We double back to find the pieces of ourselves that still clutch the same issues like a baby clutching its pacifier. Compassion invited us to this unbearably repetitive, slow, complex path of self-discovery, to show us that only when we surrender our idea of how things should be going do we notice that the entire thing is breathtakingly beautiful.
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