Figuring Out the Angles of a Circle

Last week I walked slowly around a field filled with cherry trees, wandering from place to place in no particular pattern until I found the spot that felt right to stop and be. As I moved back and forth from one side of the field to the other, my lower back in a bit of pain, I wondered gently why I couldn’t settle into one place. Even though physically I wanted to stop and could stop “right here” I didn’t. Until I was guided to the place where sitting down on the ground felt right.

As I sat I had a flash of a memory appear. When I was in Damanhur earlier this year I walked through the energetic stone circuits. The first one I walked was quite large – as I stood at the entrance in the center of the circuit in front of me I saw to my left the painted yellow, blue and red stones were laid out in lines and to my right in a circle.

I had surgery on my left leg two weeks prior to traveling and for a while couldn’t walk at all. My stitches were still in and I could walk with a cane in hand to try to keep some stability even though each step was difficult and slightly painful. At first I thought I couldn’t do it at all and then I decided I could and because of my condition I wanted to be mindful of the way I went through the circuit. I wanted to take as few steps as possible. That way my leg wouldn’t be in as much pain and I could still receive the benefits of the circuit.

I started out on the path and was drawn towards the circle. Winding around in spirals as I stepped with care I tried to look at the patterns of the stones so I could figure out the best route for me – the one where I wouldn’t have to walk as much and could rest my leg. I wanted to rest in the center of the circle where there were fewer stones and a place to lay down.

Every time I became tired from the exertion it took I paused and aggressively recalculated my route. How can I get there without too many steps? I looked at the stones and how they were laid out, chose what was obviously the most direct path that would let me take care of myself with the least amount of effort expended. All of my attention was on my leg and figuring it out. I walked along only to discover that I came to a dead end. My head dropped and I laughed thinking, “of course”. I turned around and started back realizing the effort this was taking. I worried that I wasn’t doing the right thing for my leg, and started to wonder if I should have started at all. Now I had no choice – one way or another – I had to keep going through the circuit.

Again I looked for the path that would take me to the center of the circle. I scanned the layout and mapped my course to figure it out, logically thinking which way I should go to ensure the shortest and most direct path. This time, as it turned out, I chose the longer route and ended up at the same dead end. I laughed and sighed. My leg seared.

I turned around again and started back saying, “there is nothing to figure out”.

There is nothing to figure out.

“What if I get to the center and can’t get out in time when we need to leave? It’s starting to get hot out – I really shouldn’t be doing this.” The mild panic I had been keeping down reared up a bit more strongly.

There is nothing to figure out.

Step. Step.

I stopped looking ahead and instead focused on where I was. I repeated the mantra “there is nothing to figure out”. Slowly finding my way through the stones – not in any way I was defining but by letting go – hoping and trusting that I’d get there. At each opening where paths diverged I didn’t think about it, I merely chose what felt right.

Moving at my own pace and with my mind no longer occupied by worry or attempts to figure it all out, I could feel myself absorbing and exchanging energy with the circuit. I walked more slowly.

My path changed. I walked in different ways through the stones and found myself at the center of the circle. Keeping my leg straight, I set the cane down and laid down to rest. Grateful that I got there even though my route was not what I had wanted or planned at the outset. I let myself lay on the ground, feel the energy of the moment, cool down.

I had more than enough time to find my way, reach the center, rest, and slowly meander back out. I couldn’t take a path I expected because I didn’t know the way at the outset. That didn’t stop me from trying to figure out the future and by sheer force of mind assume I could achieve the outcome. The more I tried to will it and figure out the best route, the deeper and more caught up I became – taking way more steps than I had wanted.

At the beginning I wanted to take few steps to take care of my leg and also didn’t want to miss anything. I wanted to put the least amount of effort in to keep things easeful for my physical body. Instead the effort moved up into my head not only created a more difficult path through but increasing the effort for both my body and my mind.

Maybe I moved around the field last week it was to move through different energy – to collect it or pass through it. There was nothing to find or figure out. There was no effort of mind willing me to one place or another. Instead I listened and followed until something felt right. Who knows? I don’t actually need to figure out why.

Whether it’s moving through a yoga practice, through a stone circuit, a life, perhaps that’s part of what a journey is – moving through from one place to the next with a balance of effort and ease. Finding stillness. Uncovering ways that are already there. Turning around from a path that ends. Incorporating them all. Letting go of the ones that no longer serve. Seeing the role of not getting what is wanted at one moment in time and moving past it. Trust in what is needed at the moment. Finding center. Not having to figure anything out or try to force the course or outcome. There is no wrong path. There are no dead ends. Arriving. Then getting up and continuing on without knowing what the next steps may be and trusting in all that has been and all that will be.