Friday, May 9, 2008

Lawn Mower Labyrinth

Writing has become a necessary function for me. As I dredge up, analyze, and list old memories in chronological order, so much begins to make sense, even where I thought it wasn’t relevant, and spontaneously blockage is released into the ether. The last year here in Connecticut has been about slowing down enough to find my pace, attain beneficial introspection, reprioritizations, release the past, and embrace the future. I mean, its one thing to say it, and entirely another to do it.

I owe it all to my lawn mower.

Grace Labyrinth SF

I have a labyrinth in my backyard. When the grass is high, it is invisible, and it’s my job to recreate it every time I mow the lawn. What’s ironic about all this is that in California, the last time we were there, I loathed mowing the lawn, and never did it. Not once. We paid someone to do it. A hundred bucks a month, too. It was one quarter of the size of our land now, and I never did it even once. Now in Connecticut, I mow the lawn. Our yard is enormous, and I sweat through it. In the summer, when the sun is hot and humidity is high, you have to do it almost every week to keep it from turning into a jungle. Sometimes Leslie and I tag team it. It’s made her much stronger physically. She does a little, I do a little, and switching off a couple times like that until whammo it’s done. I still get to whack the weeds, though. I wouldn’t trade anything for that. I love the weed wacker.

There is something about occupying the physical body with a repetitive, mundane task that frees the mind to explore and organize. The same thing happens to me when I drive, which isn’t a good thing, really. I don’t drive much for that very reason. My mind drifts something terrible. But when I mow the lawn, I do so much productive thinking! It’s really cool.


The Labyrinth is an archetype, a divine imprint, found in all religious traditions in various forms around the world. By walking a replica of the Chartres labyrinth, laid in the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France around 1220, we are rediscovering a long-forgotten mystical tradition that is insisting to be reborn.

The labyrinth has only one path so there are no tricks to it and no dead ends. The path winds throughout and becomes a mirror for where we are in our lives. It touches our sorrows and releases our joys. Walk it with an open mind and an open heart.

There are three stages of the walk:

Purgation (Releasing) ~ A releasing, a letting go of the details of your life. This is the act of shedding thoughts and distractions. A time to open the heart and quiet the mind.
Illumination (Receiving) ~ When you reach the center, stay there as long as you like. It is a place of meditation and prayer. Receive what is there for you to receive.
Union (Returning) ~ As you leave, following the same path out of the center as you came in, you enter the third stage, which is joining God, your Higher Power, or the healing forces at work in the world. Each time you walk the labyrinth you become more empowered to find and do the work you feel your soul reaching for.

Guidelines for the walk: Quiet your mind and become aware of your breath. Allow yourself to find the pace your body wants to go. The path is two ways. Those going in will meet those coming out. You may "pass" people or let others step around you. Do what feels natural.


I can testify that the labyrinth in San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral is beautiful. I’ve walked it, and sat with it, feeling its quiet humming. It thrums with every walk done by every person since its creation.

The mind opens for clarification.


Our beautiful back yard ...

My grandmother … old Thelma did it again. She pulled a fourth quarter sneak out of her back pocket and is back at the Regency House. The Friday before they released her, we were on death watch, and I steeled myself for the inevitable. She came so close. She’s plateau’d at a significantly lower baseline of health, however, including her ability to swallow which has changed. They have her on puree’d food and thicken everything she drinks. She hates it! It hurts just to sit in her chair. But something is happening between Thelma and her aids. They missed her, I mean, really missed her. Bethany visited her in the hospital that Wednesday, and Thelma cried to her, “please take me home”. For years, “home” was the house my mother sold. Now it’s the Regency House. Bethany wanted to put Thelma on her back and take her to Wallingford. At the Regency earlier this week, I got to see the grand affection between Thelma and her aid, Karen. Karen knows just how to talk to Thelma, and gets her to laugh. Thelma is so ornery and cranky all the time that one smile is such a reward! These women are all very tactile with her, too, touching her, holding her hands, kissing her face, all over her face. This is very important to my grandmother whose eye-sight is almost gone, and whose dementia makes navigating her world so challenging. These aids make sure Thelma knows they are there, and in return, Thelma acknowledges them affectionately and sincerely. When Thelma is with her family, she has to be the grandmother, and she tries, even now, to maintain that demeanor for us. When she was sick, she was visited by all of her children, even my mother, who spent one day in town, and then left quickly and with little explanation. I can tell it was a difficult time for her, emotionally, and I hope she got what she needed out of it

The house … after spending a week and a half busting our you-know-what’s, getting the place in order for an open house last Sunday, we have a good solid offer. In this market, that’s a good thing. It’s also good to know our hard work may pay off. We’re in the middle of negotiations with a man who is buying our home for his daughter, who is relocating from Florida. We had our hands full last weekend, cleaning, and arranging … as Jack barfed on everything on sight.

Jack is home

Our dog Jack … Jack-Boy, the Golden Retriever, ate a pokemon and it got stuck in his intestines. As we were killing ourselves to get the house ready, he was ralphing all over everything. He ruined two carpets, and our king size bedspread. He also christened the back of the van, ad nauseum. We got him to the vet on Monday, and he was in surgery Monday night. Our boy has a six inch scar just under his peanut, and they shaved him from one side of his rib cage to the next. He’s getting more and more energetic every day. What’s curious is that the little one, Daizy, was so depressed when he was gone. She moped around, wouldn’t beg, didn’t bounce. It was tragic. When he returned, the first thing he did was meet his little sister muzzle to muzzle in the car for love.

In closing …

I just finished a long and personally involved article on my spiritual blog, When Isis Rises. It was a cleansing process that seems to have opened portals in my mind on past life recognition. It made me see how much I’ve grown in the way I view my grandmother, and it clarified a considerable amount on what I went through with my father. Then, I see where these patterns repeat and manifest in other areas of my life. It helps so much to write about our experience.

I’m thinking about my next article now.

I’ll go walk the labyrinth in my backyard and see what develops … I owe any good ideas I get to my lawnmower.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Monsieur Nasty said...

The poor little feller. How is Jack?

Donna L. Faber said...

Hey Dan ... Jack is feeling much better, thank you. Boy, was he sick. He's back to bouncing, still taking antibiotics, and burps ... like, a lot. Daizy is happy he's better, too, because now she can go back to bossing him around the way she used to.


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