At around 4:00, Middle sister and I got out of Satan’s Butthole and parted ways for 90 minutes. Middle went to get a full body massage, and I went stumbling out to the meditation gardens, having not eaten since nine that morning and pretty high on sulfur fumes. Which is exactly how I like to burn an hour or so before dinnertime.
Oh and PS? As I was walking across the parking lot to get to the meditation gardens? I passed a shiny black Mercedes with the license plate SAT260. Think it was random? Or a vanity plate giving a very nice eff you to standardized testing?**
Meditation gardens? Pretty much felt like a kooky dream or funky art house flick:
The entrance to the gardens was obscured by multiple varieties of sunflowers in full bloom, and standing about 10 foot high. So basically, you walk into a garden where the flowers look down on you instead of you looking down at them. You? Tiny bug. That’s pretty much the message.
While I was stumbling around trying to find where I was supposed to go next, a boy about the age of 10 and his guardian caught up with me. They were the only two people I saw my whole time there. He grinned at me and said, “follow me! I know the way.” and proceeded to run ahead and duck between the a pair of enormous flowers. On the other side, I saw him running across the clearing to the labyrinth. I waved at him and went left to the other garden.
In the center of the first garden was this:
and a sign:
Which reads in part, (as well as I can squintily make out from the photo taken when I have it enlarged):
Cairns are ancient forms that have marked holy sites from Scotland to the Himalayas. When an individual arrived at a sacred place on their pilgrimage, they placed a stone to symbolize their prayers.
Oh, and also this blurb:
Uhm, hello? What is the purpose of the Cairn if not to leave a stone? As I walked away, I got more irritated. I mean, Double You Tee Eff, Meditation Garden? This must be some kind of cosmic test or something, because you can.not. be serious with that not disturbing the stones line. Right?
So like the totally classy chick I am, I started hunting around for a rock I could leave.
Because I’m a rebel, that’s why. A loofah’d, yoga’d, rebel straight from sitting in Satan’s Butthole. Don’t mess with me.
Of course, the wise people at the spa didn’t leave any loose stones around the Cairn, so most of my prayer included being able to find a stone to deface their non-stone-donation-accepting Cairn. And thusly, feeling one part stupid, one part rebellious, and one part totally justified, I hunted around until I found what I was looking for and went about disobeying the sign.
Take that, sign:
And I see you looking at that little broken stone and being majorly unimpressed. Sheesh. It was symbolic. It was me taking a real life moment to unclench my chokehold on ass clenching rule following. And so, accordingly, my prayer was to be able to see the difference between stupid societal laws and the rules that would keep me protected and doing right and living fully.
So here is the labyrinth I then walked to. Which, hello! Is where they were hiding all the stones:
And here is me starting out at the very beginning.
Shut up about the shoes! They are so comfy. And I totally brought my MILF heels for dinner. Can you tell by my feet that I’m nervous? And I’m taking pictures of my feet to avoid the ten year old boy who is dancing around in the middle of the labyrinth as I take this picture.
A labyrinth is kind of like a maze, except you can only go one way and you go to the center and then you come back out again. Kind of like a big projective test. I guess depending on what kind of labyrinth you are expecting, you might think a minotaur was in the center. Or trapped spirits in the passages. Or enlightenment. Or death in chewy nougat form.
Anyway, you go back and forth and back and forth and it seems like you are getting nowhere and holy cow how long is this going to take? Because dinner is coming up and I didn’t wear my watch today and my buzz is kind of peaking and crap, did I mention this is totally frustrating? And holy shit, this maze is exactly like my life right now – with no direction or movement or understanding and I’m not even making any decisions to go where I want to go.
And as I was pacing through the labyrinth, I thought about my illegal Cairn stone and my prayer to not be bound by stupid rules, and I thought, “I am totally just going to step over these rocks. I’m an idiot for staying on the path.”
And the moment I made that decision? As my pink smurf shoes were twitching to cross the line? The ten year old boy cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled to me, “You are going the wrong way!”
In real life, he was just coming back from the center and kind of teasing me to get out of his way. Totally cute kid. But at that moment? It was like a message from God. Totally stupid, huh? Except I just felt it all in my body and my head and clear as day: The labyrinth was the path of my life, and the path was clear if I just stayed on it. I didn’t know where it went, but it had been made for me with careful structure and consideration. To step out and make my own path was to lose only real path there was.
So I started crying a little. Which probably bought that cute kid about 3 months of therapy even though I tried to tell him it was completely OK. Or I don’t know. Maybe he totally understood. It was hard to tell as he disappeared out of the maze pretty quickly after that. Sorry kid! I thought you were channeling the Voice of God.
I followed the maze to its center and back, arguing with God under my breath for most of that time. Lately, when I am beefing with the big G, I get tied up with questions about personal glory and how God isn’t really ‘into’ that part of my character. And here I want to minimize or justify ‘personal glory’ with lots of bitching about life and age and loss of personal power. But either you get it or you don’t and the more I try to explain myself, the more convoluted it gets. Anyway, that’s pretty much how I felt talking to God about it, with him giving me no joy on following that path. And maybe spanking me a little for my foolish thoughts.
So if it is not enough for you to know your friend Anne was crying and muttering to herself in a big stone maze, I’ll tell you it got stranger. At one point, all the stones around me were like faces watching me. And it was as if God’s question was whether that made me happy. You know, if I lived in a world where my personal glory ended with many people paying attention to me.
It didn’t make me happy. So maybe I learned something. But then again, a labyrinth full of half-hallucinated heads*** sticking out of the sand has its own special brand of freaky.
I escaped to the center and back out with more questions than answers, and feeling vaguely like I wasn’t able to get to a peaceful place. And although I was late to dinner, I was reluctant to leave. I saw someone had pulled up a rocking bench to look over a stream at the back end of the labyrinth. I walked over to see what might be looked at.
In the chair was this graffiti, which makes me just as nervous as it makes me peaceful:
** At least back in the days of yore when I was prepping to take the S.A.T., the rumor was that while a perfect score per section was 800, they would give you 200 points if you filled in the bubbles of your name correctly. So a score of 260 would indicate failing so badly you couldn’t do much more than that. Hell. That would be funny even on a beat up old Gremlin a la Wayne’s World, in my opinion.
*** I didn’t actually hallucinate. I merely suggested in my head. Quit looking at me like that. Damn.
(Also, I am not pushing Jesus per se. My understanding of the supernatural is based largely on the framework with which I grew up. I’m trying to understand it using my own inner workings, but I don’t think that my way is The One True! Way! or anything. Have it your way if you like.)